What Surfing Can Teach You about Selling
By Jeff Goldberg, Author of Leverage Your Laziness
I recently started learning to surf and I’d like to share some ideas from surfing to help you sell better.
1) Time in the water
Every person I speak with says the same thing… the way to improve is to spend “time in the water.” You have to invest a lot of time waiting for waves because in order to surf you have to catch the right wave. You can’t catch the right wave unless you’re in the water. In sales you need to get in front of as many of the right prospects as possible. There are ways to increase the likelihood of catching a good wave (Watch the waves and see where they’re breaking, paddle to a different spot if you aren’t in the right place, etc.) but the bottom line is the more time you’re in the water the better the chances of finding your wave. The more prospects you see the better the odds of closing a deal. Prospect consistently.
2) Wait for your wave
Some surfers try to catch every wave but my observation has been that the more experienced surfers only go for waves they think are right for them. You waste time and energy paddling into waves that you can’t surf and it’s disappointing when you miss the wave. The same is true of pursuing prospects that aren’t going to buy. Don’t “pitch” everybody. Look for better prospects and quickly “fire” prospects that aren’t right for you.
3) Learn from someone who knows what they’re doing and knows how to teach.
I’ve been in the water with 4 different people in the last month. Each was able to teach me something but my last teacher made a huge difference. He knew what to look for and also knew how to explain things to me in a way that I was able to learn from. One slight adjustment he had me make made a huge difference in my ability to keep my balance when paddling. (Previous to his suggestion I was spending more time in the water than on my board when paddling – I kept losing my balance and falling off the board and into the water) If your manager doesn’t know how to help you improve find someone else who can.
4) Take it seriously but relax and have fun
You can easily get hurt if you don’t respect the ocean. You need to realize the waves don’t care about you and keep on coming, and that sometimes other surfers aren’t going to be courteous and may cut you off but the whole reason for being out there is to have fun. Same with sales… you need to respect the prospect, respect yourself (And you time) but sales seem to come easier when you take a deep breath, relax, smile and have a good time. Your prospects will enjoy the process more and more of them will become clients.
Make It Happen!