Fewer than 2% of all student-athletes go on to become professional athletes, leaving 98% looking for jobs across all industries. Athletes develop the qualities, skills and mentality that hiring managers are looking for as they build their sales team. Any relevant personal experience with sports injuries can also be a huge asset for selling those products specifically built for sports injuries.
At Medical Sales College, we have trained many previous athletes to prepare them for the medical sales field. Being accustomed to a strict regimen, taking instruction from leaders, working in a team environment, thriving in a competitive environment and setting and reaching goals are all transferable skills to bring to the medical sales industry from sports. As hiring managers look through applications, they want to see your track record of achievements.
Athletes are used to putting in many hours to become the best. The same thing goes for a career in medical sales, the more hours you put in, the more business you get. Dedicating the time needed to learn new products and techniques can even grow business further.
So why do former athletes find success in Sales?
Having passion for what you do fuels hard work, and the best athletes don’t give in to excuses. Instead, they focus on what they can control to maximize their chances of winning. They have an ability to acknowledge challenges, accept those challenges and push forward with passion. This mentality comes from athletics and a drive for success that doesn’t sleep, no matter what they are working toward achieving.
Using Failure to their Advantage
Everyone is bound to encounter adversity during their athletic careers. Competition will always continue to increase and that can put a great deal of pressure on anyone. The inevitably of not winning every single competition, not encountering injuries, coaching missteps and a variety of other factors outside of their control can cause headwinds against their success.
Adversity requires an individual to persevere when the going gets tough. In sales, rejection is a daily occurrence for professionals. Athletes are used to using adversity as fuel for future success and quitting is not in their nature. No one knows the value of failure more than athletes; they step into every game knowing that there are chances of failure, but they still try their best to win. If they fail, they learn from it and make up for their mistakes in the next game and don’t let failures slow them down.
Know the Importance of Teamwork
In sports and sales, communicating with the team to meet their goals together rather than competing against each other is essential for success. Athletes and Sales Reps both have a drive to succeed that separates them from competitors. They understand that talent alone is not enough, and that it must be paired with a strong work-ethic.
Improvising, Adaptability, and Flexibility
Every top sales professional has mastered the art of managing their time and creating a very disciplined approach to their day-to-day work life. This allows them to maximize their potential success every single day and cover a lot more ground. In sales and sports, you’ll only get out what you put in.
Time management and completing the balancing act successfully to get things done, means they have good habits ingrained in them that are very similar to successful sales professionals. Athletes are “hard-wired” for self-discipline, improvising and adapting under pressure, and this puts them at a huge advantage over sales pros that have never experienced such demands. At the end of the day, sales can be very complex and unpredictable. Knowing how to improvise because anything can happen during a game, athletes learn to prepare themselves for any sort of situation and are very adaptable – a skill that also helps in a sales environment.
Receptive to Training
Successful sales pros are not born, they are developed over time. The great ones are self-aware and know what they don’t know – using natural curiosity to learn and improve. One of the best ways to improve rapidly is to receive regular coaching from a mentor, a manager, or a peer. Applying lessons to real-life situations is the essence of being coachable. A great coach uses their experience over the years to effectively help shape a student.
Athletes spend their lives being coached and as a result these individuals are generally very comfortable receiving guidance. They tend to be receptive to feedback whether it’s positive or negative. Whatever can make them better in the end, they usually take it and learn from it. New sales reps may struggle with coaching, while former college athletes will embrace it. Training is what sets the tone for greater opportunities, success in sales, and will ultimately propel careers to the next level.
For those athletes looking to make it big, the medical sales industry is a great way to use your skills to achieve success in your career.