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What I Learned from Being an AMG Race Car Driver

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What I Learned from Being an AMG Race Car Driver

May 5, 2016
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IMG_4823I recently had one of the most crazy, exhilarating experiences in my life. While it doesn’t beat getting married to my awesome wife, or witnessing the birth of each of my beautiful kids – it still ranks pretty high up there.

I’m talking about whipping around a racetrack in a smoking fast Mercedes-AMG GT S.

My dream came true last week at the Mercedes AMG Pro Race Course at Circuit of the Americas (#CoTA) in Austin, Texas. The class was made up of “alpha males” from various industries and parts of the globe. I found I was not the only red-blooded male who dreams of handling this kind of speed and power.

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The experience was world class. While I am a decent driver, the power of these machines and the speeds involved mean that I could very easily have ended up in a bad way had it not been for one thing: excellent coaching.

What really prevented me from becoming a piece of roadkill was the fact that I was taught and carefully mentored by people who had been there and done that countless times. They had made enough mistakes to know which of my bad habits would lead me to certain failure (and the destruction of a very expensive car), and which of my good habits to amplify.

There were different levels of classes, geared to the experience level of the drivers, and we were never just left to our own devices – but were instead closely monitored.

These guys had world-class talent as drivers, but also world-class talent as instructors.

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They were impressively fast, and made me faster, because they were knowledgeable, confident and smooth – and imparted that knowledge and confidence to me.

And this led me to thinking about how this could apply to business and sales.

I think there are too many “blind leading the blind” out there. Many sales leaders have never “carried a bag”. Never relied on a sale to feed their family. Never felt the joy of a close and the crush of a loss. That’s why some salespeople hesitate. They don’t go fast because they are not knowledgeable, confident and smooth. And it’s because they aren’t being taught by those who have been there and done that – and are confident themselves.

Think about it: how can you be coached and managed to become a top producer if your boss was never a quota-crushing sales god with balls of steel who could show you how to do it, and make you have fun while doing it?

Because that was the other thing. My instructors on the track made a dangerous activity approachable and FUN. There was a lot of camaraderie – even though the drivers were competing with each other. We enjoyed ourselves and talked smack and celebrated together and succeeded – because we were engaged and exhilarated.

Imagine if your sales team was run the same way?

I think it can be achieved in the showroom or in the field, and not just on the racetrack. What salespeople need is someone to:

• Tell them how to do it
• Show them how to do it
• Have them do it
• Analyze their results
• Learn from their mistakes
• Repeat all the above steps again and again

The above is tried and true and yields the best mastery. And if it is done by experts who have been there done that – and are therefore relaxed, confident and smooth about it all – I think the results are even greater. Your salespeople will learn in a positive environment rather than a stressful one.
Another thing which dawned on me: by getting good feedback and data from each performance and seeing other racers go fast, you feel confident that you can go faster – and you do! In a similar fashion, getting good feedback and data from fellow salespeople and coaches through role playing, ride-alongs and team selling also inspires you to out the petal to the metal in sales.
Stress and working off bad data crashes cars. And causes salespeople to fail. No Bueno.
Run your sales organization like a team of champion racers rather than stressing people (and yourself) out all the time. It will be a lot more productive and the esprit de corps will be unmatched.

If you need help with this — if your sales are flat, you are struggling to hit your revenue targets, and your folks are simply not having FUN selling any more — give me a chance to help you.

Call me at (760) 815-4464 or drop me a line here on LinkedIn or email at shaun@volohaus.com to see about reinvigorating or even reinventing your business and having fun again.

 

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