Are Football Watchers Better Salespeople?
By Voss Graham
Each year brings new excitement for every football fan. Maybe this
year we will win it all. Enthusiasm and spirits are running high –
just like the beginning of a new year for a sales team. This year
will be the year everything comes together and we beat our
competition and move up the market share rankings.
feelings of excitement and optimism are great – the reality of the
season kicks in at some point. College football fans can feel the
highs of victory and the lows of defeat. Playing a good game is not
enough – as every sales person knows – second place is not victory.
As a college
football junkie, er, fan, watching TV during football season is a
requirement for living. One day after eight hours of continuous
game viewing, a question was posed – “What can a person learn or
gain from all of this college football?”
At first, all the
defensive answers would run through one’s mind – like blitzing
linebackers, fast and furious. Then calmer thoughts and self
directed questions begin to flow. After several hours of reflection
and honest self evaluation, an announcement was made: “Honey,
watching college football is making me a better salesperson!”
Without supporting facts, this was a brave announcement. Therefore,
here are seven points taken from years of watching football and
applying the lessons of the great programs. The seven points are as
As a salesperson,
preparation gets you ready to make the sale and win the account’s
business. Always have a call plan, account plans and a personal
business plan in place to reference. Anticipation is critical in
your account relationships, knowing more about your customers gives
you the advantage. Also, selling, just like college football is a
year round activity. Do the little things today than win the big
Practice as perfect as you can, then you can deal with
actual situations with confidence. Losers believe practice is for
someone else. Then while face to face with a decision maker they do
not execute at a high level. Learn and practice the winning
techniques – it’s your choice to be a winner.
3. Goals: Know what you want and figure out what it will take to get
you there. Winners take their goals and break them down into
measurable units. Knowing what has to be done gives you an
advantage over the “wing it” crowd. Another area to examine your
goals regarding measurements is similar to having an offensive and
defensive game plan in football. A defensive plan is about retaining
your existing customer base – how do you keep your best customers?
An offensive game plan would be directed at selecting target
customers and identifying how to win these accounts.
4. Teamwork: Even in the world of selling, teamwork counts. Each person
on your team has an assignment. When assignments are executed
without flaws – winning is enhanced. Poor execution by a team leads
to failure – others win. Sales teams have several areas to improve
teamwork. First is the alignment with the marketing team so that a
consistent message or position is presented to your customers and
prospects. Another area of necessary teamwork is between their
manufacturing and distribution teams. These areas need excellent
teamwork with each group executing at the highest levels to gain
5. Adversity: The true sign of greatness in both sales and football is
how adversity is dealt with at anytime. Adversity is a tool for
building character and challenges you to perform at the highest
levels. Most losers believe adversity comes only to hinder their
performance and results. The best teams use adversity as a motivator
to improve their performance. Winners understand the importance of
getting better and avoiding complacency.
6. Focus: Winning football programs focus only on the next opponent.
Winning salespeople focus 100% on the customer they are working with
at the moment. In fact, these sales people are completely focused
on learning more about the customer and their issues. Losing sales
people are thinking about their commission, their tee time, who is
possibly calling their call phone, what are they going to say next,
everything except their customer. Be a winner and focus on your
7. Proactive: Be aggressive in our actions and remember sales is a
contact sport. The losers react to customers rather that
consistently making a proactive effort to become “top of mind” to
their customers. Set the pace and make your competitors play to
your strengths. The best teams set the pace and execute their plan
everything in life is associated to learning. Be a lifetime learner
and you will be employable for a lifetime. So enjoy watching your
football games on TV or in person, then make the association to what
creates a winning program, sales person or leader. Then choose the
course that takes you to the top – every year.
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