From the Field to the Phones: How Athletics Translates to the Game of Sales

Caitlyn Marchand
At Barton Associates, we value many of the characteristics that student-athletes and anyone with competitive inclinations possess for a number of reasons. Over the years, we’ve found that these character traits are not only common across all athletic candidates, but they’re also key indicators of success in sales! Keep reading to learn why we’ve deemed these six to be some of the most important.

Eagerness to win

For both athletes and salespeople, it’s not enough to just be good at what you do- you always have a desire to be the best of the best. Not only are you competing against other teams or companies, but you are competing within your own to stand out against your teammates as the all-star.

Team mentality

Whether you have 10 teammates on the field, 5 on the ice, 4 on the court, or just 1 as your doubles partner, you understand the importance of being a team player. In sales, you are responsible for your own success, but you’re also collaborating with your team members to complete assignments and boost your collective numbers, so maintaining a team mentality is a must.


Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan once said “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” World-famous athletes don’t throw in the towel after a tough loss or a missed goal-scoring opportunity, and neither do good salesmen. The key to success in sales is being able to accept rejection and move on to the next call without any loss of enthusiasm or drive to close the deal.

‘Quick on your feet'

The ability to to read and react to a situation in a split-second is a key skill that sets apart the good from the great. During a sales call, you need to be able to identify the moment to jump in to finalize a sale, or know when to make a more defensive play so that you don’t lose an important client.

Ability to take constructive criticism

Even world-famous athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James have faced defeat in their lives, which just goes to show that top performers still have room to improve. Your ability to absorb the feedback and criticisms of your coaches is a sought-after skill in the workforce. It’s highly unlikely that your first, or second, or even third sales call will be perfect, so you’ll need to “act like a sponge” and absorb all the feedback you possibly can to maximize your chances of success in the field.

Motivated to set and exceed goals

The concept of goal-setting is transferable to every aspect of life- whether you set personal goals for your weekend, academic goals for your courses, or athletic goals for your upcoming season. In sales, you need to make goals for yourself and follow the goals your manager sets in order to keep up with production. The ability to set reasonable, measurable, and competitive goals will set you apart from those who show up to work without a set means of measuring their daily success.

Well, what are you waiting for? We have 10 offices nationwide- find the one closest to you and kickoff your sales career today!

Find Your Career @ Barton

Choose a location to find a position right for you