In the sport of (traditional) triathlon, athletes compete in 3 disciplines – swim, bike, run. If you’re in it to place in the top 3 among your age group or achieve a personal best – time matters.
But what about the time it takes to transition from swim-to-bike, then bike-to-run? Out of the water you must peel off your wetsuit, dry off your feet, put on your cycling shoes, put on your helmet, secure your helmet straps, and run your bike out of the transition to a line that says “Bike Mount”. From there you can finally begin the discipline of “bike”. All of this work is called T1, or the first transition. T2 is transitioning from bike to run and that has it’s own set of nuances.
A few seconds too long in T1 or T2 could be the difference between standing on the medal stand, and finishing fourth as a spectator thinking, “If only I spent more time practicing and improving my transition times.”
That was me in my late twenties because I only focused on the 3 main disciplines. In preceding years my times improved immensely but in retrospect if I spent more time practicing my transitions I would’ve found top 3 medal finisher success. Improving transition times means you develop a plan to become more micro efficient. If you are not a triathlete you might find these techniques to help improve the performance of your business; especially the first two – Practice Your Plan & Be A Minimalist.
When I turned 30, I transitioned onto a new playing of performance – particularly in sales.
During this particular time I was in the third year of two conference partnerships in the sports industry where I landed the company’s highest grossing account for 4 consecutive years. I also began my rookie year of working with the New York Yankees, and my first two college football accounts became bowl game bound.
When I learned to close the transition gaps in my late twenties, sales sky-rocketed. I was calling the shots and was in a position to hand pick and choose the type of clients I wanted to work with – major corporate brands, top experiential sports marketing agencies, and championship sports properties. This became the tipping point of my career.
Like the sport of triathlon, sales has transition times. With repetition and conditioning you become more nimble, street-smart, and intuitive. Gain an understanding of these 3 principles and you will be on your way to closing more deals.
- SPEED OF TRUST: Knowledge of your client, product, and industry is a must. More important than identifying when your prospect is in a position to buy, it’s critical that you’ve developed trust and dependability. If you’re social selling, Gary Vaynerchuk is the man with his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” which is translated to “Give, Give, Give, Ask”. If you haven’t instilled confidence in your prospect it doesn’t mean you’re out of the game, it just means you may be watching from the sidelines until next season.
- PERMISSION: One of the most effective communication tools I utilize is “Permission”. Unless you come across as pushy or phony, most people will give you an opportunity to pitch your product or tell your story if it’s relevant to their needs and/or interests. Asking someone for permission puts them in a position to choose. By doing this you’re also sending a message that you respect their time. Once permission has been granted, follow up with an e-mail to thank them for their time and that you look forward to reconnecting at the agreed time of follow up.
- BUYING CYCLE: You must identify when the sales prospect is open to listen to your pitch and when they are in a position to buy. This is essential to your follow up efforts and your ability to competently assess their needs. If you don’t identify and understand their buying cycle, you may be locked out until the contract expires which could be 3-5 years.
Which area in your sales process can you increase efficiency? I’d love to learn about your success.