The best salespeople are the ones who deliver a pitch and have their prospect buy in. Sales extends to a wide variety of areas, from retail to pharmaceuticals and even to college football. The best college football teams are successful because coaches are able to sell their programs to players with sales pitches that project a bright and prosperous future.
Before Alabama or Ohio State won a national championship, each program succeeded in the relationship aspect of the game. Successful recruiting is all about building solid relationships. Some of those relationships start when prospects are as young as high school freshmen, even eighth-graders in some cases. How those relationships are cultivated over time determine how good of a recruiting class a college football team produces.
That explains why there is no end to the recruiting season, which is one reason many coaches prefer the NFL as opposed to the college ranks. National champion Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer stepped out of the coaching for a year because of the demand the job entailed. However, he returned and proved last year that his ability to build relationships in recruiting is the recipe for a national title.
Relationships in the sales game are equally as important. Instead of always talking sales to prospects, try talking about life. Find out a prospect's interests, likes and dislikes. College coaches get to know recruits on a personal level and there is no reason salespeople shouldn't do the same. By doing so, the player is not just a running back, he becomes a person.
The same approach enables a prospect to become an individual and not just a number or a sale. By building a relationship, salespeople can actually cater to the individual needs of each client. That means always having an open ear or spare time to talk to a prospect and always maintaining that same open line of communication when the prospect becomes a client.
In the old days, college football coaches would have to rely mostly on one-on-one meetings in order to sell their program to recruits. Now, coaches have different ways to communicate. There are certain periods during the year known as the quiet period and the dead period, both of which restrict coaches from visiting players and limiting their contact. However, Twitter has become a coach's best friend. Coaches are still allowed to direct message recruits, which maintains open lines of communication.
Sales associates can also use technology to their advantage. When they cannot be in front of their clients, reaching out via social media is an excellent tool. Portable technology has tremendous advantages, but just as one tool cannot build a house, one piece of technology will not close a sale. Combining social media, face time, power point, CRM technology and other helpful apps should all be essential tools used by every salesperson.
Tricks of the Trade
The recruiting process can be a long one and that can also hold true in the sales process. There are lessons every salesperson can take from college football coaches in order to make optimal use of their time. Some college coaches send out cards to the mothers of recruits on occasions like birthdays and Mother's Day. Now, it may not be a smart move to track down the mother of a prospect. However, it won't hurt to send prospects well wishes on birthdays or during the holidays.
Some coaches have gone as far to strategically advertise their program on billboards neighborhoods of high-profile recruits. It is a way to capture their attention. It is also a method that can be used by sales reps when trying to close on a prospect.
Sales reps do not need to rent billboards, but they do need to find a way to hold the attention of their prospects. One way to do that is to get their objections and fears out in the open so that sales reps can begin demonstrating value and providing solutions. This type of approach will go a lot further than simply citing statistics, specifications or just regurgitating boring old facts and figures.
The goal of every college football coach is to find talent. That happens by watching endless hours of game film, hosting football camps for recruits, and attending high school games. The entire coaching staff takes to the road at various times of the year to evaluate players in person to determine which ones will be the best fit for their respective programs. That is what makes coaching college football a year-round job. When coaches are not on the field coaching, they are busy with recruiting.
Developing leads is essentially the same task and is also never-ending. Sales reps also have a variety of ways to attract leads. One way is to produce informative and consistent content, whether that be via social media, a website, newsletter, or blog. This method will establish credibility, which will actually attract leads.
Another way to acquire leads is through cross-promotion. Alliances with other companies, individuals and services could have a fair share of benefits. Serving as a guest speaker, guest blogger or volunteer is another way of spreading the word about your service and pulling in new leads.
Successful seasons on the college football field are very much like successful sales seasons. They all start by working diligently towards the future, long before that distant season ever begins.
Image Credit: ESPN.com