On April 1st, I completed my 10th half marathon. After completing my goal of running a full marathon back in 2009, I declared that running 26.2 miles one time, was one time too many for me. Every time I race, I run “for someone”, and I write the person or the cause below my bib number. It gives me something to ponder and pass the time as I run. It’s either that or cheeseburgers.
For a variety of reasons, the days leading up to the race where challenging for me professionally. I will spare you the details, but I will tell you that I was tired, crushed and deflated. On the drive to Charlottesville for the race, I decided that I was going to dedicate the 13.1 grueling miles to all the Sales Professionals out there, fighting the good fight. I got to thinking about the similarities between preparing, running, and finishing a race, to the sales cycle.
When you prepare for a race, you must first formulate a training schedule, or plan. You have to be dedicated to your commitment and find a way to balance your time. When you are running the actual race, you will encounter obstacles along the way. Some of which are within your control, others are not. This may include weather, the hills, blisters on your feet, or lack of proper nutrition. Support and encouragement will snowball from complete strangers. They be other runners or spectators waiving their cowbells with unparalleled tenacity to help you keep going. When you finish the race, you have to recover properly, celebrate your victory, drink that post race beer, and move on.
The sales cycle is similar, and equally as challenging. When you commit to earning new business or retaining the customers you currently have, every day must be an execution of a fully thought out plan. You have to focus on how to balance your time, because we all get the same 24 hours in a day.
As a Field Sales Consultant with Henry Schein Dental in Raleigh, my sales cycle is long term, and more like a marathon than a sprint. I have short and long term goals for every single customer. I overcome the challenges as best I can, and I celebrate the victories. I succeed when my customers succeed. My sales race is never really finished.
For the dentists that are reading this blog, you are sales people too. I know how much pride and planning goes into your businesses. I know that your main goals are providing optimal patient care and running a successful practice. I know that you overcome challenges every day. I hope you celebrate your victories too-you deserve it.