February 7, 2012

Simple Sales Lessons from the Super Bowl: Play the Game!

I love the NFL. My boys and I are rabid fans and each of us is the commissioner of our respective fantasy football leagues. The NFL is masterful at marketing its product. NFL.com, the NFL Network, and the ADD fan’s best friend, the RedZone Channel, are all incredible.

But as much as I love all the hype, the nine hour Super Bowl Pregame Show on NFL Network was absurd. There are only so many story lines, so many ways to talk about the big game, the rematch, Eli’s legacy vs. Peyton’s, Eli vs. Brady, Belichick the Genius, and so on. Even I had to turn it off. Enough already.

It made me think about sales reps who are always talking about what they are going to do. Talk, talk, talk. Lots of theorizing and pontificating. Too many in sales prefer talking over selling. I am sure many reading this are immediately picturing the big-talking, under-achieving salesperson they know.

Stop talking and lace up your cleats. Buckle your chin strap and take the field. Get off the bench and into the game. Run a play. Go hit someone. Translation: Send that email. Get on Linkedin. Sure, review your sales story, but then do something important with it like picking up the phone. Dial. Connect. Demonstrate value and ask for the meeting. When told no, ask again. And one more time. Get in front of your target accounts. Good things happen when a talented salesperson gets in front strategically selected prospects. And nothing happens when a salesperson sits around surfing the web, pretending that he’s prospecting and making proactive calls.

One more quick lesson from the Super Bowl: Stop fearing the competition and play the game! Prepare then go out and execute flawlessly. The Giants were not supposed to win. They were 9-7 in the regular season. No 9-7 team ever won a Super Bowl before. They were up against the mad genius coach of the Patriots. I heard it all week, “No one is going to beat Belichick three times in a row. The Giants won the last time they met in the Super Bowl and also during the season back in November. There is no way the Patriots will lose to the Giants again.” Tom Brady this, Tom Brady that.

Guess what folks? The Giants beat Belichick the mad genius, Tom Brady and Patriots on the field. So next time you find yourself up against a really tough competitor, don’t listen to the naysayers telling you can’t win the deal. Prepare harder, think bigger, play smarter. If the favorite won every battle there would be no reason to play the game.

Stop acting like an endless pregame show and go play the game!