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By Lance Tyson
Special to Valley News 

Learn these 4 secrets from the competitive sports arena


Last updated 11/1/2018 at 11:03pm

Some products seem to sell themselves, but the reality is their success began with a process.

The same is true in the business of professional sports, a $60 billion-a-year industry where some franchises grow into monster brands.

Sales managers in many industries sometimes use sports themes in their coaching – competitiveness, dedication, strategy execution, etc.

The problem with selling today is there’s no home-field advantage. The selling game takes place in the buyer’s mind. The salesperson has to determine how much the potential buyer knows or doesn’t know. And even with all the technology, it’s never been more competitive; there are more salespeople interacting directly with customers than ever before.

I offers four concepts to consider when coaching a sales team on today’s more complex playing field.

Forget the better mousetrap. Sales teams don’t necessarily have to build a better mousetrap; they have to do a better job selling their mousetrap. They have to understand there are a lot of new variables in selling. Social media and online information have changed the game, but despite all the new technology, the bedrock of sales remains the same: people selling to people.

Make an attitude adjustment. Grit is a key component of both championship sports teams and successful sales teams. One notable difference is the relative importance of skill set in each profession. Skill set does not equate to success in sales. Hard work isn’t a skill; it’s a choice. It’s starting early, staying late and being resilient after rejection. It’s forming the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.

Level the playing field. Compare the sales process to choosing which game to play in a casino; the odds of closing improve if a sales person keeps their sales process simple and tailors the approach to the buyer’s mindset. Otherwise, the salesperson can be as distracted like a gambler in a casino. Sales people don’t have to be gamblers, but they do have to be odds players. So, they want to play craps rather than the slots.

Find common ground. Establishing credibility with a prospect requires engaging them in a conversation. The first seven seconds are the most critical to get their attention. If the salesperson survives, they have the next 60 seconds to win their interest. To do it, they need to see the sale from the buyer’s perspective.

There’s plenty of room for a salesperson’s creativity and a customer’s need for tailored solutions. At the same time, use the process repeatedly to provide solutions and compete in a complex world.

Lance Tyson,, is president and CEO of Tyson Group, a sales training, coaching and consulting company listed among SellingPower’s Top 20 sales training companies of 2018. He is the author of “Selling is an Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World.” 


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