How Bad Do You Want It?

Many of the contemporary and historical figures I admire most, share a common characteristic that translates perfectly to sales. They never, ever, EVER give up going after a goal they think is worth achieving. People who come to mind are Pat Riley, Winston Churchill, Michael Jordan, Rick Pitino and others who, once they decided what they wanted, went after it with a focus and tenacity that just would not be denied.

Pat Riley said that he was just an average professional basketball player but then he often beat out much more talented players for a spot on the team because, as he put it,

“I battled as if I was fighting for my life because, frankly, I was. Making the team put bread on the table for my family and I was not going to let anybody take my job away from me!”

It was said that despite being arguably the most celebrated athlete in the world, who could have easily coasted in practice, Michael Jordan pushed his team to make each practice a crucible experience . . . a test of wills with the outcomes of the scrimmages every bit as important emotionally as the games themselves.

Earlier in his career, Rick Pitino asked his coaches to begin their days by meeting him at the IHOP at 3:30 a.m. He said since their teams (at the time) did not enjoy great talent, they would have to make up for it with great coaching, which started by outworking the other coaches in the conference.

Those of you who like football know that there are lots of teams that can push the ball up and down the middle of the field, but that it takes a special focus, intensity and commitment to operate on the last ten yards of the field . . . the place where the chips are down, the stakes are highest and everybody on both sides is digging in. Those are the teams that convert effort into touchdowns and touchdowns into victories.

In sales, that is called closing and world class closers, like Riley, Jordan and Pitino, have inevitably outworked and outlasted their competition over many months and years when that moment of truth arrived.

This week, ask yourselves if you are applying the same type of focus, intensity and commitment to your work in sales. Try it this week. I think you will like the results.

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