Ya know what’s fun? Tennis. I never thought much about it until we decided to have our boys try it this summer.
Not long after, Susan decided she was gonna give it a spin. And now she’s hooked.
She has several different classes/lessons each week, and her skills are improving.
Confession: I don’t like to be left out. So yesterday, I told her I wanted to come to her tennis lesson and give it a spin…
So it’s me, Su and her friend Jennifer, all being instructed by Coach John.
Coach John is amazing. You can tell this dude’s been coaching tennis for decades. And he works with a lot of junior high kids, so his explanations and analogies are super simple to understand.
Now, even though I’ve never done the tennis thing, I used to play a ton of racquetball in high school and college. (One of my all-time most popular essays is about how some grandpa destroyed me in a racquetball tournament if you’ve never read it.)
That experienced helped some, but it was clear early on I had a lot to learn about tennis. And thanks to Coach John, I learned a ton in just one lesson.
Let’s look at three “sales takeaways” from my first tennis lesson.
1. There’s a rhythm and cadence to everything you do.
One of the first moves Coach John showed me, he called the Tennis Waltz. A 1-2-3 step to get in rhythm to return the ball.
1 – Approach the ball and plant your back foot, while separating the hands.
2 – Plant your front foot while maintaining balance.
3 – Turn your hips and hit through the ball.
1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3… Slow, steady, WHIP….. Slow, steady, WHIP….
A rhythm, a cadence, a tempo. A dance.
Almost all sports have something like this “dance” cadence. The golf swing (when I caddy for my sons, the most common cue I give them is ‘tempo.’). The baseball swing and the pitch. The layup in basketball.
Sales conversations also have a rhythm. They’re a dance. Some prospects’ dance style is different than others.
But that’s why we coach on how to read the person, how to ask questions, how to gauge where their heads are. Because now you know how to fall into the right rhythm and actually lead them properly.
We do NOT coach teams to “memorize all these scripts and use these magic words to hypnotize patients into following your orders.” That’s no fun and it doesn’t work.
The conversion process is a dance. Dancing is FUN. And it DOES work. On the tennis court, on the phone and in the consult room.
2. There’s more than one way to be successful.
I didn’t realize how many different kinds of shots you can learn in tennis. I figured you just go up and hit the ball, right? WRONG.
We learned footwork and approaches for half a dozen shots just last night. Heck, he taught us 3 different grips to use depending on what shot we were taking.
And it reminded me of a coaching call we had Wednesday with one of our E3 Bootcamp clients. We discussed the popular “I need to talk to my spouse” objection, and I gave them 5 different ways to handle that objection.
Why? Because depending on the situation… depending on where you are on the court… you need the ability to make different shots.
There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, but having several easy ways to address common objections makes for a much more confident team who can work through more challenges.
3. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
Last thing we worked on was the serve. The serve in racquetball is NOTHING like the serve in tennis, so I didn’t have much to go on.
And the serve in tennis is difficult in general because you’re trying to smash the ball into a tiny square on the other side of the court.
So I got up there and just tried to do what I’ve seen the guys on TV do. And it worked to my surprise, I put about 50% of my serves into the opposite square with solid speed.
In reality, I’m sure I looked nothing like Andre Agassi. And Coach John conveyed as much when he started tweaking my swing.
“I want you to do this and this,” and he showed me. So I tried it a few times. And I was sailing balls all over the place.
After my 5th attempt, he said: “You know what? Go back to what you were doing.”
So I did, and I ripped 3 out of the next 4 balls into the little square.
“Yeah, we aren’t gonna change anything on your swing for now. You’re doing great with it. No need to fix what isn’t really broken.”
Could Coach John have tried to mold me into his perfect version of a swing? Yes. And I would probably be really frustrated.
But he knows the ultimate goal is the result – to make good serves.
With every practice we coach, several team members come into the program who are concerned we’re going to try to turn them into used car salesmen. And they are pleasantly surprised when they find out that’s NOT the case.
We take their experiences, their background, their personality, and help them adopt the principles of conversion in a way that makes sense for them.
And the result is a group of happier, more confident schedulers who can leverage their natural talents to get the result we all want – more patients on the books.
So keep these concepts in mind when you’re working with your sales teams next week. Help them find their rhythm, remember there are multiple ways to be successful, and don’t fix what isn’t broken (nurture it instead).
And yeah, tennis is rad. Give it a spin if you haven’t. And if you have, hit reply and tell me what you love about tennis! Obviously I have a ton to learn, so send me your tips and I would much appreciate it. 🙏
My goal: to do a mixed doubles tournament with Susan at some point in 2023. Wish us luck…
– Troy “Tennis” Cole
PS – If I hadn’t taken action to hire a coach and try tennis, I wouldn’t have found this awesome new sport and hobby.
I’m looking for 2 Action Takers who know want to empower their scheduling teams to fill their schedules. I’ve got a special “Coach John” bonus for you to help you hit the ground SPRINTING toward growth in 2023. Book a call and I’ll explain – https://e3.troycole.com/