Part of your career sales training should get you to think about what kind of career you want to have. If you were to equate sales people to runners there are two types of performers. The type of performer you choose to be has long term impact that will affect your overall success.

Sprinters focus on fast starts, fast finishes, and depending on what they are selling burn out fast. The sprinter just wants to get the appointment, and close the appointment before the suspect knows what hit them. Sometimes sprinters have existing connections that make it possible for them to look like the early super stars. If you’ve been in sales long you’ve known folks like this. They get a lot of attention from your sales manager and they’re held up as the folks to emulate. Sprinters are well suited for product sales where you aren’t counting on repeat business and referrals. When you’re selling services and/or big ticket items where it’s really important for the customer to buy from you again, and tell others about you sprinters can be a bad fit. In your zealousness to get the appointment and close the sale, as a sprinter, you overlook the other half of the transaction; the customer.

Marathon runners realize life isn’t just a mad dash, but rather a long journey to be enjoyed along the way. If you base your sales career on the marathon runner you know the road ahead is full of opportunities as long as you take the time to build relationships with all the people along the way. The marathon sales person starts slow allowing a relationship to spark and develop. The marathon sales person gets to know and understand what other people want and need, and then discovers how to give that to them. A marathon sales person doesn’t forget the people along the journey, but makes sure that each person feels they hold a special place in the mind and heart of the marathon sales person. As a consequence the marathon sales person remains in the minds and hearts of the customer. When those customers need what the marathon sales person has they know just who to call, you if you’re the marathon sales person. When they hear their friends, family, and associates have a similar need they tell them they absolutely have to call you because you’re the best in the business, and you’ll take special care of them because you’re a personal friend.

At some point in your career sales training, no matter what you’re selling, you’ll come to realize that it’s never about your product or service, but it’s always about you. Career sales people are special people, and they seem to get more special over time. You become special when you know how to help people understand what makes you special, and how that makes you such a good match for them and their needs.

As you grow in your career choose the path of the sprinter or the marathon runner based on your long term objectives. The marathon runner knows how to be intentionally successful rather than accidentally successful. Sprinters are sometimes accidentally successful because of early connections or external factors and it makes for an exciting race, but when the little race is run there are many more to be run and somewhere there’s someone faster than you. Do the proper conditioning now so as you run your marathon sales career race you have what it takes to win the long race that few others can even finish.

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