March Madness means a mad dash for 64 collegiate basketball teams towards a national championship. It also means that fans can try and pick winners and losers with their own March Madness selections, more commonly known as bracketology. It's the ultimate when it comes to college basketball. This is where all the training and practicing is tested to the limit.
My bracket got busted in a hurry as I had Villanova going to the 2015 NCAA championship game against Kentucky. Top-seeded Villanova was upset in the second round by a lowly No.8 seed, N.C. State.
So as Villanova suffered the pangs of defeat, I was left to pull for the other teams to puick up the slack in my bracket. After all, Gonzaga could still go far and Kentucky could still reach the final. The bottom line is there is more than one way to win. That same theory applies in the world of sales.
Brackets and Strategies Get Busted
In sales, not every strategy is going to go as planned. There will be missed opportunities that could be considered the equivalent of a missing a three-pointer or a short runner in the lane. In sales, objections from prospects could be considered very similar to a missed shot.
Objections are like three-pointers that occasionally clang off the back rim. It doesn’t score a point, but it doesn’t mean you lose the game. The trick is preparing for what to do after missed shot. In hoops, the shooter can charge for the rim and fight for the rebound. In sales, a rep can also rebound.
Sales reps can create an outline of any anticipated questions and prepare answers before their sales presentation even begins. This way, sales reps will never be caught off guard, no matter what objections they hear. Sales teams can brainstorm about potential objections and come up with answers as part of their preparation for a sales presentation. This approach strengthens a sales team’s ability to rebound.
Small Victories Count
During any game played in the NCAA tournament, a bunch of lay-ups add up and can determine whether a team wins or loses. In sales, small wins also add up. Sales reps rarely close big deals on the first shot.
Settling for smaller purchase orders is a small win, a way of getting one foot in the door. Several of those small wins could eventually lead to a huge purchase order that might be a game-changing moment for any company. Small wins such as those also create a solid foundation for future negotiations.
Stay Focused on the Prize
There will also be some frustrations when it comes to sales, just as I was frustrated when a Villanova loss seemed to doom my bracket in the second round. They were a No.1 seed. How could they lose so early?
It just goes to show that what seems like a fail-proof strategy does not always work. That also holds true in the world of sales. Sales reps may prepare what they believe to be the perfect pitch, but it may not turn out as planned.
No matter what hangups sales reps may incur, they should remember to stay focused on whatever problems face their prospects. Successful sales reps can thoroughly explain the dismay, the hurt and the stress that comes with those problems just as well as the prospects can explain it.
Don’t rush to divulge droves of information about your service or product. Instead, remember to show your prospects how your product or service can quell their dismay, pain and stress. Sales reps should stick to that game plan and stay focused on the problems of their prospects.
Know The Competition
Part of the reason so many NCAA Tournament brackets get busted is because the people who full them out do not know enough about the competition. I didn’t realize just how much Villanova relied on the three-point shot and I also didn’t know how poorly they matched up in the frontcourt against N.C. State.
In sales, one of the best ways to beat your competition is to know everything about them. But it goes deeper than just doing some market research. Really get to know your competition. Find them on social media and even go as far as to communicate with them. Developing relationships with them could prove beneficial in numerous ways. Sales reps need to know who they are up against. And the more you know about your competitors, the more of an edge it will provide.
However, with familiarity does not come fair play. Expect the competition to play dirty because many in the sales game will do whatever it takes to succeed. Monitoring the competition is a way of seeing what kind of tactics they will use. Also keep in mind that the Internet has become a forum for all different point of views. Check regularly to make sure your reputation stays intact and is not getting sullied by the competition.
March Madness comes once a year in college basketball, but a similar scene exists every day in the sales game. It is not just one and done for sales teams as the competition is everywhere, all the time. So don’t run from it. Instead, embrace it.
Your competitors can even make you better. Explore why competitors are succeeding and use those lessons to help improve your own sales team. After all, it is very rare for any team to win a championship without suffering their share of defeats over the course of a season.