One week ago, New York Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin described his team as, “Humble enough to prepare. Confident enough to perform.” I want to comment on that not only because I am a lifelong, die-hard Giants fan who appreciates Coach Coughlin but also because it has direct relevance to professional selling, in my opinion.
Going back a few years and before I started United Sales Resources, I worked for Huthwaite, the company that Neil Rackham founded and that today is one of the leading sales training firms in the world. In that experience, I came across literally thousands of salespeople and hundreds of sales managers, and I was always struck by the willingness of top performers to prepare. They knew that preparation was the key to success, and they were humble enough to know that their natural, God-given talents were not always going to be enough to win over customers.
In contrast, their average counterparts were more apt to “wing it,” as many of them believed (often incorrectly) that their smarts or personalities or product knowledge alone would win the day, without the benefit of preparation. How wrong they were.
I believe that many of those average performers suffered from a lack of humility. They really believed that they were smarter, slicker, quicker on their feet than their customers and also than their competitors. I saw it first-hand. I can recall a meeting with several salespeople from a major media company in Manhattan a few years ago. One could not have met a more polished group of people. They looked the part, they dressed the part…they had it all…except for a proper dose of humility. They eschewed preparing for customer meetings in favor of…well, I don’t really know. They always had their “corporate presentation” on hand, and they had a way of trying to guilt a customer into doing business with them. Rather than giving a moment’s advance thought to what a specific customer might be interested in discussing, their only preparation was to throw together a presentation that essentially delivered the message, “You should do business with us because any company worth their salt does business with us.”
I don’t have to tell you how well that approach went, but I can tell you that many of those very average players came back to the office believing that the fault lie with their customers who didn’t buy. They weren’t even humble enough to admit that they had failed to differentiate themselves or their company.
As for me and the people who work for United Sales Resources and its customers, we recognize that preparation is key to success in professional sales. We are humble enough to prepare. Once we’ve prepared, we are confident that we can deliver great results for our customers.
If you believe that having access to a disciplined team of professional sellers who understand how to prepare and how to win could help you, then please call or email us. In the mean time, I am going to watch the replay of the Giants win over the Patriots in Super Bowl 46.
Thanks, Coach Coughlin!