What do Tiger Woods and Salespeople Have in Common?

Great athletes like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Wade Boggs…..what do they have in common with most salespeople you manage today? Tiger always wears a red shirt on tournament Sundays, Michael always clapped the chalk dust in the air before and game, and Wade Boggs always ate chicken on game day.

So what does this have to do with you salespeople? Most salespeople are a lot like athletes, very superstitious. I used to try an talk my team out of not mentioning jinxes, like saying a company will close before it does, or bringing a “lucky pen” or “lucky suit” to the wrap up meeting. Not anymore.

A new article in Psychological Science says that you may be taking a very important factor in out of you salespersons hands, confidence. People perform better when they have there “lucky charms” with them.  Would you take a 33% improvement in your team? Well the researchers reached that number in a putting experiment with 28 different participants.

In Fact the participants also performed better in puzzle solving and and memory tests.

“The increased levels of self-efficacy that result from activating a superstition lead to higher self-set goals and greater persistence in the performance task.” said the authors. (Lysann Damisch)

What these charms do is lead people to push past barriers that others may perceive as holding them back. Does you sales team have any superstitions? I have tried to get my team to admit some of theirs. Things range from the aforementioned lucky suit and pen to the absurd, like having to not change underwear???? Don’t ask.

I now try and look for things, to help show positive signs, so that I can give my team more confidence in the field. I have always felt that confidence sells more then marketing materiel and slick presentations do. What can you do to help your team? Any good superstitions?

photo credit woods jordan

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