Sales call lesson from the NFL

Sales call lessons from the NFL

Week 1 of the NFL is behind us … teams busily are preparing for Week 2.  One point from the world of football that caught our eye came from George Wilson, team captain and strong safety for the Buffalo Bills. He shared, “People think we just throw the football around and play the game. They don’t get to see the student side of the game. The game is 90% mental and 10% physical.” This explains why Wilson is attached to his iPad.

With an iPad Wilson can immediately download footage from a game in less than an hour after it’s played – “replaying the game” to see what he did well, what plays were left out there on the field and what he can do better next time.

It strikes us that these same inquiries apply equally well to the world of sales. We all know successful selling isn’t just talking to a customer and closing a deal. As with football, there is a “student side” of the game.

Taking an after the fact look at the game applies to sales calls, too.   After leaving a call, sales people focus on what needs to be done to advance the sale. This certainly is critical – yet too many sales reps stop here, neglecting to assess what went right and what didn’t during the sales call. What might they do differently if they could do the call all over again?  Are there some next steps that need to be taken?

When debriefing a call too many sales reps focus just on a single “play” (like did they get the advance) rather than reviewing the sales call to determine whether or not there was a more effective way to play the game. In these situations, Wilson would say sales people are not being students of the game.

Of course there isn’t game tape of sales calls. Nonetheless, sales people should  “replay sales calls” – to identify what they did well and what they might have done differently if given the opportunity to do the sales call again.

To increase proficiency and effectiveness requires repetition and study. Figuring out what’s being done right and where improvements can be made will lead to raising the game – whether in business or sports.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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