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3 Lessons Every Sales Person Can Learn From “The Karate Kid”

I was watching one of my all time favourite films, “The Karate Kid” this weekend and the film can of course teach everyone some great lessons in life but I realised that these lessons can also be applied to sales. I believe, taking inspiration from “The Karate Kid” can lead to great sales success.
“But how?” You must be thinking. Read on to find out!


The first lesson every sales person can learn from “The Karate Kid” is of course, discipline. If you can remember the film, Mr. Miyagi begins training Daniel to fight by making him complete repetitive tasks which, seemingly to Daniel, have nothing to do with karate. Daniel becomes frustrated, thinking that Mr. Miyagi isn’t training him and almost gives up. Then the famous “Wax on, wax off” scene comes and Mr. Miyagi proves to Daniel that the menial tasks he has been completing, has in fact brought him closer to achieving his goal of learning to fight.


If you can set yourself tasks every week and make sure you do everything in your power to complete them, you will learn great discipline and eventually these tasks will become habit. Tasks like:
  • Practicing sales scripts
  • Putting together objection outlines
  • Making prospecting calls on a daily basis
Each of these tasks are guaranteed to help you get better results as a sales person. By practicing your sales scripts on a daily basis, whilst it may seem like a tedious exercise, it will greatly improve your delivery and ensure you sound authentic to your prospects. Putting together objection outlines, will prepare you to deal with all kinds of objections when these come up as they will do. Making prospecting calls on a daily basis, will eventually pay off, because the more calls you make, the more chance you have of reaching your sales targets. Mr Miyagi knew that without the key disciplines being second nature to Daniel, he would not win the fight and the same applies to you with your sales work. Discipline is just one of the many important lessons every sales person can learn and with every menial task you complete, you’re learning and developing your skills often without realising, just like Daniel-San.


The second lesson every sales person can learn from the film is perseverance and to never give up. In the final fight scene, Daniel after has been knocked down numerous times, his opponent purposely injures him. Daniel could have given up then, but he fights through the pain and the knock backs and wins with a strong, final kick and completes his goal.


In sales, it’s inevitable that you’ll have knockbacks from prospects saying they’re not interested or your product isn’t for them and it would be easy to put down the phone and not make any more calls for the rest of the day because it feels like a waste of your time. But if you gave up at the first hurdle, you wouldn’t get anywhere and certainly wouldn’t reach your goal of converting more prospects into customers. You have to show strength of character like Daniel-San and an unwavering determination and resilience to not accept defeat and give up.


The final lesson that every sales person can learn from “The Karate Kid” is to learn from a mentor. Mr. Miyagi saves Daniel from the bullies early on in the film and Daniel seizes the opportunity to learn from Miyagi. From then on, Miyagi is by Daniel’s side, teaching him the skills he needs to achieve his goal of beating the bullies. Daniel is guided by Miyagi, absorbs his knowledge and commits to his lessons. Without Mr. Miyagi, Daniel-San would remain at the hands of the bullies and certainly wouldn’t have won the fight.


A sales mentor will pass on their knowledge, skills and advice in the same way Mr. Miyagi passed his onto Daniel. They will hold you accountable to complete ‘menial’ tasks like ‘wax on, wax off’ (or making daily prospecting calls!), they’ll teach you invaluable disciplines and they will push you to achieve your goals and reach your sales targets.
Would Daniel have won the competition without Mr Miyagi being there? We all know the answer is no and so if you want to achieve more within your sales battles then look at how a mentor can help you learn new skills and give you the backing and support to achieve incredible results.


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James White
James White
James White is the UK's leading prospect conversion expert. He understands what it takes to convert leads into real business within the modern digital era and what it takes to achieve business success.
James White

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