Success in Sales – From Hard Work or Talent – Part 2

If you missed the first part of this article then you can find it here:

So in our previous article we talked about the phenomenon that is Michael Phelps, if his work rate does put into perspective what hard work truly is then I don’t know what will. But to paint the picture in greater depth we’re going to use a couple more examples.

Let’s next take another great sports person, that being:

Mike Tyson

So if you’ve haven’t heard of Mike Tyson (not sure who hasn’t) or aren’t au fait with all of his backstory then let me set the scene. Mike came from a very impoverished background and set the boxing scene on fire when he became the youngest heavy weight champion of the world at just 20 years old.

In his career he has made over half a billion dollars, much of it coming from his 58 fights where he won 50 of them of which 44 came by way of knockout.

Mike has always said that he had the outlook of out working the guy he’d be opposite in the ring. He talks about how the fights are easy, because he trains so hard. It didn’t matter the circumstance, when he was preparing for a fight he’d get up between 0200- 0400 in the morning to run, even in the snow, because he knew his competitor wouldn’t.

He says it was his hard work and willingness to sacrifice which were the catalyst to his success and why so many of his fights ended in a knockout. His opponents simply couldn’t live with him because he had trained so hard, become so fit and overpowering that they’d succumb to his superiority.

Mike was up running at stupidly early hours in the morning as he knew that his opponent wouldn’t be. That begs the question, what are you doing? What action are you taking that your competitors wont?

This question makes me think about this guy…

Tim Ferris

Many of you will know of Tim Ferriss, he’s one of my heroes. He’s a bestselling author of many incredible books. On the topic of doing things your competitors wont, this made me think about his book the ‘Four Hour Workweek’ where he talks about his first step into the big bad world of sales.

Tim realised early on that in order to be successful he needed to do things his competition wouldn’t. One of the improvements he made to his practice in a bid to outperform others was to structure his work hours and activities differently. In this book he says

“If I simply made all my calls from 0800-0830am and 0600-0630pm…I was able to avoid secretaries and book more than twice as many meetings as the senior sales executives who called from 9-5.”

This brings me to the climax and the point of these two articles.


I’ve intentionally used these examples because I want to paint two pictures to you which are:

– Put in the graft

– Do that which your competition won’t, or don’t

The example of Michael Phelps is there to demonstrate what is humanly possible. Yes he’s an icon in his field, and I don’t expect you to match what he puts in because he’s a freak of nature (in a good way). But it should help you understand what is possible and inspire you to put in that extra bit of graft to go beyond the average.

But graft isn’t enough. Often you also need to differentiate yourself to stand out from the crowd. As the old adage goes

‘Work Smarter Not Harder’

That working smarter concept could simply be operating in a different way than your competition. Think of what Mike Tyson and Tim Ferriss mentioned, they did something different and so stood out from the crowd and achieved incredible results.

How can you stand out from the crowd? How can you differentiate yourself?

The Bigger Picture

Think of the bigger picture here, your environment is just a fragment of the ecosystem in which you exist. Just because you’re the best in your business doesn’t mean that much. There are a million and one others out there competing with you. Don’t settle with being the best in your business, set your goals higher.

Put in the work and do that which your competitors don’t or won’t and soon enough you will be that icon in your industry.

Word of Advice

Don’t get efficiency muddled up with effectiveness. You can be a busy fool so easily, the truth of the matter is that a busy fool can be the most efficient man in the world, but his or her output can be mediocre.

That is until you consider or witness someone who grafts beyond belief.

If you liked this article then do follow our blog, simply enter your email address below and you’ll never miss out from a future valuable article:

If you’ve enjoyed this content and want to take your sales career to the next level then you should also consider buying my book Sales Icon: Selling in the Shadows, click on the link to order your copy:

Leave a Reply