May 12, 2020

Winning Has a Price

My younger son and I have spent the last few Sunday evenings watching “The Last Dance” mini-series about the career of Michael Jordan. This series is more than just hitting the spot or scratching my sports itch during this bizarre “sportsless” season of life. It is amazingly well done and the storylines captivating.

Even if you couldn’t care less about professional basketball, this is must-watch TV because it’s not only superb entertainment, but the life and leadership lessons are invaluable!

Episodes 7 and 8 aired Sunday night and we must have stopped, rewound (do you “rewind” using a DVR?), and relistened to profound and powerful Jordan one-liners about a dozen times. There were so many valuable quotes and such impactful statements and life lessons that I was in awe.

I. Could. Not. Get. Enough. We were hearing about greatness from arguably the greatest team sport player of all time. I can’t do these episodes justice. If you’re in college, in business, in sales, or in management, please invest two hours to view these two episodes. Even if you’re not a sports fan or hate basketball, go watch! You’ll thank me later.

Of all the takeaways watching and listening to Jordan, there is one thing he said that I can’t stop pondering – particularly because of its applicability to professional salespeople:

Winning has a price.

The recorded clips from Chicago Bulls practice sessions were eye opening. The intensity of Jordan on the court… The standard he not just set by example but demanded of teammates…His indefatigable work ethic. His drive and insatiable desire to dominate. The way he described how he pushed himself and his teammates.

Listen friends, the man had crazy natural talent and was physically gifted beyond imagination. But talent doesn’t win six championships, and it’s really clear after absorbing those two episodes last night why Michael Jordan is/was as revered as he is. It was his willingness to pay the price to be the best. And he wanted everyone around him to understand that winning has a price. There are no free rides to the top. You have to pay the price!

Note that I’m not writing about how hard Michael Jordan played during a game. What stood out was his dedication to greatness, his commitment, and his willingness to outwork anyone and everyone. And as I share that with you, the two super-high performing sales professionals I profile in Chapter 15 of Sales Truth come to mind. Because what stands out about both Ron and Tom is not their natural talent, big brains, or likability – although they both have all of those in spades. What makes Ron and Tom the two best salespeople (one B2B and one B2C) I’ve observed is their commitment to excellence, their desire to be the best, and that they willingly paid the price to master the fundamentals of their craft. Use this link to download the front matter and two free chapters of Sales Truth, including Chapter 15. Note how just like Michael Jordan, these world-class sellers took no shortcuts, deployed no tricks, and understood that winning, particularly for the long-term, requires an investment.

If you haven’t yet watched episodes 7 and 8 from ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” trust me that it is worth it. Learn from (arguably) the very best who ever played that game, and read Chapter 15 about the traits of two of the very best salespeople to ever play the sales game. Then do an honest self-evaluation: Are you willing to pay the price to win big?


"Selling Through Crisis" Webinar Replay:

Last week several thousand salespeople joined me for a webinar titled, "Selling Through Crisis" where I shared tips for remaining positive and persevering through this crazy season and offered powerful advice for maximizing sales effectiveness now - and in the coming recover.  You can watch the replay here.


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