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Donald Kelly’s knowledge has come from a variety of sources — books, podcasts, training, sales seminars, documentaries, and more recently, the docuseries, Michael Jordan’s Last Dance. The natural seller in Donald caught key principles from the series that will help salespeople to dominate sales.
The Last Dance is a docuseries featuring the last year Michael Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls. It’s a revealing 10-part series that shows why Michael Jordan is one of the best basketball players of all time. As Donald watched, he could see the lessons that are revealed are applicable to Donald in every role: as a father, a husband, a business owner, and as a sales professional. Here are the top takeaways for Donald from the Last Dance series:
- Have a win-at-all-cost mentality
- You need a mindset and belief system of success
- Be a perfectionist in the details
To Michael Jordan, a win-at-all-cost mentality, meant he didn’t let it enter his mind that he could miss a shot. His only focus was getting the ball into the basket every time. While he did miss shots in the span of his career, he was able to make critical shots because it didn’t occur to him that he wouldn’t.
If you want to achieve greatness, this is the mentality you need to master. Within ethical and legal boundaries, what are you willing to do? Will you dare to believe you can’t miss a shot?
Michael Jordan was willing to put in the work. His mindset allowed him to give his best and practice hard. He was willing to work longer than anyone else, learn from the best, and he could adapt to new strategies in order to take him to greater heights of success.
How does this apply to sales?
More often than not, sales reps desire success but don’t truly believe that they can achieve their goals. Not everyone does what it takes to achieve the success they want. If you want to be the best in the team and excel in sales, however, then you may have to reevaluate the level of effort you’re willing to show up for. Thoroughly understand the products and services you’re selling, understand the profile of your client, and know how to find them. Make it your goal to study the clients’ industry, learn the trends, and know what’s going on in the industry, making sure that you are updated with the trade policies. Don’t stop learning even when you think you’ve been taught everything you need to know.
There have been many good basketball players over the years but only a few of them turned great because so many settled. Shaquille O’Neal was a good player who could have been great but he’s admitted to being lazy. He could have become one of the best in the history of basketball but he limited his efforts. Jordan aspired to be the greatest and he was willing to do whatever it took.
As a salesperson or a business owner, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure you close the deal. This may include traveling long distances or working hours that don’t fit into a normal day. Do this with Jordan’s mindset: You’re going to make every shot. Even if you don’t, with a great mindset, you’ve shifted the odds in your favor.
Michael Jordan has a mindset of success and this reflects a high level of toughness. He let this mindset dictate his level of fitness and gameplay, leading to multiple championships. He was able to overcome his opponents and defeat them.
As a salesperson
If you want to be the best, mental toughness is also needed in sales. Jordan didn’t win every game he played. In sales, you won’t land every presentation or close every deal. A tough mindset allows you to show up even when you’ve experienced defeat. Don’t worry about the losses. Let it be an opportunity to think of all the ways you can improve. A great mindset doesn’t blame others but focuses on how you can show up better next time.
Turning the wheel
Do not let the lost deal affect your next call and don’t let negativity become part of the conversation. It’s a slippery slope when you allow interactions with new clients to be influenced by previous losses, especially when you blame others for losing a deal. Instead of pointing fingers, re-evaluate and assess how you can do better next time.
Jordan was also keen on learning from other players. Who is the best in your industry? These are the people you want to learn from them and emulate. If you can’t find a person, seek out the books that resonate with you. Just keep learning.
Look for perfection in the details. Evaluate your calls, look at how you describe your products, and think about how you phrase a message. Other areas to consider include:
- How you write and send emails
- Look at how you take notes and recap
- How are you writing and updating the CRM
- Are you engaged on LinkedIn
All these little details will help you in the long run.
Paying the cost
Jordan sacrificed popularity among his teammates to achieve his success. Being competitive in sales means some people aren’t going to like you too. Don’t worry about a popularity contest and just do your very best. Keep doing what you need to do to improve.
Donald himself doesn’t worry about whether or not his competitors like him. He gets the work done. He also doesn’t sacrifice his family time but he does work late at night and early in the morning while honing his craft throughout the workday.
Regardless of whether Jordan was well-liked, his teammates knew he pushed the team forward and upward. You can be that catalyst for positive change on your team as well. Be an example of ethical conduct and hard work and everyone wins. Just remember being the best isn’t the same as being popular.
“Three Things I Learned From Jordan’s Last Dance In Order To Dominate Sales” episode resources
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