What Salespeople Can Learn from a Legendary American All-Star

Today is baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s birthday. You know the name—even if you’re not a sports buff. But what does Jackie and his legacy have to do with your success in your sales career?

Let me recap, for those who have not seen the excellent 2013 movie, “42.” In 1947, Jackie broke through baseball’s color barrier, and earned rookie of the year for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the same year, he lead the Dodgers to the National League championship, and six subsequent trips to the World Series. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. His number (42) remains the only one to have ever been retired by all major league teams—never to be worn again.

Jackie Robinson

Image via biography.com

His athletic ability and talent was only part of the story. His courage, grace, and perseverance in the face of continuous insults, threats, and disrespect inspired an entire generation of African Americans and paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement.

While we are no Hall of Fame, we’re proud to dedicate today’s blog to Jackie. We are a team of fellow inspired, competitive professionals trying to get better and to be our best. After we’ve bought the books, attended the expert seminars, completed a few role-plays with colleagues, we’re soon back to the day-to-day grind of chasing quota and paying the bills. That quantifiable performance advance we sought will soon fade without dedicated time, intensity, and repetition supported by a proven process and discipline. Dedication, intensity, and practice are not a “lean back” training experience.

Our experience cannot compare with Jackie’s career, suffering, and trials. But we can be inspired by him—as all of us strive to work a little harder, practice a little more, perform a bit better and “get it done” for our clients, our family and ourselves. We too are driven and well intended.

For veteran sales pros, making a sales call is typically natural and instinctive—almost reflexive. Our vital professional communication skills are developed through repetitive listening, comparative on-the-fly analysis and best effort lessons learned. For beginners, there’s quite a few more variables to master. The goal for all us—pros or beginners—is to make the time to practice and improve techniques and skills regularly. Using an online sales training platform can help you practice with ease by recording, getting feedback, and trying again.

Practice and diligence alone are not the answer. In addition to that discipline, we need to really understand and discern which approaches work, when they work, and why—in order to boost our sales batting average. Using analytics and tracking individual progress and team progress is a great way of getting the most out of your online sales training or other sales enablement tools.

Greatness does not come without practice and perseverance. So, I find it only fitting to close with Jackie’s famous comment: “This ain’t fun. But you watch me. I’ll get it done.”