📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Work the Cut to Win in Both the Ring and in Sales Always going for a knockout is a losing strategy. The pros know that little moves build up to success.

By John Brubaker Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A lot of boxing fans were disappointed in what was billed as the fight of the century last weekend: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao.

The fight went the distance with Mayweather winning a unanimous decision. Fans were looking for a knockout -- the two boxers weren't. What great fighters know is that the way to win the fight is to do what boxing trainers call "work the cut." They don't try to simply throw that one big knockout punch, what they do is they throw jabs and try to cut their opponent's face. Then they spend the remaining rounds "working the cut" to make the eye swell shut. That's when a knockout opportunity may come.

Related: Knockout Personal Branding Strategies From Mayweather and Pacquiao

Working the cut is a great metaphor for sales. Like boxing, sales is about persistence, discipline and defeating your own emotions. Working the cut is the key to sales success while simply looking for the proverbial knockout is the key to failure. Working the cut in sales is about staying the course, working your process and not deviating from your game plan when you're being attacked. You have to keep making contact, communicating and following up with prospects after hearing the dreaded word "no."

Amazingly, the overwhelming majority of sales are made after five follow up calls. They are made by folks who embrace working the cut. Working the cut in sales is about adopting a "buy or die" mentality. In other words, call on the prospect until they either buy from you or die of old age.

Why is this imperative? In my experience training sales teams and listening to my coaching clients speak about their vendors, the persistence of working the cut does two things:

1. It translates into the decision-maker having confidence in the sales person's ability.

2. The harder you have to work to land a client, the harder they are to lose. (Remember, most of your competition will quit trying to pry that business away from you before the fifth call.)

Related: 6 Ways to Overcome Your Reluctance to Sell

Most sales people quit because they can't handle the rejection and don't embrace the grind of the process of selling. They've bought into the myth of overnight success or that the job should be easy. In reality, overnight success is thousands of nights in the making and you should expect winning business to get harder, not easier, just like a fight gets tougher in the later rounds.

Your emotions are a lousy leader. They tell you to quit when life hits you hard and you get tired. The little voice in your head tries to make you think you're the only one going through a tough time. When we let our emotions hijack our decisions, we are more apt to quit. Then the only reward is living with regret.

It's about persevering through the unglamorous activities that lead to the glamorous result. Mayweather threw 435 punches and only landed 148. The cumulative effect of those 435 was a $180 million-dollar pay day. Ignore your emotions and keep working the cut.

For more game changing strategies to turn your potential into performance, join my free weekly newsletter.

Related: Tony Robbins: Money Lessons From Boxer 'Money' Mayweather

John Brubaker

Performance Consultant, Speaker & Award-Winning Author

John Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, Coach Bru helps organizations and individuals turn their potential into performance.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Starting a Business

I Wish I Knew These Four Things Before Starting My Own Business

Starting a business is hard work to say the least. These are four lessons I wish someone had shared with me before going solo, so I'm here to share them with you.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Resumes & Interviewing

Find Jobs Easier with This AI Resume Builder on Sale for $90

Canyon Pro features automated resume writing, application autofilling, and more helpful tools for finding a job.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Science & Technology

Brand New GPT-4o Revealed: 3 Mind Blowing Updates and 3 Unexpected Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Unveiling OpenAI's GPT-4.0: The latest AI with vision, auditory, and emotional intelligence abilities is revolutionizing industries. How will it affect your business?

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.