Beware The Illusory Breakthrough

Can you press with this squad? [Manchester] United managed just seven pressures in the final third all game, 14 fewer than Brentford. Ralf Rangnick last season despaired of the lack of basic tactical understanding in the squad; most, he said, had simply never been drilled in ball-oriented pressing. He spent half an hour working one-on-one with one high-profile player, thought he made a breakthrough, but then watched him produce his worst performance of the season in the following match.

This broadsheet paragraph one of a tsunami poring over how the once so mighty have now fallen. The prompting four-nil defeat merely the latest nadir.

I could have picked from so many of the countless opinion pieces. Revelling, mainly, although a few authors with connections to said club were indeed utterly despairing, in this so public of decline.

You needn't possess knowledge of The Beautiful Game to know that whatever 'pressures' refer to [aka pressing or to lionise, the press], it represents a fundamental requirement of the age. One which this now hapless rabble do not grasp.

Yet what this passage above reveals, is that the millionaires on their books have never understood this cornerstone of their craft.

Shock compounded by the evident failure of at the time, perceived successful personal tutelage. Such attention heralding not only zero progress, but incredulously lead to performance spiralling backwards.

And this is where the Solution Sales basic kicks in.

You could somehow scrape by doing mostly what you've always done. Snagging the occasional yet keeping-head-above-water deal. Working numbers. Relying on the brought-in touch of a Magic Closer. Job-hopping. Dodging the bullet from successions of re-orgs.

Who wants that?

Not you, I trust.

Sellers outside the rarefied few actively seeking continual improvement, will at times require a drill in a different way of selling.

This will likely range in scope from the tactical tweak, all the way through to a de- then re-construction of core strategic themes.

No matter how big or small, there's seldom the instant breakthrough.

The furnace of the field of play a training space is not.

New behaviours need time to fully take root. Models aplenty graph how performance and desire can fluctuate before true fruits are enjoyed.

And as this example shows, that first engagement in battle can be disastrous. Actually, it may well even be if not inevitable, then expected to some degree.

We must plan accordingly.

I think on three of the particular evolutions I've helped Enterprise sellers with lately where results proved initially elusive. Yet realisation, understanding and endeavour went on to make a real difference.

In all cases frustration abated by belief in the process.

Whether it be switching first contact from pitch to conversation, properly getting into the buyer's shoes or knowing how often and when to give videolink prospects a problem to solve.

There'll no doubt right now be an adjustment you wish to pursue. For you, your charges or seniors.

Unlike the football coach above who was widely thought to have given up, having a plan to navigate the knock-backs will make you way more likely to prevail.

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