Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the infamous “Miracle”, the US national hockey team’s defeat of the USSR Hockey team at the 1980 winter olympics. It is usually portrayed as a phenomenal upset, a true Cinderella story, because at the end of the 70’s, the USSR’s team was the world standard of ice hockey. The USSR team had a pedigree of success at the game of hockey. They had easily defeated a team of NHL all stars, and dominated all other nations for years. 

That year the US hired a new coach, who was definitely NOT intimidated by the past successes of the USSR team, and instead fundamentally analyzed and broke down their approach, especially the strengths of their approach, and then systematically developed approaches to nullify their advantages and expose and take advantage of their weaknesses. He cared little for pedigrees, and instead focused on fundamentals.

When I’m hiring sales people, I don’t care what their pedigree is. I don’t care where they went to college. I don’t even care IF they went to college (the three best sales people I know have little or no college experience). I know that sales success will come from the ability to identify fundamentals (beliefs, thoughts, actions) and execute on them with discipline. 

That means that YOU, whoever you are, and whatever lack of pedigrees you might have, can be massively successful at sales, if you focus on the fundamentals. 

– Your prospect, regardless of their title, is just another human being who puts on their pants one leg at a time. They might look like and feel like a Russian Hockey Champion, but they are still just a person.

– Analyzing your clients and prospects strengths and weaknesses is essential to adjusting your approach. The gatekeeper is crushing you? Find a way around.

– Fundamentals matter. Qualify for time, Set the agenda, find pains, ask good questions, ask follow up questions, disqualify early and often, etc. 

– Keep your mindset correct. Abundance, Detachment, Intent.

– Discipline. Do the activity! 

– Stay a student. Always be learning. OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act). Look at what happens and adjust your approach.

Success isn’t a miracle. It’s a result of preparation and discipline. That 1980 hockey game proved it.