Many of the same principles that are fundamental to elite athletes are also critical to ultra-high sales performers.


I’ve always been in awe of professional athletes’ ability to maintain composure without sacrificing intensity. 

Whether it be making an amazing aerial catch in the endzone while surrounded by defenders emboldened with a desire to destroy you, or fearlessly draining an off-balanced but game-winning three-pointer with one second left on the shot clock, elite athletes can maintain complete composure even during moments that require absolute intensity.

They nail five-foot putts to win the Masters and walk-off home runs to the win World Series.

The difference between good athletes and elite athletes is a mastery of unprecedented composure and fearless intensity.

The same is true for the sales professional. In our training at Sales Gravy, we often refer to salespeople as the elite athletes of the business world, and the comparison is perfect. 

Many of the same principles that are fundamental to elite athletes are also critical to ultra-high sales performers.

Because of realities such as fight or flight responses, cognitive dissonance, psychological reactance, and the seemingly endless creativity clients have in stalling deals, sales professionals are constantly bombarded with challenges requiring emotional control, split-second innovation, and a relentless dedication to shaping win probability. 

Ultra-high performers are obsessed with winning, and this comes with an essential requirement of maintaining composure and intensity.

The easiest place to see where these two attributes are at odds is in young children. 

It’s almost comical how panicked a young soccer player gets when they get their first shot on an open goal or how off balance a batter becomes when swinging for the bleachers on their first full count scenario.

They have intensity, but it’s at the expense of composure.

Fast forward a few years when these young folks learn the importance of composure but they over-correct and lose the intensity.

They focus on their shot mechanics and get stuffed in basketball or focus so heavily on running a perfect pass pattern that they neglect to shake off the defense and leave the quarterback scrambling for their life.

Sales professionals must balance intensity and composure. They must be relentless with their technique, tactics, and strategic execution while exercising composure, emotional control, and on-the-fly creativity. 

Sales professionals must be diligent in protecting their time without missing opportunities to shift and reprioritize in the moment.

They must be purposeful and deliberate while pushing their limits and plowing through discomfort and uncertainty.

Sales has never stopped evolving, but never in history has it done so at a faster pace than in the past few years. 

Customers are expecting different consumption models, consistent innovation, and solutions mapped to business outcomes.

It’s essential that with this evolution, your sales team also evolve. Customers no longer just need to be sold; they need to solve.

They don’t need parts, they need partnerships. This evolution isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible.

About the author

Jason Eatmon

Jason Eatmon

Jason is a Nebraska native which is where his work ethic and sense of…

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