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⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
Today’s edition explores the parallels between elite professional tennis and high-powered sales. A key difference being that many sellers are unwilling or don’t know how to invest in the right coaching staff to take their abilities to the next level. We’ll unpack how you can.
Read time: <7 minutes
If you missed last week, read it here.
Lessons from Break Point 🎾
I am not a tennis player, but I’ve really been loving the Netflix series, Break Point.
If you’re not familiar with it, the series follows the ups and downs of some of the top-emerging talent in the sport – from female greats like Ons Jabeur, Iga Świątek, and Ajla Tomljanović to male stars like Felix Auger Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe, and others.
The ten episodes go behind the scenes during the 2022 ATP 250 and Grand Slam Tour (Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, and US Open), giving the viewer a glimpse of the razor thin margins between winning and losing at the highest level, the mental challenges that come along with that ride, and what it takes to elevate to the top of the rankings.
What fascinated me the most was how every single player personally invests in not just a single coach, but a whole coaching staff, to elevate their game.
Sellers can learn a thing or two from this approach, and something we’ll dive into here.
Becoming intentional about getting better
In so many ways, professional tennis players operate as mini-businesses.
The higher they climb, the bigger their brand becomes, and the greater the need of setting up a stellar support system around them. Top tennis players invest an estimated 10 – 15% of their annual earnings, just for their main coach (Quora, Forbes.) Additional costs are all on them too, from nutrition, to mental strength, to conditioning, and even travel, meals, and accommodations.
Here’s what former US Open champion, Sloane Stephens said about it:
“Even though tennis is an individual sport, you also are essentially the captain and CEO of your own little team, which when you’re just starting out can feel like so much, especially when you’re still figuring out who you are as a young person and learning to navigate life as a professional athlete,” she added. “It’s really important to surround yourself with people you trust and who you know have your back and are all aligned on your goals.”
Novak Djokovic, one of the game’s legends, has the following people on his full-time staff this year:
– Coach: Goran Ivanišević
– Strategist: Craig O’Shannessy
– Spiritual advisor: Pepe Imaz
– Director, Novak Djokovic Foundation: Jelena Djokovic
– Physio: Ulises Badio
– Fitness Trainer: Marco Panichi
– Fitness Partner: Marko Djokovic
Granted, Djokovic has a total of $164,691,308 in career earnings (through the end of 2022) to justify paying top dollar for a staff of seven. But the key point is he’s doing what he feels he needs to elevate his craft. Something every seller can learn from.
He and Iga Świątek were two of 98 ATP players to earn over $1M last year. Using Świątek’s total earnings of $9,875,525, before taxes, I’m estimating she spent roughly 25% of that (~$2.5M) for her coach, her psychologist, and statician, 3 key people she relies on for every match.
Top sellers are like the elite athletes of the business world
When I jumped up from enterprise sales to strategic sales in 2018, I likened it to finally joining the English Premier League (arguably soccer’s most competitive pro league), to reference my native sport. It couldn’t get any higher than that.
And boy, did I need help.
Despite coming off an MVP year in 2018, I still needed to work on my mental game, so I hired a mindset coach.
I was also encountering new situations with Fortune 100 level brands I had never faced in my career before, so I sought out a top sales coach in Andy Paul, based on the recommendation of my manager at the time, Sean Burke. We focused on specific approaches that helped me lift my win rate to 80%.
A year later I even added a fitness coach to “my team,” pro cycling coach Shayne Gaffney who helped me tailor Zwift workouts with the aim of improving my professional performance in sales by increasing my HRV and physical capacity through short and intense structured workouts on the bike.
Having a “staff” that helped me navigate the ups and downs of high-paced strategic selling was key. Three 7-figure earning years in a row would definitely not have happened without a strong support structure in place.
The number 1 thing missing for sellers
The sad truth is it’s not coming from inside their orgs.
Most managers and leaders are unfortunately too busy to give individuals the quality 1:1 attention they’re craving, and it’s a big contributor to missed quotas, higher stress, lots of uncertainty, and decreased earnings.
So how can you identify a coach that works well for you and where you are on your revenue generation journey? Here are a few tips and creative ways to go about it:
Early in your career:
– In lieu of an expensive coach, join a community like Pavilion.
– Leverage the 3-level framework:
→ Get mentored or coached by a top performer above you
→ Network and support others equal to you
→ Mentor or coach those a level below you
More advanced in your career (i.e. consistent $300K/year earner)
– Hire a professional coach who fits your personality and was a specialist in your same field. Are you an introverted B2B2C strategic account seller focused on new business in SaaS? An extroverted B2B sales stud in hardware that managed existing accounts with an MSA in place may not be your best guide. Find someone similar who will understand you not just as a professional, but as a human too.
– Think beyond a coach and hire a “staff.” Who’s helping you with your mental performance? Who has an eye on improving your sleep, physical well-being, and nutrition?
– You will also benefit from the 3-level framework mentioned above. Don’t skip out on learning, sharing, and helping others.
An industry first
Since retiring from corporate selling last spring, I’ve been quietly working behind the scenes mentoring and coaching a select group of top performers, while running invite-only design labs and cohorts to test out cutting-edge approaches that accelerate revenue generation and improve value creation.
The intent is to evolve beyond just improving mindset or teaching advanced selling tactics, and instead, help professionals manage their lives similar to how elite, world-class athletes operate by supporting multiple dimensions of performance.
This includes things like:
– Using 24/7 wearable tech to accurately understand and predict how sleep, recovery, habits, and stress affect sales performance.
– Doing deep analysis on personality type, chronotype, and other human factors to design optimal workdays and weeks based on personalized attributes and natural circadian rhythm.
– Creating principles, frameworks, prescriptive daily guidance on knowing the best thing to do, why to do it, and when to do it.
It’s bringing together a complete personal operating system thats helps professionals turn their sales career into a fun game they get to play every day.
And when it comes to recurring coaching, I want to take a different track that I have yet to see in the sales space – which is to charge less and design a program that shares in the gains as you progress.
Instead of asking sellers to shell out $5K – $20K a year, I am limiting, and in some instances eliminating coaching fees all together and sharing in the gains when performers reach certain milestones, like winning large strategic deals or graduating to new income levels – similar to how the best tennis players and coaches work in harmony for a common goal.
I’m going to be hand-picking a (very limited) new class of performers to work with in 2024, and expose them to resources beyond me. Those at the top of the list will be those who are familiar with my approach, participate in our monthly group sessions, and have already had at least one preliminary strategy session with me.
For instance, if you are a $300K W2 earner and want to break through to $1M W2 earnings in 12 – 18 months, we would lock in a methodical plan to increase your earnings $700K and share in those gains vs you investing in a hefty sum up front.
To be selected, I’ll need to collect a lot of data to determine if we’re a right, long-term fit for one another.
If you are new to all of this or been sitting on the sidelines, I am incentivizing BFLG subscribers to lock in Option 3 of the 7 Figure Seller OS, which gets you to the top of the list. Use coupon code “BFLG” at checkout for $150 off your first coaching session with me (code expires Sunday 9/3 at midnight).
See you next week!
Here are 3 ways I can help you right now:
Learn how to use design and systems thinking to become a 7 figure seller. There are 3 options to allow you to customize your learning journey.
You can book a 60-minute coaching session with me (although the Pro above option provides access to 1:1 coaching with me at a 70% discount. Note, just a handful of available coaching slots remain for 2023).
3 | Are you hiring stellar sales professionals?
I have a highly engaged audience of account executives, consultants, and account managers, primarily in the enterprise and strategic accounts tech space. I will run job posting ads at half the price in the sponsored section at the top of this weekly newsletter. Stats: 56.47% average open rate and 5.14% average click rate. If you’re interested, email: firstname.lastname@example.org