What is it that makes some salespeople more successful than others? Take two salespeople standing side by side, both well dressed, clean cut, certified on their product, given the same amount of leads and selling from the exact same inventory. One succeeds and consistently sells 25% more than the other.
Why is it that you can put two people in the same environment and one crushes it while the other just survives? At the Kintz Group, we believe great salespeople have the same qualities and potential that the Triple Crown winner Secretariat had. It’s known as the X-Factor.
Secretariat’s career began on the flip of a coin. His father “Bold Ruler” was a good horse but not one of the greatest of all times. He had an excellent blend of speed and stamina but was missing the X-Factor.
When Secretariats was foaled, he wasn’t sought after and held no special standing in racing circles. He was a consolation prize and, like most of us, his beginnings were humble. Most of us didn’t grow up with dreams of a career in sales. It was an occupation we went into because we were told we could make “good money”.
Surprisingly, Secretariat didn’t win his first race, kind of like most of us didn’t sell the first customer we ever spoke to. So how did the great horse, his owners and handlers react after such an inauspicious beginning? They hired one of the greatest “trainers” in the history of the sport, Lucien Laurin. Lucien knew that every horse that stepped onto a track had the potential to win, but without proper training, they simply ran in a circle.
Where are you in your sales career?
Storming across the finish line, thrusting your chest through the wire or trotting along with the rest of the pack? Great sales people, like great racing champions all benefit from training because of 5 things:
1. They know exactly what they want.
For a horse, it’s a finish line clearly marked on the track. Every activity is customized to run a race properly and arrive at the finish line first. A salesperson’s tangible finish line is a specific goal, in writing, with a detailed plan. These goals and plans are what give you the burning desire and drive to be the best you can be. Without knowing what you want, you’ll just be running in circles and get burned out.
2. They take action.
Great racing champions go out everyday with a purpose and a feeling of “physical abundance.” Salespeople who consistently cross that finish line in first place are well rested and eat properly. They have an excellent balance in their life so when the alarm rings, they get up fresh and ready to do the right things all day, everyday.
3. They read the signs.
Secretariat finished fourth in his first race at Aqueduct. His trainer watched the tape of the race and said the Secretariat was impeded at the start and forced to take up on the backstretch and then couldn’t catch up with the leader. As salespeople, the signs are in the tracking and records we keep daily. If we aren’t measuring our performance, we can’t manage ourselves to greatness. If we consistently read the signs properly, we can follow them to our true potential.
4. They change their approach.
Secretariat was the highest ranked horse on ESPN’s greatest athletes of the 20th century. His running of the Belmont Stakes was ranked as the second greatest sports performance in history, right behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point performance. But none of this could have been possible without the help of the great trainer. A trainer that noticed the difficulty Secretariat had at the beginning of each race. Once he realized this, he changed their approach and worked to make sure he broke last. That’s right, last. The defining characteristic of Secretariat was that he didn’t care, pay attention to or worry about any other horse on the track. That was because he was trained properly, ate properly and had the confidence to run his race.
5. Having the heart of a champion.
The world grieved when it was announced that Secretariat was afflicted with laminitis, a painful and often incurable hoof condition. This champion had not won every race, but he is remembered by this generation as the greatest horse ever because of his Triple Crown run. His Kentucky Derby record still stands as the fastest ever ran and, in that race, every quarter mile segment was faster than the one before. This means he was still accelerating when he crossed the finish line! In the Preakness, he established a new stakes record at 1:53 and, in the Belmont Stakes, he ran the hardest, most focused Belmont Stakes in history, leaving the field far behind. He won that race by 31 lengths, the largest victory margin in history.
His time meant he had been running at 37.5 miles per hour the entire race. All these things contributed to his legend, but at his necropsy Dr. Thomas Swercek, head pathologist at the University of Kentucky, said when he and his staff took out the great horse’s heart, “We just stood there in stunned silence. We couldn’t believe it. The heart was perfect. There were no problems with it, It was just this huge engine.” His heart weighed 22 lbs, 2.75 times larger than the average horse’s heart.
In horse racing, there is a genetic condition passed down through the dam line. It’s known as the X-Factor. It gives a horse, who is normal in every other way, looks the same when standing next to other horses, well groomed like all the other horses and is certified by the United States Racing Association like all other horses - The X-Factor gives them an enormous heart.
The X-Factor comes from hard work, training and perseverance. And that is the difference. A great trainer and an incredible heart gave Secretariat The X-Factor. You can have the X-Factor too. We've made it our business to bring forth the X-Factor, just like Secretariat's trainer. We’ll be tuning into the 150th Belmont Stakes this Saturday, June 9th, to see if the front runner, Justify, can come close to the Legend that was the Secretariat.