Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do you Sell like Football or Football?


I have been watching the European Football championships.  I like soccer, which is what we in America call what the rest of the world calls Football. Fun game, lots of setting up and them flashes of action when headed to the goal, trying to put the ball in the twine. 

I also like Football, by that I mean American Football which is a cross between rugby and rollerball. Football is a sport of plans and plays to drive the length of the field for a score with the pigskin. So when you sell, do you sell like Football, or Football?

Everyone has a sales style. Created or evolved, you have one. So is it more like Football (Soccer) or Football? Let me see if I can help you understand. Oh, I know these are not all inclusive and I’m taking a lot of license here… 

Soccer is a game that many Americans find boring, they miss the fluid strategy and on the fly decision making (often called being clever by announcers) that setup exciting scoring opportunities. One on one a goalie has little chance in stopping a striker from scoring. There are few times when the other 10 players on the pitch allow a one on one opportunity. In order to score, a player must use his teammates to move the ball into position, sometimes passing it backwards, giving up distance to get a better angle. All of this happens on the fly, no time to stop and make a plan. You have to really know your teammates to make it work.

Trying a Clever move...


Football is a game that gets an Americans blood pumping. Baseball may be America’s Pastime, Football is America’s Lust. In Football, Plans are made to move the ball forward. You know you have 4 attempts to move the ball at least 10 yards to get another set of 4 downs to keep moving the ball forward. It is less important to make decisions on the fly, if the right play was called against the defense. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to get done. Pound the ball up the middle, as Ohio State Football coach Woody Hayes said, 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Football is a team sport, if you don’t do your assigned task, the play fails and you might lose the game.

This is a tackle..

So is your sales process well defined and documented? Do you have a plan when you start? Know how you are going to leverage your team and what roles they need to play? Looking to move the process forward each time you have a prospect touch? Are you able to project sales from your pipeline? If so, your sales process is like American Football.

If your process didn’t match the one above, is it less defined? Is your process ad hoc? Does everyone do everything? Do your sales linger a long time? Do you shy away from “hard” questions? Do you have a hard time generating sales projections? If these match, you sell more like Soccer.

Now I’m not saying one is better than another, they are two different sports and two different sales processes. If you sell like Football, you will maximize your time with the prospects and allow you to handle more sales. If you sell like Soccer, you will win deals that the Football salesperson would have given up on or lost due to their style. 

The most important thing is to know your style and to make the most of it so you don’t end up in a Nil to Nil game.