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Selling Lessons of John Wooden

Tom Ninness
Jun 13, 2010

John Wooded is regarded as the most successful coach in sports history. Wooden had 12 NCAA final four appearances resulting in 10 championship wins. Wooden also has an amazing 81.4% overall winning percentage including 88 consecutive victories. Just think if you closed 80% of the opportunities that came your way? John Wooden’s principles of success drove his life and those lessons transferred over into everything that he did including his coaching. “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” --Coach John Wooden Business and Sales Lessons from John Wooden From the research I did on John Wooden, if we practice these concepts, I believe that we will be more successful in our life and business. Above is Wooden’s pyramid which he completed in 1948. Wooden says that even though he had new ideas about the pyramid throughout the years, the cornerstones—industriousness and enthusiasm have always remained constant. But he added that the strongest part of the pyramid for his coaching experience was condition, skill and team spirit. Here are some of Wooden’s teachings that we can take to our business. 1. It’s about the fundamentals. “I’m not going to be talking to you about winning or losing because I think that’s a byproduct of our preparation. I would much rather be focused on the process of becoming the best team we’re capable of becoming.” Coach John Wooden My wife Pam got to hear John speak at Pepperdine University when he was 92. I asked Pam what story Coach Wooden shared that impacted her and it was about how he coached his basketball players the proper way of putting on a pair of socks so that they wouldn’t get blisters. Talk about practicing the fundamentals. Practicing the fundamentals of our business—the simple act of how we answer our phone, prospecting, studying our programs, products, changes in the industry, etc…. taking time daily practicing the fundamentals will allow us to become masters of our profession. 2. Build the best teams. Whether you are part of a team or you are a one-man self employed business owner, it’s important to surround yourself with the best people and those skilled in their area of expertise. 3. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Before going to any appointment, meeting or opportunity you need to gather as much information about the situation as possible. The big thing that Coach Wooden preached regarding this point was that his teams focus on themselves and do what they do best. 4. Don’t mistake activity with achievement. So many of us spend too much time on the computer, returning emails, wasting time on the phone, chasing dead leads—working on what’s immediate as opposed to what is truly the important activities that will give us the return of our time, talent and treasures. 5. Make your yes mean yes. Be a person of integrity. When you say you will do something—do it. Stand up and become accountable of your actions. 6. Take account of your personal image. You only have one chance for a first impression. When I interview loan officers, one of the first things I look at is their shoes to see if they are clean and polished. I know this sounds silly, but it’s important for my reps to look their best. Clients now “Google” our name before they hire us. What will they find about you and the personal brand that you have created for yourself? 7. Be true to yourself and follow your dreams. If you don’t have goals then you are fulfilling somebody else’ goals. Take time to write out your goals and the actions to complete them. 93% of those who write out their goals and dreams will complete them. Make that your action plan for this week that you will block out time and write out or review your goals—look for the gaps that are keeping you from fulfilling your desires and make a commitment to yourself that you will get these items done. These are just a few lessons that coach and teacher John Wooden lived and passed on to those that he coached. John was a man who lived and walked his talk. Thank you John for the great life lessons you left us. Tom Ninness is the Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, go to: or contact Tom at [email protected] Office: 303-840-0753.
Jun 13, 2010