“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” — Ernest Hemmingway
Thirty-three drivers, 200 laps, and 500,000 attendees. There’s simply no race in the world quite like the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500). Held every spring at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Intelisys Sales Partners Onward Communications, ROI Communications and Global Communication Networks and the channel will be represented in the 2018 race on May 27. As the indirect channel grows and the world at large begins to recognize it an excellent way for business customers to find solutions, Intelisys Sales Partners are leading the way for the transformation.
That car happens to belong to the famed Andretti Autosport’s team. And the man behind the helm of the wheel? Twenty-eight-year-old Stefan Wilson. Stefan will be driving in car No. 25, otherwise known as Driven2SaveLives — a homage to Stefan’s brother Justin Wilson. Back in 2015, the elder Wilson, also an IndyCar driver, died in a crash on the Pocono Raceway.
As a registered organ donor, Justin’s death meant saving the lives of five donor recipients. His decision to donate, says Stefan, was true to his brother’s selfless nature. So, on May 27th, he’ll be riding to continue Justin’s work by raising awareness about becoming a registered organ donor.
Stefan’s journey to the seat of an Intelisys and Sales Partners Onward Communications, ROI Communications and Global Communication Networks co-sponsored car came to be following a chance encounter with Intelisys Co-Founder Rick Sheldon.
I recently sat down with Stefan and Rick to hear more about their initial meeting and the lessons that races like the Indy 500 can give to Sales Partners and their businesses.
A Relationship Born on The Track
Every business, at its core, is a very human affair. From internal politics to customer relations, almost every facet of a business depends on the interaction of humans. The best salespeople know this well.
They also know that most humans favor doing business with humans they like — and as such put time into cultivating strong relationships.
Which is exactly what led to Rick’s and Stefan’s relationship.
Brought together by a chance encounter on the 2017 Indy 500 track infield, Rick and Stefan struck an instant connection. Rick, in particular, was impressed by Stefan’s humble, positive, and confident nature.
Shortly after the event, Rick tracked Stefan down and the two kept in contact. Eventually, when it came time, Rick knew Stefan was the perfect representative to highlight the indirect channel.
Driving Is Only 10% of the Work
Sure, race day is where the glitz and glory lives, but it’s what happens outside of those races that truly defines a driver.
From race planning and mechanics to networking for sponsorship, a driver’s success is linked directly to how closely he (or she) is willing to hustle. So much so that Stefan estimates that up to 90% of his work occurs before he actual hops into his car.
The same holds true in the world of sales.
While success is ultimately defined by sales volume, it’s the hustle that happens before those sales that truly counts. If you’re a salesperson, you know exactly what I’m talking about — the countless phone calls and meetings, road trips, conferences, dinners, pitches, and so on.
In isolation, many of these tasks may seem insignificant. But just like fine-tuning an IndyCar, attention to each is critical to pushing across the sales finish line.
Race Fair, Sell Fair
The Indy 500, like any IndyCar race, is inherently dangerous. With speeds of over 230 miles per hour, Indy racing leaves very little margin for error.
Due to its extreme conditions, Indy racing naturally cultivates a culture of camaraderie amongst its drivers. Unlike Nascar racing, where drivers often notoriously and intentionally bump their cars into each other, the same is rarely seen amongst Indy racers.
Instead, Stefan says, most Indy drivers operate by the unwritten code to race fair. Racing fair keeps everyone safe and gives everyone a chance to succeed.
And the same can be said in the world of sales. While IT and telecom sales is a highly-competitive field, opportunities are not scarce. In fact, there’s an abundance of opportunity out there.
With that in mind, there’s rarely a reason to undercut and steal customers from a competitor. In fact, that sort of approach will likely only earn a seller a bad reputation.
Like the world of racing, it’s the salespeople who sell fair who will get ahead in the long-run.
Catch Rick and Stefan’s full interview over on the podcast. Also be sure to tune in on May 27th to catch Stefan racing in car No. 25 LIVE at Indy 500. He’s racing for Intelisys Sales Partners and the channel–and we couldn’t be more excited.