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What Ray Allen Taught Me

Ray Allen crop
February 3, 2000

As an aspiring broadcaster I had the opportunity to conduct a post-game interview with Ray Allen following one of his NBA basketball games. At the time, both of us had a lot more hair but a lot less experience in our professions. Ray was in his 4th year as a professional basketball player and I was getting ready to begin my 3rd year as a door-to-door salesman.

My interview couldn’t have went any better. Ray was a true professional throughout and even took time to ask me a few questions about my professional goals and aspirations. I’ve been a huge fan of Ray’s ever since this experience.

Now, over 14 years later, I’m a 17-year veteran in the door-to-door sales industry and Ray has recently completed his 18th NBA season and is currently playing in the NBA Finals attempting to win his 3rd NBA Championship.

In a league where the average playing career is only 4.8 years, Ray has nearly quadrupled this average. How has he done it? What are his secrets? I’ve identified 3 courses of action that he has taken that I believe are the primary reasons for his longevity.

  1. Follows a Regular Routine
  2. Adopts Healthy Habits
  3. Improves through Repetition

Ray implemented a game-day routine a few seasons after being drafted:

  • 11:30am – 1:00pm: Takes a nap
  • 2:30pm: Eats a meal of chicken and white rice
  • 3:45pm: Arrives at the arena
  • 4:30pm: Walks onto the court to go through his shooting routine

Ray says the structure he implemented into his game-day schedule has helped him get into a more consistent rhythm while playing.

As sales reps we all strive for consistency in our production and adopting a regular routine will greatly assist us in achieving this goal. Our routines should have us following a strict daily schedule. Our selling hours, eating schedule and even toilet breaks should be monitored to ensure we are in “rhythm” while in the field.

Ray has also adopted healthy habits that have aided him in having such a lengthy career. In college, Ray recalls eating a cheeseburger before practice and feeling especially sluggish. None of his teammates were feeling more tired than normal so Ray attributed his sluggishness to the cheeseburger. Ever since that experience he has consciously thought about everything he puts into his body.

Being sluggish on the doors is a sure-fire way to limit our production. In fact, not having healthy eating and sleeping habits is made evident if we find ourselves wearing out during the prime selling hours of the day. Our energy should be peaking during primetime. If you find yourself wearing out as the day wears on, I would suggest monitoring your food and liquid intake to ensure you are putting things in your body that will help keep you fresh throughout the entire day. We need to have the same energy on door #1 as we have on door #100.

Ray is the best 3-point shooter in NBA history and is highly insulted when others say his shooting is a, “God-given talent.” He has worked extremely hard to develop the best jump shot in the game. As noted earlier, Ray follows a shooting routine before each game which includes making 5 shots from 5 spots from 5 different distances on the court. He also makes 5 free throws in between each set of shooting. That equates to 150 makes!

Similar to becoming a great shooter, becoming a great salesperson is only achieved through repetition. It’s important to know how many people you are trying to sell each hour (I advise contacting 7 potential customers each hour while knocking doors), how much time you are putting into improving your craft when you are not on the doors (I would advise practicing your approach and reading books about sales…Door-to-Door Millionaire is my personal favorite!) and also giving 100% effort at every sales attempt.

To endure your summer sales experience (or any sales experience for that matter) it is imperative to follow a regular routine, adopt healthy habits and make improvements through repetition. These principles contribute to our overall success and help to maximize our earnings. It’s worked 18 years for Ray Allen and it can work for each of us too.

Thanks for the lessons Ray and good luck in the NBA Finals!