January 21, 2020

A Winning Attitude is Important in Selling and Sailing

Sonars in Wisconsin 164 300x219 A Winning Attitude is Important in Selling and SailingWhat do successful salespeople and sailors have in common?

A winning attitude.

A winning attitude includes consistently applying good habits such as:  pre-call (pre-race) preparation, practicing your sales presentation (boat handling) skills, setting goals and establishing a game plan.

A winning attitude includes having the ability to be flexible and modify your plans when selling (sailing) conditions change.

A winning attitude is what helped a group of sailors from Wayzata, Minnesota overcome long odds to win a team racing championship off the shores of Lake Michigan.  The team practiced for weeks leading up to the regatta.  They played out a variety of team racing plays for different sets of competitive scenarios.  And they set a goal to win the competition.

The day of reckoning arrived on a windy August day last summer.  And like a sales call that goes awry, the first round of races did not go well for Wayzata.  After day one they were in last place.  Any hope of making it into the finals would require major adjustments.  Wayzata team members debriefed and decided to change their starting strategy.  On the second day of competition, with a revised plan and renewed confidence, Wayzata won three races in a row to eliminate the Canadian team and make it into the finals.  In the finals, their goal was finally realized when Team Wayzata defeated Team Sheboygan to win the Team Racing Championship.

As salespeople we can all learn from these sailing champions.  First, never give up no matter how dire the selling situation appears.  If a buyer raises objections, consider it an opportunity to learn and tailor your sales presentation to better meet their needs.  Second, change your sales technique if it’s not working rather than doing the same thing and expecting different results.  The assumptions you made going into the sales call maybe weren’t accurate.  Recognize it and move on.  And third, keep an eye on your objective.  The road to closing a sale usually has bumps along the way.  It’s important not to lose sight of your end goal and push onward.

A winning attitude of perseverance, flexibility and focus worked for the sailors from Wayzata and can work for all of us in the world of selling.

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