Practice? Allen Iverson was wrong!!

In Allen Iverson’s infamous 2002 rant, he said “We’re talking about practice…” 17 times in just 1 minute and 39 seconds.  If you haven’t seen the video, it is embedded below. (Just click the picture of Allen to watch.) Allen attempted to minimize the fact that he had missed a practice by saying that he always answered the bell when the game was being played.  Allen claimed that he understood that he was supposed to be a role model for his team mates and lead by example. But he also intimated that HE didn’t need to practice anymore…. That he had arrived.  Allen was dead wrong, and so are you if you think you can skip “practice” and just turn it on during the game.

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Malcolm Gladwell suggested in his book Outliers that to get world-class at something it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice/performance. I’m sure Allen has his 10,000 hours in, but to stay world-class you must continue to work on building your skills.  As anyone who has been stupid enough to take up the game of golf will tell you, you can’t work on your swing/game while PLAYING golf.  You must pay the price on the practice range.

Get Outliers by clicking on the cover below: 

What I have found is that to get really good at sales, (not world class quite yet) it takes approximately 100 hours of focused practice.  Practice beyond the sales school your carrier sends you to.  Practice beyond the reading and sales seminars you attend.  Practice beyond the role playing you do at your Monday Morning Meetings. So how do you spend those 100 hours practicing?  Here is my suggestion.


Tim’s “100” Practice Tips

  • Practice your Gate Keeper/Decision Maker approach 100 times.
    • Out loud!
    • In front of a mirror.
    • Go through every objection/rebuttal every time.
    • After every 20 times, practice it with your sales manager. Get their feedback.
    • Keep a tally sheet and don’t cheat.
    • If you spend 10 minutes each time this will take you just under 17 hours. 
  • Practice you Decision Maker presentation 100 times.
    • Out loud!
    • In front of a mirror.
    • Go through every objection/rebuttal every time.
    • After every 20 times, practice it with your sales manager. Get their feedback.
    • Keep a tally sheet and don’t cheat.
    • If you spend 20 minutes each time this will take you just under 34 hours.
  • Practice the presentation you make to a group of Employees 100 times.
    • Out loud – In front of a mirror.
    • Go through every objection/rebuttal every time.
    • After every 20 times, practice it with your sales manager. Get their feedback.
    • Keep a tally sheet and don’t cheat.
    • If you spend 20 minutes each time this will take you just under 34 hours.
  • Practice your one-on-one enrollment presentation 100 times.
    • Out loud – In front of a mirror.
    • Go through every objection/rebuttal every time.
    • After every 20 times, practice it with your sales manager. Get their feedback.
    • Keep a tally sheet and don’t cheat.
    • If you spend 10 minutes each time this will take you just under 17 hours.

Total time spent? 102 hours.


I guarantee that if you will follow this plan, your 20th presentation will look dramatically better than your 2nd.  And your 63rd won’t even resemble your 20th. By the time you practice each section 100 times, you will be an All-Star!

Unless of course you don’t think you need to practice.  Allen Iverson didn’t think he needed it.  Maybe that’s why the only time Allen played in a NBA finals (2001), his Philadelphia 76ers got nearly swept (4-1) by the L.A. Lakers.  He never won a ring.


Conclusion: “We’re talking about practice man?” Yes!!!! You might want to consider paying the price…. Or get swept…. out of your sales career…..

Question: What are you doing to get better today? Leave your answer in the comments above, or just hit reply on your email program right now!!!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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