One of the toughest and most rewarding careers is that of a salesperson. A successful salespersons responsibility is to learn their clients' wants and needs while creating a strategic game plan to exceed their expectations. While focusing on the clients' needs the salesperson must also keep in mind their goals and how meeting the clients' needs affect their bottom line! The sales cycle and relationship between salesperson and client are very similar to that of a boxing match - the constant ebb and tide of negotiations. The chess game of two individuals doing all they can to gain an advantage. One party seeking to walk away with a victory while the other hopes to gain perspective and growth even in defeat.
A good boxer and salesperson must have the fitness and stamina of a cheetah, the heart of a lion and the intelligence of a dolphin. A successful salesperson and boxer must not only out skill his opponent, he must also out think, out will, out smart and even have a little hocus pocus to gain a victory!
Share these 11 easy steps with your sales staff and encourage them to think like a boxer. We promise they will have more victories on the ledger than defeats!
Round 1: Never step in the ring without proper preparation! Healthy mind, body and soul go a long way. A rested-fit body, an intelligent mind and clear spirit will put the boxer/salesperson at ease while making cold calls and sales visits. Preparation is the key to success in and out of the ring! Prospects are more than willing to stay on the phone when you know the decision makers name, position and decision making roll within a organization!
Round 2: Know your opponent. A good boxer/salesperson always knows the opponent they are facing before stepping in the ring! Know your opponents strengths and weaknesses before ever coming face to face. Gain insight on the things they do well and what are the things they struggle with. A boxer/salesperson that knows their opponents strengths and weakness will always have the upper hand. Not only focusing on the weaker areas to attack, but also the stronger areas to look out for and stay away from. Don't sell to a clients wants but sell to their needs.
Round 3: When face to face with your opponent continue to create your blueprint. In boxing height, weight, reach (arm length), are all tangible components one must compete with in relation to their opponent. At times what is stated the "tale of the tape", can change once the two opponents are face to face. A good boxer/salesperson should always be able to analyze new data when it is presented. Always being prepared for the unexpected. The VP of development wants to sit in on the sales meeting, no problem here is an extra brochure. He/she will especially be impressed when you hand them the brochure and call them by name! Expect the unexpected.
Round 4: Never rush across the ring when the bell starts. A good boxer will wait and see what his opponent has to offer. He/she may show early issues with fatigue, lack of focus and concentration. Once these are exposed then the boxer can take advantage of their opponents weaknesses. The salesperson should always wait to see what challenges their client is having. Attack the easier challenges right away with remedies before addressing the larger challenges. Systematically break down your opponent or client and you can setup an easy victory!
Round 5: Quick Knockouts can be a great victory but also not good for business! Sometimes a well prepared boxer matched with an unprepared opponent can create a early knockout! Were this is a great victory and good for the record it can be bad for long term business. For the boxer; if everyone sees him knocking out all of his opponents in the first round on one will want to fight them. For the salesperson; if you sell all of your most expensive and lucrative products right away you are already setting yourself up for someone to come in and undercut or under budget you! Clients that are "ripe" for the knockout make sure you are aware that this also maybe a client that may not want to step into the ring with you again! Sometimes it's ok to go a couple of rounds before going for the knockout, but protect yourself at all times!
Round 6: Always remember at the end of the day it’s a fight! A boxer should always know at times your opponent may be just as skilled as you are if not more so! This is when the true chess game begins. For a salesperson this is the give and take. Knowing that whatever you present to your client they may have a rebuttal, question and or answer. That is what a well prepared opponent should do and you should be prepared. This is where the fun starts and your money is truly earned!
Round 7: Fatigue is the nature of the business. In a boxing match, fatigue will set in. No matter how prepared you are at some point you will get tired. For the salesperson in dealing with a challenging client, you will become mentally and physically fatigued trying to meet all of their expectations. However, if you can weather the storm good things will come in the end!
Round 8: Question and doubts will start to set in. The boxer starts asking himself questions; have I trained hard enough? Do I still have the will to compete. Do I have the energy to go one more round win lose or draw? The sales cycle is the same way. Be prepared for a battle, but always know it could turn into a war. Don't lose your cool, stay steadfast on your plan and answer the bell moving forward to your goals.
Round 9: In the boxing world we call this the "CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS" or "DEEP WATER." This is where fights are one or lost; here at the very end of the fight. These rounds are where composure, discipline and focus can matter the most. During these rounds, when the body and mind start to decide if they want to continue on or not. For the salesperson, this is when the negotiations are at a standstill on both sides. At the impasse, the decision will be made whether to continue on or go in a different direction. This is also where the slightest sign of weakness can decide who wins or loses!
Round 10: It's almost over and you have made it this far! There is no turning back at this point. All of your hard work and effort have come to these last two rounds. You have earned the right to finish this fight and see what the potential outcome maybe! Don't make any silly mistakes, stay focused, take advantage when you can and push forward when necessary. But also, pull back when needed.
Round 11: Set yourself up for victory. Remember what you have learned from your opponent the previous 10 rounds. At this stage their are no surprises left. The negotiations are over and now is the time to start lining up your grand finale and finish!
ROUND 12: THE FINAL ROUND. For the boxer; this is the time to leave everything left in the ring. Win, Lose, or Draw this is IT. Finish strong and go out like a champion. For the sales person; you have stuck to your guns and now let your hard work and effort pay off. As long as you know you have given all you have, the outcome will be in your favor. Win or Lose you will walk away in victory in either gaining a new client or learning valuable lessons as you prepare to step back into the ring.
Always remember preparation is the first key to success and always protect yourself at all times in and out of the ring.
Marty P. Hill-owner of Sweet Science Boxing Club in Atlanta, GA. Marty left a career in sales and marketing as an executive search consultant for his passion for the sport of boxing in 2009. Through years within the corporate arena, and now the boxing ring, he has gained tremendous insight into how the art of boxing translates to successes in the board room.
Contact Marty P. Hill for corporate team building exercises on how to teach your Sales Team
"How to Box in the Boardroom"
MARTY P. HILL
SWEET SCIENCE FITNESS BOXING CLUB