the early part of Andre Agassi’s insightful and entertaining autobiography
“Open,” he describes a practice session with his father at the age of seven and
already hitting 2,500 balls a day.
net,” Agassi writes, “is the biggest enemy, but thinking is the cardinal
sin. Thinking, my father believes,
is the source of all bad things, because thinking is the opposite of doing.”
on in the book, after Agassi loses a match, he tells his soon-to-be wife, Stefi
Graff, “I don’t understand why I sometimes come apart—still.”
who has the most grand slam single titles (22) of all time, replies, “Stop
thinking. Feeling is the
there sales lessons to be learned from tennis players and athletes in other
sports? Absolutely. In fact, there are lessons to be
learned from almost anyone in any field or walk of life. We’re all in sales to some degree. We’re all pushing buttons (our own,
someone else’s) to get what we want; it doesn’t have to be money-related.
are over thinkers. They don’t want
to jump in because the water is as cold as their thoughts: I can do this tomorrow. I’m not ready yet. This can wait. What if I’m not prepared? So they
wade in very slowly, if at all.
And there are a lot of multitaskers who are just glorified
procrastinators. (Take a look
around the office. Are the busiest
employees really the most productive?)
Sure, they may do a lot,
but they do what’s least important.
Just because you’re a good multitasker doesn’t mean you know how to
salesperson’s priorities should not change much on a daily basis. They should be simple and
straightforward. A salesperson’s
day should not be filled with twenty different things to do. It should not be filled with thinking
and reflecting and predicting. It
should be filled with action. Action! As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Action is character.” If
you’re not on the phone setting up appointments or closing deals or following
up with a prospect, then you’re on the computer getting new leads, researching
companies. If you’re not doing any
of these things then you’re probably in a meeting discussing them. Make the meeting (thinking, talking)
short and get back to work (doing).
exactly does Steffi Graff mean by “feeling”? Is she talking about being in the moment, in the here and
now? Partly, yes. Agassi continues the thread, “She says
it’s one thing not to think, but you can’t then decide to feel. You can’t try to feel.
You have to let yourself feel.”
Let yourself go. Be
free. Feel what the prospect is
saying, feel the situation, his energy.
Should you be thinking as well as feeling? Of course. But
if you’re focused on the client and the situation at hand, over thinking will
never become a problem because you’ll be present and you’ll be able to act and react. You’ll find your sales groove.
Not much different from a tennis player who’s finding
his game—or life.