EXTREME High Performance:

What can a supersonic skydive (a 23-Mile jump) whilst breaking the sound barrier and navigating the sonic boom teach you about sales?

The answer = A lot!

I challenge anyone to read this and not be inspired to lift their game (I know I did!).

Over the Easter weekend, I watched Tim Ferris interview, with Dr. Michael Gervais. Michael is the coach for Felix Baumgartner, a supersonic skydiver, who had to face his fears to pull off this world record-breaking feat.

Here are my key takeaways and how we apply the learnings to sales.

1. Don’t wait to be ready: Firstly just like I don’t believe in a natural born sales person, it is a skill you learn and develop, Felix likewise was not born a fearless skydiver. In fact, the mission was nearly cancelled when he could not overcome claustrophobia. It took huge amounts of dedication and training, just like sales.

2. Find a mentor: Felix did not wait to not be afraid, he learned to overcome and act in spite of fear. He did this not by himself but with the help of a sports psychologist and high-performance specialist, Dr. Michael Gervais.

In sales, we put ourselves out there every day and have to be ok with public speaking, rejection, making the call and countless other uncomfortable situations. We sometimes let fear get in the way, but who can we work with to overcome our fears?

I hands down could not continue the path I am on without the help of my mentor.

Who can be your coach?

In Michael’s interview, he said, “it mattered more for Felix to go forth and risk death than to play it safe and never achieve his potential.”

This quote hit a nerve with me; my greatest fear is not achieving my potential. It left me thinking, how can I play a bigger game? Ok, I’m not prepared to face death, but I’m certainly ready to do more!

We may not face this extreme situation in sales, but what we can learn from this is that the human potential is extraordinary, should we dare to try?!

3. Rewire Fear: To overcome Felix’s fears, they needed to rewire his fear response, which ALL of us can do.

The more gentle way to do it is by systematic desensitisation. This is when we expose ourselves to the fear in our imagination and in reality. Let’s say we are nervous about that BIG CEO presentation on a “must-win” deal; you could rehearse it to a friend, then again to colleagues, then again to your manager; we could imagine ourselves presenting it and what that may feel like. After several presentations, we desensitise ourselves.

Michael said, “when you face the things that you fear & that haunt you the most, it changes you”.

4. Pre-performance routine: Michael recommends having a pre-performance routine, this could be 1-3 things that act as triggers to activate your A-game.

 It is critical to get great body posture and great thinking so you are ready to perform. This could be as simple as when you put on your shoes to walk out the door, what do you say to yourself.

Before a big presentation, I tend to give myself 1-2 minutes of silence to get my head into the zone and focus on my breathing to slow myself down.

As for posture, look no further than Amy Cuddy’s research on the benefits of a 2-minute power pose (Yes, I’ll publicly admit this on my LinkedIn, I have tried this in the toilet before a big presentation!)

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What could your pre-performance routine be?

Michael now coaches for the Seattle Hawks and shared the three keys to a high-performance team:

  1. Always protect your team: have each other’s backs
  2. No whinging, complaining, or excuses: own it
  3. Be early: demonstrate you’ve organised your life, respect others and don’t bring everyone else down.

I’d say all three of these apply to sales teams. Sales is a team game; you most often can’t win alone; you need the help of pre-sales, customer support, quoting team, marketing, your manager and others.

Whinging in a sales team is toxic; I will always argue sales is a mindset game, and any “energy vampires” will quickly bring the entire team down.

As for being early, well, I have to be honest, this one is more of a weakness for me, but it certainly kicked me up the bum to make this a priority.

“Get after it every day. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations every day so you can adjust.”

Michaels’s words he would put on a billboard for all to see are:

  • Make a decision
  • Build capability
  • Test yourself

Final thought, don’t run away from pain; feel the pain; the only reason we change is pain.

You can watch the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjnN3O-xVuQ

If you want to play a high-performance sales game, why not invite us to your virtual team meeting for a free ‘sales bomb’. We will share 3 keys to high-performance sales. Enter your details via the link below & we will get it in the diary: https://salesbomb.salesredefined.com.au/