Before you cast this article as dross, hear us out. After all, Dennis Rodman is in the NBA Hall of Fame for a reason - so, cast your judgments aside. Ignore his outrageous appearance and let's focus on what he's accomplished. As you'll see, because of what he's accomplished, he can afford to be and look however he wants. He's earned that. Maybe he can teach us a thing or two about sales too.

When most people hear the name Dennis Rodman, they conjure up images of the bad boy who always seemed to have a different hair color. They think of tattoos, piercings, his marriage to Carmen Electra and many other outrageous aspects that came along with his image. But not everyone is aware of how he came to be one of the greatest rebounders in the NBA.

Humble Beginnings

Rodman was born in 1961 in Trenton, N.J. As a young boy, his father left him, his mother and his two sisters. After his father's departure, it was off to Ft. Worth, Texas where Rodman did not live a storybook life to NBA stardom. He did not use sports as an outlet for his poor, disadvantaged upbringing. Actually, Rodman was only about 5-foot-6 throughout most of his high school years. 

He was not wooed with basketball scholarships by any prestigious colleges. After a late growth spurt that boosted him up to 6-foot-7, Rodman had to settle for starting out his hoops career at Cooke County Junior College in Gainesville, Texas.

Just like Rodman, it does not matter where salespeople start their careers. What matters is where they finish. There is no script for success, which is why it is always necessary to alter and adjust a sales pitch. One way to accomplish that over and over again is to become a critical thinker. 

Such a mindset will allow salespeople to challenge what they see and do every day. Critical thinking will also open up your mind to recognizing your own bias. If there is a hang-up or bump in the road, try to to see things from beyond your own perspective. Look at the situation from that of the client, prospect or co-worker. It could open up a whole new realm of possibilities. 

Considering consequences during the decision-making process is also a huge benefit that comes with critical thinking. Map out all the possible responses to each potential decision you make while going through the sales process. These kinds of mental gymnastics could do a wealth of good when it comes to propelling you from humble beginnings to high levels of sales success.

The Worm

Rodman earned the nickname 'The Worm' early in his life because he could never sit still. It was also used by his mother because of the way he used to wiggle around when he was playing pinball. The nickname suited Rodman in the NBA as he became one of the league's leading rebounders by constantly staying on the move. He finished his career with an average of 13.1 rebounds per game and is the 23rd leading rebounder in NBA history. Much of that was due to the fact that he was always on the go.

Sales reps can take a page out of Rodman's book. Staying active over the course of a workday can lead to paramount levels of success. Active in this sense does not mean going for an afternoon jog or taking a morning spin class. Active means always retaining a sense of urgency. That urgency helps sales reps to keep interacting with clients and prospects. The more clients you see, the more sales you can make.

But it takes more to close a sale than just being active. It also takes an active approach. That comes from developing the right sales strategies to use on the right customers. Don't just rely on one kind of sales technique or a series of basic sales pitches.

Getting to know each customer will make it easier to come up with an appropriate sales strategy. There is always a right sales technique for every client. Sales reps just have to find that technique. That will not happen if a sales rep is not constantly on the move, interacting with current and potential clients. 

So get out there and keep on learning more about clients and prospects. The more information you gather, the better chance you will have of upping your sales numbers by implementing the right strategies.

The Fundamentals of success

Many people followed Rodman's career because his life became outrageously fascinating. Even now that he is retired, he's been attempting to assist in basketball initiatives in North Korea, not the most common post-NBA activity. What he did and what he continues to do off the basketball court captivates the public's attention.

However, that is not what made him great.

There was a hunger instilled in Rodman early on, a hunger that came with the frustration of having to work as a janitor right out of high school. He then struggled with schoolwork, something that attempted to derail his hoop dreams until he righted the ship at the small school of Southeastern Oklahoma State. That was long before the glitz and glamour of the NBA.

In sales, many professionals dream of the glitz and glamour that comes with success. But that has nothing to do with the formula for success. Going back to basics is something every sales rep should do every week. No matter how much success has come your way, you are never too accomplished to practice the basics.

Rodman grabbed many rebounds by simply boxing out, an elementary part of basketball. Sales reps can continue to close deals with the elementary fundamental of focusing on the customer. Don't waste time talking about your own success or the benefits of the product you are selling. Maintain your perspective so that it is aligned with that of the customer. 

It is also important to remember what you are selling. You may be the one doing the selling and there may be a product or services that you are trying to persuade others to buy. However, successful salespeople sell something else entirely. They sell solutions. 

Providing specific solutions to problems that are clearly defined is a basic game plan for success. Follow those fundamentals and you too could become a Dennis Rodman of your sales world.

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