Tom Brady & Salespeople
published on February 13, 2017
What do Tom Brady (one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history) and great salespeople have in common? They know how to call audibles. (Sorry international followers…an American analogy)
At the heart of complex sales is the ability to successfully conduct a sales conversation. Sales conversations require a variety of skills: message delivery, asking meaningful questions, active listening, and excellent interpersonal skills. How is that similar to what Tom Brady does?
In preparation for “the big game” Tom Brady and team do the following:
- Carefully study the opponent.
- Prepare by designing a variety of plays.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
- Consider what might happen during the game.
- Call audibles (changing the play based on what he sees). When Tom Brady walks up to the line, he assesses and reacts. Having planned for, and practiced, different plays and situations, he may call an audible. He is not making it up as he goes. He calls an audible to execute a play that has been practiced dozens of times before.
Salespeople – learn to call audibles.
- Study your audience before you arrive at the meeting. What do they care about?
- Prepare. At the very least, what questions do you need to ask? What messages do you want to deliver? How do you plan to start and end the meeting?
- Practice, Practice, Practice. There is a difference between preparation and practice. Practice the conversation by having the words cross your lips.
- Consider the dynamics. What might happen during the meeting? How will you respond? Prepare for the dynamics. You should NOT walk in to a meeting with a script. My favorite example of that is this old Computer Associates commercial (Computer Associates Flat Standees Funny Commercial). Enter your meetings having prepared and practiced a variety of conversation elements that you are ready to integrate into a dialog.
- React. Call audibles. If you have prepared, and practiced, you can then be “in” the meeting. You can listen…intently…and, respond, redirect…in short, call the audible. No two meetings/conversations are identical. Your ability to respond to the dynamics of the meetings is the difference between world-class conversations and all the others.
I have been asked to observe and coach over 750 executive level meetings/conversations. The great ones are silky smooth. Why? The salesperson was well prepared AND practiced, but NOT mechanical. They navigated the dynamics by reacting to the situation. In the end, did they ask the planned questions? Yes, some. Did they deliver the planned messages? A subset. Did they authentically build a relationship. Every time.
As a Corporate Storyteller, my expertise is in the ability to deliver effective messages. Observing hundreds of sales calls has resulted in an immense appreciation for the challenges of delivering messages in a dynamic environment. Just like Tom Brady, the ability to call audibles comes with practice.
What is your experience? What have you observed in your sales conversations?
Tom Peurach is a Corporate Storyteller with Articulus. His expertise is in the ability to create and deliver clear, compelling, and concise messages. He trains people in Corporate Storytelling and consults with individuals/groups/companies on high stakes presentations/conversations.©2016 Articulus, Inc. All Rights Reserved.