The name Mike Eruzione might not register with the younger generation of sports fans. However, his biggest accomplishment rings much clearer in many people’s ears. Eruzione was team captain of the 1980 USA men’s ice hockey team that upset the vaunted Soviet team on their way to winning a gold medal. It was the team that inspired the 2004 movie Miracle.
Prior to his time on the USA Hockey team, Eurzione had a series of accomplishments, such as becoming the all-time leading goal scorer at Boston University and a two-year standout for the Toledo Gold Diggers of the International Hockey League. However, scoring the winning goal in that semifinal Olympic game made him an instant and lasting icon.
Way back on that fated February day of 1980, Team USA was not given much of a chance by anyone when they played the Soviet team. Team USA was a group of amateurs playing against the defending champion team of professionals from the USSR. But was the game really a miracle?
Eurzione scored the winning goal in that game, but that was no miracle either. It was simply a hockey goal. Eurzione shot the puck and it went into the net. It was just a unique approach used by Eurzione and his teammates to reach that point, which set up Team USA for success.
In a similar manner, closing a huge sale is not considered a modern miracle. It is just a matter of taking a unique approach to set up a sales team for success. Eurzione used grit and determination, although sales superstars can use emotional intelligence. This will allow sales people to control the flow of the game.
When meeting with clients, take a certain amount of time to observe them. Listen to them at first and watch their mannerisms. Are they quiet, loud, fast-paced or slow-moving? Make those discoveries and adjust your actions to work in unison with theirs. For example, if the situation is more of a formal one, act more formally. And clients speaking more informally can be answered with informal conversation.
This does not mean you have to alter your identity completely. It is simply adjusting yourself to always speak the same language as your client. Identifying an introvert and then acting more introverted will create a situation for success. Continue on with that process and it could lead to a lot of big scores in the sales game.
Don't live off accolades
Eurzione scored a goal that was named the greatest American sports highlight ever in 2008 by voters on ESPN. However, in a 2012 ESPN.com chat, Eurzione claimed to have only watched the replay of that game against the Soviets twice in his life.
After Eurzione's success at the Olympic level, he went on to do other things with his life besides playing hockey. Through the 1980's, Eurzione would assert himself in fund raising efforts for Olympic athletes. He would later work with charities as well. Eurzione would also spend time as a broadcaster and earned many public speaking engagements. People generally knew him as the man who beat the USSR, although he has moved on since that shining sports moment.
The game of sales is also not defined by previous success. In fact, past accolades may cause salespeople to start planning more of a defensive strategy than an offensive one. Sales, like hockey, cannot be won without making a big score. To avoid resting on the laurels of past success, continue to take risks. Go after bigger clients with the same diligent planning that led to past success in your sales closing techniques.
But don't hesitate to change things up. Diversify your approach. Take some time each day to make improvements to the way you generate and develop leads. Or, make it a point to secure a commitment or action at the end of every sales call or meeting. There are a wealth of ways to improve your game.
In the 1980 Olympics, Eurzione had his shining moment, but he used it to build out his future. Sales people can do the same. Allow your past success to open up new opportunities.
Find the right solution
Thirty-three years after the "Miracle on Ice," Eurzione auctioned off the jersey he wore in that game for an astounding price of $657,250. Some people were a bit perplexed as to how he could do such a thing. However, he provided ample reasoning, citing that the money will be used so that his children and grandchildren can create better lives for themselves.
The approach Eurzione took in this particular action can serve as a valuable lesson for salespeople. He showed excitement about arriving at a solution. Salespeople who also do this find success easier by not settling for the status quo and, instead, opt to seek out new answers. They look for new and creative ways to find solutions for their clients.
Eurzione also exhibited a proactive trait that is a mainstay in successful salespeople. Business relationships that remain dormant often fail. And playing a reactive role rarely provides sales reps with the chance to introduce any type of interesting new content or ideas.
The sheer honesty Eurzione put on public display when auctioning off his memorabilia was another beneficial move. A sales rep who shows a similar honesty can enhance their credibility and confidence when it comes to clients and prospects.