Olympic athletes perform amazing feats of skill and daring. But they weren’t born knowing how to do them. They developed their abilities with commitment, hard work and practice. Many also use a psychological tool called “imagery,” or “visioning,” to help them succeed. It’s a tool you can apply to help achieve your dreams, too.
Visioning is also a term used by businesses. BusinessDictionary.com defines visioning as a “Mental process in which images of the desired future (goals, objectives, outcomes) are made intensely real and compelling to act as motivators …”
In sports, the practice of simulating competition mentally has been around for a long time. According to an article by New York Times reporter Christopher Clary, four-time Olympic discus champion Al Oerter and tennis star Billie Jean King were among the athletes who used this tool in the 1960s.
Virtanza founder and CEO Debbie Holzkamp is a former competitive figure skater who first became a successful salesperson, then sales manager, then top sales executive. She spent years coaching others to envision positive outcomes, picture themselves being successful, and achieve their desired goals.
AN INSPIRED VISION
This lifelong experience as a successful competitor inspired Holzkamp with the vision for Virtanza. The academy’s sales training and job placement assistance program is designed to fit a twofold need: (1) Give employers the qualified salespeople they need to fill their open sales positions, and (2) Give people with a natural affinity for sales the opportunity to learn selling skills and get hired.
Career opportunity 411: there are millions of sales jobs sitting vacant, and millions of people who want a better future who just need the right boost to get there.
“Once I thoroughly understood the problem, and after many months of determining a product market fit, I could imagine many people who might not have the experience or training to learn the skills and show an employer they can do the job,” Holzkamp says.
Her vision continues: “I also imagine a village of people helping to create the school and establishing a network of employers to bring millions of people into a profession where they can thrive in life and with higher-paying income.”
Then Holzkamp brings it all together: “Last, I imagine a world in which employers can connect with our graduates to find the most perfectly matched group of people for their sales career pathways, so their companies can thrive and grow their client sales.”
Fulfillment of Holzkamp’s vision starts with the Virtanza program. It’s a 5-week, instructor-led, virtual sales training course. Like Olympic athletes, students learn sales skills from instructors and then practice them in real-life situations. On videotape. Students prepare, they practice, they pitch, they get good, they pitch again, and they get better. They envision success in displaying their new skills, and they achieve it.
Graduates who successfully complete the course earn certification as Professional Sales Consultants. Then, Virtanza coaches assist during their active job search. This includes resume and cover letter assistance as well as practice interviews with the tough questions recruiters ask.
Be like those athletes who perform amazing feats of skill and daring.
Envision yourself with a solid set of sales skills getting ready to call on an important client. You have a job you love with a great company. You have personalized business cards. You carry a leather portfolio or briefcase. You have a firm, confident handshake and a friendly smile. You know the client’s business and market, and you know how to get her the results she wants.
You’re a Virtanza graduate. And you’re ready to win.
Author Ibby Vores, SHRM-SCP, is part of the supportive team of instructors at Virtanza. She’s a senior certified HR professional recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. Ibby teaches resume writing and cover letter skills. She also coaches Virtanza graduates on interpersonal effectiveness for successful job interviews.