How Football Can Improve Your Sales

How Football Can Improve Your Sales

by Derek Weber

There are many parallels between sports and sales.  Often times sales people come from a sports background because many of the same principles that make a great athlete also ring true for a great salesperson.  When it comes to football, many people might assume that the comparison to a salesperson might be best suited to a quarterback or running back, but I see it a little differently.  I think the best comparison is probably to a free safety because they always are reading the situation and responding accordingly.   The key here is that they are only able to do this if they are in good defensive ready position.  Being in ready position in football is the same as having good sales posture.  On defense in football, you need to have your weight centered and balanced and be up on the balls of your feet ready to react quickly in whatever direction you need to go.

In regards to speaking with your prospect in a sales environment, if your weight is too far forward and you are being overly aggressive, you will cause the prospect to feel pressured putting them on the defensive.  This will make them feel uncomfortable and not trust a thing you say; you’re just another fast-talking salesperson.  You know this is happening when you are spitting out as much information as you can as quickly as possible on your product; you’re doing all the talking, while your prospect sits with a blank stare.  This doesn’t work because you are telling more than selling, so there’s no way you can know if what you are saying is even what your prospect wants or needs to hear.  In football, this is when you would sprint dead ahead straight at the running back with your head down, and the running back makes one little change of direction, and you go right on by left with only an arm full of air.

On the other hand, if you are back on your heels, your prospect will completely dominate you and the meeting.  They will control the entire conversation or in football terms, the running back will run right over you leaving footprints across your chest.  This is often a sign of a lack of confidence, and when your client senses it, he eats you up and spits you out leaving only a smug grin on his face as you walk out of his office.  In this case, you are left scrambling to find answers to question after question that you were not prepared to answer making you look like a babbling buffoon.

The cure to both of these scenarios is having great sales posture.  This is a byproduct of having confidence in your sales approach, which only comes from practice and preparation.  If you go in knowing what questions you need to ask in order to discover the information you will need to assess the prospect’s viability as a potential customer, you will control the direction of the sales call without being pushy or domineering.  When done properly, the ol’ 80/20 rule will be in effect, with your prospect talking 80% of the time.  The important part here is that the time is being spent in response to your questions, discussing the information you need to discover if the needs of the prospect can be remedied with your product.  In the end, having good sales posture is about listening and being attentive enough to have a conversation with your prospect, so you can effectively react to the responses of your prospect.  So, be like a Pro Bowl Safety in football, and keep yourself centered, your weight balanced, and up on the balls of your feet ready to ask that great follow up question.  It will make the difference between making the sale and being run over for a game-losing touchdown.

Derek Weber
Enjoying our insights? Enter your email below to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.