When it comes to the game of football, many people measure success by how many touchdowns a player scored or how many tackles they have made. However, there are some college football players who have used their success on the gridiron to pave the way towards bigger and better things. This path is one that sales reps can follow as they chart their own course of success.

A selfless approach

Former NFL standout Warrick Dunn is best known for winning 1997 NFL Offensive rookie of the year, being named to three Pro Bowls and enjoying 12 years in the NFL as a speedy and productive running back. What people may not know is Dunn's greatest success has not come on the football field.

At the age of 18, Dunn's mother, who was a Baton Rouge police officer, was shot and killed. Dunn would go onto to enroll at Florida State shortly thereafter. He began playing football on a full scholarship while also caring for his five younger brothers and sisters. Florida State would go on to win the national championship that year, while Dunn was just shy of gaining 1,000 yards from scrimmage.

Dunn later became the 12th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, and he immediately used his position to start helping others. He started Warrick Dunn Charities which initiated a program called 'Homes for the Holidays.' This program helps single parents become first-time homeowners. Since its inception, the charity has been able to put 145 families in new homes of their very own. The idea was brought to life by Dunn's mother's, who had the dream of one day owning her own home. 

Dunn would later say in his book, Running for my Life, "Because I have been able to build a reputation as a talented player, I have been able to build futures. Because I am able to play, I am able to make a difference. Because I have been blessed with a talent, I also have been given a responsibility."

It turned out that college football was just a stepping stone for Dunn to do even greater things with his life.

Successful sales reps can follow Dunn's lead and take on the responsibility of giving back. Becoming involved with charity work not only offers its own heartfelt rewards, it also extends a sales rep's network and visibility. From a business perspective, it provides sales reps with an opportunity to endear themselves to prospects as their affiliation with charity will only enhance their credibility and help to establish trust. 

However, there are other lessons to be learned. Dunn's motivation has always been selfless and sales reps who take on that kind of approach can also climb the corporate ladder of success. Taking time out to help co-workers in different areas is something that does not go unnoticed. Successful sales managers are usually the ones who are able to convey their selfless sales style to their teams. So sales reps who are looking for an eventual promotion can benefit themselves by learning to be a selfless team member. It will benefit others, the business, but most of all, themselves.

Changing Expectations

Prior to becoming a wrestling icon and nationally recognized movie star, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was a division 1 college football player at the University of Miami. He was not very heavily recruited out of Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he is father relocated when Johnson was a junior. 

From there, Johnson would go on to play four years at Miami and was part of the 1991 national championship team. Back then, Johnson was not known as 'The Rock'. His nickname was 'Dewey' and although he only started one game at Miami, he managed to finish his college career with 77 tackles and four quarterback sacks. He also played on a defensive line that featured NFL great Warren Saap. At the time, Johnson was a role player on one of the most dominant teams in college football. 

It turned out that playing pro football was not in the cards for Johnson. But he did come from a family of professional wrestlers. His father and grandfather excelled in the sport, so that gave him a bit of an in. However, it was shining in the college football spotlight that started to propel Johnson to super stardom. 

Changing expectations is a lesson sales reps can learn from Johnson's journey. Johnson's original expectations of playing in the NFL were never realized, although that did not mean his future would not be a bright one. Sales reps also need to learn how to change their expectations instead of waiting for a sales manager to do it for them. It is always important to remember that is behavior is what produces results. Modifying sales tactics to coincide with customer needs is just another way of altering what you can expect from a sale. The sales process is a fluid one and expectations should be as well.

Entire sales teams can also develop attainable expectations. Those overall expectations are helped by actual individuals. Sales reps can convey to sales managers exactly what they expect from them. It does not always have to be the other way around. When sales managers know what is expected of them, it helps the day-to-day operations run much more effectively. Establishing those expectations cannot be done without ongoing communication, another trait that enables entire sales teams to be more successful. 

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