Growing up as an athlete, I have lived and breathed competition my whole life. There is nothing like testing your skills with the skills of your peers – especially when there is a scoreboard displaying your effectiveness, good or bad, at all times. However, as time went on I realized that there was no way for me to make money, support my family or live a fulfilled life by becoming a professional athlete.
I just wasn’t good enough.
So after four years of college football I ventured into the sales world. Immediately my flaws were exposed. I had to develop skills that I had never learned, and I began to wonder if I wasn’t good enough in this arena either.
Then one day my wonderful wife, who was also an athlete, pointed out something that changed the trajectory of my career: She suggested that I treat my job like football. In other words, try to be a little better everyday, so I could progress yard by yard, while also striving to become a top performer on my team.
This changed everything.
Once I started to keep score on myself and really focus on my sales performance, my attitude, effectiveness and overall joy for life came back. Through competition, I was able to measure what I was doing while gaining insight into what I needed to improve on.
Some leaders give competition a bad rap, but to me it’s key, because it improves visibility into sales performance. Implementing competition in the form of sales contests can helpexecutives to understand which of their managers are performing and managers to understand if their teams are doing the things that will drive business.
It also helps sales reps. It’s vital for those frontline team members to see where they stand at all times, to see where improvement is needed and to see increased recognition, all of which competition can offer. It’s also vital for salespeople to maintain confidence in their career choices. And that’s exactly what competition has given me.
[Note: If you’re interested in learning more about how you can tap into some of the motivation I mentioned, starting with getting visibility into your own sales performance, check out LevelEleven’s new Scorecard offering. It’s like a Fitbit, but for sales.]