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5 Basketball Lessons That Taught Me How To Close Consistent Sales

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If you’d like to learn how to close consistent sales in your business so you can make money and be successful, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


Heart pounding. Skin prickling. Unsure of what the outcome will be. Reminding myself to focus and breathe. Sales and competitive basketball have more in common than you’d think. The same tenacity, drive, and commitment that were required for success in my athletic career were the same things I needed to become successful in sales. 

When I became a mortgage loan officer, I was surprised to find that my adrenaline and nerves would spike as I picked up the phone to talk to a prospect, similar to when I was waiting for the ref’s whistle to blow to start a make or break play. 

If you’re new to making sales or haven’t quite found your footing yet, these transferable lessons can help you strengthen your skills:

1. Intentional Reps Equal Success

Intention plus action creates momentum. You can be good at anything if you get the reps in and focus on getting better with every set. Taking action for the sake of taking action can exacerbate poor habits, and make you feel like selling just isn’t your thing. The truth is that you need intentional practice so you consistently get better. 

Athletes are taught to focus on their form while executing different drills and exercises so that they can get the results they want. For example, in basketball, if you wanted to dribble better with your left hand, you would do everything with your left hand for 30 days to increase your coordination and familiarity with your non-dominant side. In sales, if you’re nervous about talking to people on the phone, you want to talk to five people minimum on the phone every day for 30 days. 

By pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you’re able to grow. This is what differentiates the people who just get by and the people who consistently close.

“There are no shortcuts—everything is reps, reps, reps.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

2. Little Actions Yield Big Results

Small things can make a big difference, especially over time. If you can commit to doing the little things that make you better, you’ll see bigger results. For example, by putting yourself in more sales situations, you have increased your number of leads and chances for closing a sale. 

Likewise, if you increase your successful lead generating activities (the ones that you know work) by 20%, you now have more opportunities to sell to the right prospects. The same goes for implementing a 30-minute reach out session each week to existing and potential referral partners. When you put effort into small, important actions, you can actually yield big results in your closing numbers.

3. Learn How To Prioritize

You constantly hear about time management, but how often do you receive help understanding how to manage your time? Time management, in a nutshell, is valuing your time to make sure that you’re taking action in a way that actually moves you forward instead of digging you deeper. 

For example, doing paperwork and administrative tasks may be an important part of your duties, but if you get lost in those activities, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to make more sales. 

The truth is that time management is actually priority management. When you think about time management like that, it’s easier to see what activities are actually at the top of the list. Here’s an exercise that can help you develop a time and priority management system for yourself:

  • Write out all of your business and sales needs.
  • Once you have that list, break down your needs into three categories: urgent, important, and nice to have. 
  • Sort your list by category: urgent first, important second, and nice to have last. If you’re not sure how to sort these needs, use this question as a guideline: “Is it improving my prospects or process? If no, then it’s not urgent.”
  • Looking at your sorted list, how have you been prioritizing up until now? Do you find yourself spending more time than you thought focused on other needs instead of “urgent” needs?

If you realized you’ve been focusing on needs that are lower priority, it’s okay. Most people find out that’s what has been happening the first time they do this exercise. The goal is to recognize it and put a system in place that will help you focus on your needs in the proper priority hierarchy.

“The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” – Mozart

4. Discipline Matters

There are things that you’re not going to want to do that are central to achieving your goals. Discipline is about not giving up and sticking with the plan, even when you don’t feel like it. You can see this easily in sports. 

For example, there was a difference between the athletes who slacked on offseason and those who stuck to their workout and practice regimens. There was a significant difference between showing up for my workouts consistently or taking a week off, only to feel like I was starting at the beginning again. 

It’s in the consistency of pushing your boundaries, being willing to be uncomfortable, and taking intentional action that you grow your skill set. This approach increases your mental toughness and makes it easier for you to handle the ups and downs of sales. Discipline gives you the power of process, so there’s always something meaningful to do whenever an unexpected stressor hits. 

5. Learn To Win & Lose Properly

In sales, you’ll often hear about overcoming objections or turning a “no” into a “yes.” This advice is a little different. If a prospect gives you a genuine “no,” you have to learn how to take that loss as a good sport. Their answer does not automatically mean you did something bad or wrong, nor is it a reflection on how they feel about you as a person. Sometimes, an offer will not fit the needs of a prospect or for some reason, they’re not ready to move forward. 

Keep in mind that every interaction you have with a prospect is either a relationship-building experience or a relationship-detracting experience, and healthy relationships require you to know how to win and lose with grace. 

Where Will You Start?

Your sales journey is going to be full of hills and valleys. There will be moments where you feel like you’re treading water and moments where you feel invincible. The key to making that ratio more wins than losses is in how you approach your sales game. 

Which of the above lessons will you focus on first to improve your sales game? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Erin Addesso is a best-selling author, success coach, and sales consultant, working with business owners, companies, and corporations to develop a powerful presence, resulting in higher closing rates, more referrals, and increased profits, using the Hustle Playbook Method™. Erin’s consulting and genius is trusted by brands such as Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, Loan Depot, MegaStar Financial Corporation, Coldwell Banker, and more. She uses her over 20 years of experience in leadership, sales, and cutting edge marketing techniques, to create more automated streams of income, develop a growing pipeline of highly qualified leads, and attract top-notch clientele, so you can increase your profitability and reach while actually having days off and not being attached to your phone 24/7.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

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Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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