Salespeople: Don’t Be Like LeBron


Share on LinkedIn

“King” James is a force of nature. Single-handedly he almost won the NBA finals for the long-suffering Cleveland Cavaliers. Here’s how Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry described James’ performance in the finals:

James [was] hiking Kilimanjaro while wearing a tank top. And his guides aren’t doing shit. This is just incredible.

If there was any doubt about how great he was, he managed to average 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game. That’s legendary, yet…

LeBron Still Lost

Despite his outstanding performance, the Cavs lost the series. However, there are a lot of positives that salespeople can learn from James’ performance:

  • He persevered through adversity. During their playoff run, LeBron lost two of his all-star colleagues – Kevin Love and Kyrie Irvin – and instead of feeling sorry for himself, he pushed his team almost to the top. In sales, sometimes we run into objections which can set us back, however we can also persevere to find solutions rather than give up.
  • Second, he made his teammates better. In the finals against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron was basically playing with left-overs from my beleaguered Knicks: Iman Shumpert and J R Smith. The Knicks were a last place team and basically the joke of the NBA, and here were two of their key players suddenly doing great because they were on the same floor with James. How can you influence those you are working with? A positive mindset and attitude is contagious, so you can influence those around you to work toward reaching your goal.
  • Last, he didn’t make any excuses. After losing the finals he took responsibility and promised to get better. This is a huge one. How do you respond to a failure? When a deal doesn’t go through do you blame it on the client, the product or the marketing department? By taking responsibility and examining where the deal went wrong, you have an opportunity to truly improve yourself. Blame on the other hand, doesn’t have any sustainable benefits to you.

Apply For Our Exclusive, Private Beta

Spiro will soon be releasing an amazing app that will turbocharge the professional life of salespeople and help you crush your quota. Let us know your email address and we’ll let you know when it’s ready for you.

Don’t Be Like LeBron

However, Even LeBron couldn’t win the championship by himself. He needed his teammates.

As a salesperson, winning the championship might be one big deal, killing your quota, or making $500,000 in one year, that sort of depends on you. What I can tell you is that whatever your goal, it’s going to take a team effort to achieve it.

Sales is often thought of as an individual sport, more like golf than basketball.

But in reality, you have several groups of people working together to make a sale happen, such as the following:

  • Quality Product Supplier: Consider that if you’re not selling the right product in the first place (one that people actually f*king need) it’s going to be hard to get a deal done. You need to be with a company that provides a quality product or service with a demand.
  • Marketing Support: Who is providing you with support and help? You need a marketing department aligned with sales to provide you with quality leads and background information on clients.
  • Sales Ops: Next you have your sales ops team in the background who organize the trainings you need, provide a sales process template, make sure your CRM is working properly and provide expert advice on territory sizing and alignment. Without the support of this team, you would have a hard time ever getting to the actual sales part of your job.
  • Leaders: Lastly, don’t forget the company’s leadership. If your CEO and senior leaders aren’t out there busting their ass to sell with you, what good are they?

Right there you have 4 different parties of people working together to get a sale done, outside of yourself.

What Should You Do?

If you feel like you’re in a LeBron James situation – the only one on the team to be getting it done –  perhaps it’s time to look around. You likely have several “teammates” around you that you may be able to better utilize to bring home more deals. Remember, don’t play the blame game, but look for opportunities on how you can make a positive change to move toward your goal with your teammates. You can inspire others to start performing better, just by being on the “court” with you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here