THE SALES LESSON I LEARNED WHEN I RAN ACROSS CANADA by Sébastien Sasseville

Remember your first workwith? The first time your sales director spent a day on the road with you? You handpicked the accounts you would visit… selected your best customers and your best relationships. You stayed home the day before to clean your car, carefully prepared each call and of course, the stress kept you up all night.

I took a break from sales and keynote speaking to run across Canada last year: 9 months of running, 5 or 6 marathons per week through all 4 seasons and every weather climate you can imagine. Here’s what it taught me about sales.

I didn’t use anti-inflammatory during my run (7158 km in total). Not a single pill. For a runner, pain is data. I need to know what hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts. For example, whether my knee hurts before, during or after a run is telling me very different things about the injury. That data is fundamental to my recovery and selecting the right tools and techniques to get better and improve results.

A day with your sales director should be no different: don’t use anti-inflammatory. Do not mask any data. Be brave, feel the pain and take your boss to your worst accounts. Allow the environment to paint a real picture, the real state of your business so you can fix what needs to be fixed and improve outcomes.

The courage of collecting, owning and using real data will help you transform your sales.

As an individual, you’ll gain clarity on what skills and expertise you need to improve to fine tune your strategy. Let the environment define your development plan. As a company, your superiors will gain insights on where the business model is or is not efficient. They will go back to the office with a better comprehension of the ecosystem you are battling every day. Therefore, they’ll become more likely to equip the sales force with the tools it really needs to succeed.

It is often the accounts that are the most problematic that hold the key to transforming your business. But if you don’t go, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. So go ahead and make that next workwith count! The humility will go a long way, your courage will be noted as a trait of a leadership. But most important of all, you will fix real issues, the day will be spent learning, not pretending.