coaching Performance Management

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Sports-Minded Sales Reps


Being a sales leader is much like being the coach for a sports team. When a coach is facing an upcoming draft, they look for athletes with a few key characteristics. Players with a natural athleticism, competitiveness and team spirit, as well as a drive for success, will be key for their season. According to Hoopla’s VP of Sales, Mike Andersen, managers should be looking for sales reps with similar personalities to athletes. In fact, Mike says some of his best employees either play sports, or have the mindset much like an athlete. But before you decide to hire only retired 49ers, lets take a look at the pros and cons of hiring sports-minded employees…


1. Competitive by Nature

 Athletes are almost always competitive by nature, and the same goes for sales reps. To succeed in sales you need to be built with a certain ambition, a trait often found in lifelong athletes. Having competitive sales reps means your team will be constantly tracking their results and looking for new ways to improve and succeed. You can teach your sale reps many things, but a drive to win should come naturally.

2. Athletes Know They Need to Work to Succeed  

While most athletes have a drive to win, an exceptional athlete understands that hard work and practice are vital to success. Managers need their sales reps at work early each morning, making more calls than the day before, and following through with each lead until they land the sale. A good rep understands that wins will not be handed to them, there are no shortcuts, and they need to be constantly improving to succeed.

3. Athletes Know How to be Coached  A

good sales rep, like a good athlete, will be able to change tactics when necessary, and listen to a manager’s advice. They need to be able to hold themselves accountable when results are low, and have a hunger to learn how to improve their performance. With the right coaching these types of sales reps will be encouraged to play their best game.

4. Team Players  

Another great aspect of hiring sports-minded people is they often foster great “team spirit.” A good sales rep thrives off the encouragement and energy of, not only their coach, but also their peers. They understand how a team operates, and they will understand how their actions every day effect the other sales reps in your organization.


1. Watch Out for Competition Between Sales Reps  

Sales is a demanding career, which is why it often attracts competitive individuals. But this also means it can be easy for employees to lose sight of the “team” goal and focus only on their personal goals. A good rep should be in constant competition with themselves, not willing the person next to them to do poorly. In the right type of environment, with the right coaching, sales reps will encourage one another and understand the company’s goal is just as important as their own.

2. Becoming Discouraged Easily

A sales rep at the beginning of their career might start out strong, but their need to win and early enthusiasm could hurt them in the long term. Being in sales means learning how to be a good winner as well as a good loser. Managers need to recognize when a sales rep is being overly hard on themselves, and help them to take control of their sales. Being in sales means a lot of highs and lows, so why not make the best of it? Managers should foster celebration and recognition to help sales reps associate work with accomplishment and positivity.