Back in the days when Indians roamed the range, before leather helmets, when the Flying Wedge was all the rage, I played football in high school. My high school team wasn’t all that great since I went to the new high school in town and the city fathers finagled it so that most of the good players went to the old, established school.
We had a coach who would tell us that in order to become the player we wanted to be, we had to act the part to become the part—that is, we had to act like good football players in order to become good football players.
That small bit of advice has a tremendous amount of wisdom packed into it—and a lot of room for misinterpretation.
First let me say what Coach didn’t mean—seems especially important in today’s culture. Acting the part didn’t mean trash talking, acting like the school stud, or grandstanding. He would never put up with someone putting on airs, demanding special treatment, or getting too big for their britches.
Acting the part meant imitating the play of a quality player—doing those things that the good players do that make them good.
Acting the part means forgetting that one might be relatively new or inexperienced or hasn’t mastered necessary skills.
It means consciously forcing oneself to go through the same motions good players go through, using the same techniques and strategies, assuming the same confidence and self assurance (and faking it if necessary).
The philosophy behind Coach’s words is simply that you cannot become the person you want to be if you don’t do the things that person would do.
That small bit of advice works not only in sports but in all aspects of life, especially in selling.
Are you not the seller you want to be? Are you new or haven’t produced in the past at the level you want? Are you not one of the top sellers in your organization? Are you not at the top of your industry?
You can be—but not unless you act the part of a top seller, doing the things top sellers do.
I have heard literally thousands of average or slightly above average—and especially below average–sellers claim that they want to sell their way rather than imitating the top people in their organization. Some say they “can’t” sell the way the top sellers do, others that they know a better way. Ultimately they all have the same thing in common—they never make it to the top level.
There are thousands who claim to be sales trainers and gurus, all ready and willing to give you the secrets of selling success for the right price. And much of what they sell is really good and will help you increase your sales. I’m not downplaying the role of a quality trainer—after all, I’m one.
That being said, the quickest, surest way to becoming a top seller is to simply act like a top seller, doing the things a top seller does. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the “act” becomes the reality.
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