Success in Sales – From Hard Work or Talent?

We hear the phrase

“Hard work beats talent every time”

Brandished around everywhere we look, but do people really believe it?

My gut feeling is that people don’t believe it, otherwise why would they continue with expedient behaviour. Why would many procrastinate or put off important jobs or settle for average results?

The truth of the matter is that many people may believe that hard work beats talent, but they still don’t put in the graft. At least not to the level to see the results of icons in the sales industry.

For anyone whom is reading this who is torn, who is putting in a good shift but is aware they can do more, then my hope is that this article will be your inspiration to push your work rate to the next level. This article highlights the importance of hard work over merely relying on your talent.

People Think They Work Hard

How hard do you work? Often we as human beings have a cognitive bias towards our ways of working, and practices that become habits over time. Ask the majority of people and I bet that they’ll give you the same answer, that’s

“I work hard!”

But do they really? Working hard is subjective in its nature, that’s until that person witnesses someone who truly works hard.

Let’s use an example of this, commonly we’ll see how changes to an organisation can often have a positive effect on work rates, especially when before they had a culture of average to low work rates. Think about this in sporting terms, how often do we see a failing sports team change their coach or manager, then they see this massive bounce back of positive performance.

In human nature we naturally get complacent, and if we’re in an environment that doesn’t push us beyond our means then guess what happens. We fall into coasting mode, we might think we’re working hard but realistically we aren’t.

That’s when some form of reflection is needed.


Reflection is needed when we don’t have the role models in our business to aspire to. Often, for high achievers, they lack role models as they’re at the top already, that’s where they need to reflect on things and ask themselves some positive questions, things like “How can I be better?” “How can I up my work rate?”

For me work rate is everything. Every successful person I have ever met outworks their peers or their competition, they’re the best because they spend hour after hour devoted to being the best. They graft more than the man next to them!

When I reflect, especially on the topic of work rate, I think about those icons whom are at the top of their field. Maybe these examples could be useful for you to reflect on also.

Michael Phelps

Take the 12 time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps. He’s been grafting since he was a young boy, when he began swimming with his coach Bob Bowman at the age of nine. Now Michaels work rate display how he didn’t just rely on talent, he put in a shift every single day of his career. Here’s some things you should know about Michaels work rate. At age eleven, when he set his goal to become an Olympic swimmer, he committed to his cause by focusing solely on swimming and stopping his other hobbies like baseball and soccer.

Just reflect on this for work rate. Michael had an intense training regimen of 10 work outs a week. Between the years of 1999 and 2006 he didn’t miss a single day of training, that’s seven days a week for three hundred and sixty five days a year. Add to that the fact that for three days a week he did double training days, he’d have a two hour session in the pool as well as a one and a half hour gym session.

The pinnacle of his training regimen came at the US training centre at Colorado springs. At these camps, for three weeks straight, he would train in the pool between

  • 0500-0700
  • 0900-1100
  • 1500-1700

Every single day, and he’d follow this with weight sessions too. In total over the twenty one days of camp he’d clock in  a massive seventy five workouts.

Now if that doesn’t put into context what true work rate looks like then I don’t know what will.

Next Article

In part two of this article we’re going to look at another sport stars work rate to put this in perspective and a few other take aways to consider.

Do look out for our next article on this topic.

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