Swim for Your Life

October 3, 2017

Swim for Your Life

Swimming is an experience that can have real parallels to sales.

I did not swim in high school or college. I actually didn't swim until I was 50. Oh I could swim enough to body surf or relax in a pool but that didn't mean I could swim any distance at all.

My first time, I thought I'll take it easy and do five laps or 250 yards. I did not make it one lap or 50 yards before I was gasping for breath and wondering what I was thinking? I had no idea and neither do people that haven't done sales for their livelihood.

This created a problem. I had publicly declared I was going to do a triathlon which required swimming close to a mile. Oh yeah, it would also be in open water not a pool.

This is where I discovered the parallels between swimming and sales. You can watch people swim, get instruction videos, have someone review your technique (highly recommended by the way) and read about it all you want.

The only way to prepare is to put on a swimsuit that you may or may not be comfortable wearing, stand on the side of the pool, try and talk yourself out of it because you know that the water will be shocking, and start.

Then get more instruction, watch how other people do it, and practice again.

Even after swimming for five years, I had a session not that long ago that I alternately felt that I was super smooth and yet the tide was against me, in a pool no less, and that I might drown.

That's the mystery of sales too. You can be on one call and believe you've got it down and follow it up with a call where you have trouble stringing two words together.

In tri training I was reminded after I was moving fairly well in the pool that I had better practice in open water. The event does not happen in a pool, the same as sales doesn't happen in role play with your peers.

A triathlon Olympic distance swim for a novice swimmer like me takes plus or minus thirty minutes.

My first open water swim lasted less than 5 minutes because I was hyperventilating so hard from the new environment that I had to get out of the water. It was a little harder to get in the water the next time.

Nearly every time a person gets in the water it gives them pause before they get that first half lap in. I've procrastinated with stretching, talking to other people, and all sorts of things on the side of a pool.

Sales can be exactly like that when we put off calls we know need to happen for us to help our prospects and customer thrive.

In a triathlon if you don't bike fast enough you can get off and push, if you don't run fast enough you can walk, if you don't swim fast enough you drown.

The good news is I've got 7 triathlons completed and would say I'm nearly comfortable with the swim portion of the event.

In sales if you mess up an appointment you can get another one, if you don't know an answer you can find it, if don't prospect enough, you drown!


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