I live in Denver so Bronco fans are excited as the team starts off a winning season. In full disclosure, I need to share that I am not a diehard football fan. However, I am a diehard for helping sales teams flawlessly execute the plays that help them win business.
Studying and duplicating the best practices of athletic teams will make you a better salesperson or sales team.
For example, a football team goes to the huddle, the quarterback calls the play, the team breaks and executes. None of the players are asking, “Now, how do we do that?” I wonder how many sales teams could get in a huddle, have the sales manager state an objection, break and have every salesperson execute an appropriate response. There is probably a good chance of a sales fumble at this time.
When you fumble in your response, there is a loss of credibility in your answer. The prospect can’t help but wonder if you are making up the answer or just really don’t know your stuff. And with all the choices out there, why would a prospect want to buy from a salesperson that isn’t prepared?
So what can you do to prevent fumbles and achieve more ‘sales touchdowns?’
First, don’t reinvent the wheel. Study outstanding performers and duplicate their approach to mastery. You will find that most mastery is achieved through basic blocking and tackling.
#1: Practice with feedback. Quit whining about how you dislike participating in role plays. Practice in front of someone besides your prospect! Research shows that there is more rapid improvement in skill development when you have immediate feedback on what you did well and where you can improve. Perfect practice becomes even more perfect when you have someone observing and helping you perfect your approach.
#2: Hang with people better than you. The late Jim Rohn, business philosopher, had a great quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Who is the top salesperson on your team? If it’s not you, spend a few dollars, take this individual to lunch and do brain surgery. Get inside of his/her head and figure out exactly what they say and do that creates sustainable sales success. Chances are you will find they are organized, disciplined and do all the things that normal people don’t want to do.
#3: Be honest with yourself. How bad do you want to get better? What are you willing to do to earn the reward of higher commissions? Years ago I heard Ed McCaffrey, a three time Super Bowl Champion, speak at an event. He is a good speaker and one of the many take-aways I remember from his talk was the sacrifice that went into being the best in his profession.
For him, it was watching what he ate every day and training during the off-season to be ready for prime season. Are you willing to give up an evening of TV to study your craft? Do you train on your own time or only during meetings with your sales manager?
Have fun watching your favorite sports team. And while you are watching, think about what it takes to be a professional in sports and in sales.