Following a football game, the requisite procedure is for the media to question the head coach about what happened on the field. A common response from the coach is "I have to look at the tape." I have covered college football games all over the country and lost track of how many times I heard a head coach use that phrase, especially after a loss.
While that may be an easy out for a coach who doesn't want to talk about why his team lost by four touchdowns, there is a lot that can be learned from watching film in the game of football. Coaches use game film to evaluate and teach while players use film to give themselves a competitive advantage.
One major reason why coaches and players watch game film is to see where things went wrong. When an opposing team completes a long touchdown pass, everyone is quick to blame the cornerback. However, there could be a number of other reasons why that pass was completed.
The safety could have failed to provide help. The linebacker could have picked up the wrong man in coverage, or the defensive line could have failed to provide any kind of pass rush. After all, a good secondary cannot exist without a good defensive line.
Watching a failed play in slow-motion from an objective point of view will shed light on what went wrong. It will show players what keys they missed, what reads they failed to make and whether or not they filled the right gap. The point is to recognize your mistake so that it does not happen again.
Sales reps can also utilize that strategy. No matter how much success a sales rep achieves, there are always going to be clients that got away. That presents a never-ending opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Look back on the sales process just as a football player looks back on game film. See what worked and what didn't work. Also, ask yourself the following questions:
Did you make a connection with the client? Did you talk more than you listened? Did you focus too much on your product and not enough on your customer? Was your opening strong enough? When did you close and was it too early? Did you rely too much on technology to help you sell? Did you try to oversell or did you not provide enough information?
The answer to why you failed to close a sale can be found by looking back over everything you did during the sales process. Re-examine what you did, what you didn't do and determine what you can do better the next time around.
One of the biggest reasons football players watch game and practice film is to improve their technique. Games are not won and lost because of spectacular catches, interceptions, or sideline tackles. Games are won because one team displayed superior technique over the course of four quarters.
Running backs who take poor angles often wind up gaining less yards. Footwork is so important to the position that an extra step here or there could cost an offense precious yards. Offensive linemen need to play with a certain pad level. That means maintaining a lower center of gravity. Defensive linemen need to play with their hands. That means using various techniques to get by offensive linemen, such as the swim, the rip and the bull rush. These are all various techniques used in the game of football. And the reason why teams practice continuously is to improve their overall techniques.
There are also several sales techniques that go into making up a star salesperson. One of those techniques is convincing a prospect that they have a problem and you have the solution. What a customer believes trumps anything a sales rep says while a sales presentation is only as good as a prospect believes it to be.
Another technique that leads to sales success is being able to sell yourself and not necessarily a product or service. That comes from being authentic, direct, passionate and clear. It's also important to show that you believe in the product or service you are selling. If you do not, it will be tough to sell yourself.
One more successful technique is to ask open-ended questions. That will get your customers to start talking. Great sales reps are also excellent listeners and do not make it a habit of talking too much.
Looking for tendencies
Football film study is done extensively to prepare for a game. Prior to each matchup, college and professional football teams watch hours of film on their opponents. Linebackers will watch film on running backs to see if they can pick up on any tendencies. Does a running back look or lean a certain way when it's a running play over the left side?
Tendencies can also signify a weakness. Certain players may have weaknesses in their game. An offense that has a right tackle who struggles in pass protection can be exploited with a weakside blitz. Tendencies like those can mean the difference between winning and losing. That is why coaches spend countless hours a week studying film.
If an opponent throws the ball the majority of times on 2nd down, coaches can create defensive alignments on 2nd down that will attempt to stop those plays. Certain offenses will also have tendencies to use a lot of motion or certain personnel packages. These tendencies factor into defensive schemes and alignments.
Sales reps can also study their prospects and clients for tendencies that indicate they are ready to buy. One of those tendencies comes in the form of questions. Asking about the buying process or possible alternatives is one sign that a client is ready to close.
Another tendency that indicates it's time to close is overcoming a client's objections. When there is something holding a client back, there is a process of working through that hesitancy. The moment a sales rep recognizes that objection has dissolved, it's time to close.