What Salespeople can Learn from the Navy Seals
I am an admirer of all the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces. Their service and their sacrifice make them the best our nation has to offer. Lately, I have had the extreme honor to meet a few Navy Seals. Those meetings have propelled me to learn as much as I can about how they think and how they build the discipline that is necessary to do what they do.
While physical strength and endurance are obviously key requirements to become a Seal, it turns out what really makes them unique is their mental strength, specifically their ability to process information quickly and under extremely adverse circumstances. They build an incredibly strong and resilient mindset – and that term is defined as how they see and process the world around them.
One of the things I have discovered really resonated with me. I have always known that “Hell Week” is one of the times that cause many in the training program to quit. The attrition rate for Navy Seal training is about 80%. The training is designed to make you quit…to sort those people out and to sort them out early. What I find fascinating is that many of the trainees quit on day 1 over a fairly simple running exercise.
Uncertainty is the Biggest Deterrent
Think about it for just a minute. If you go to Seal training, you are certainly in excellent physical condition, so running should not be much of a challenge. But here is the catch – the instructors don’t tell the trainees how far they are running, nor do they tell them how long they will be running. Not knowing those answers causes many to quit. They can’t deal with that uncertainty. And one more thing – the run is not timed. You don’t have to run fast…you just can’t quit running.
Sales is Tough; You Gotta Love the Process
This makes me think of the incredible challenges that salespeople have had to deal with in recent months. It has been far from easy. And your mindset has been tested like perhaps no other time in recent years. This applies to selling as well. Selling is a tough lonely road to travel. Selling is a process and if you fall in love with the process, (making calls, asking for referrals, attending networking events) the process will always love you back. But the challenge is you don’t know when it will love you back. And that uncertainty, just like the uncertainty of an indefinite run, can cause great discouragement. Some even quit.
Just Keep Running
My encouragement to you today is simple – just keep running. Maybe even keep walking. Skip if you want or crawl if you must. Just keep moving because the process (if loved) will eventually love you back.
It will not be easy. But as the Seals say…the only easy day was yesterday.
Chief Growth Officer
Anthony Cole Training Group