So much has been written about how Team GB made Britain Great again at the Beijing Games, the past few days have enabled glorious reflection whenever I fancied a break here in London. After recounting the manifold (and largely unexpected) successes, broadsheets have wondered how it was all so miraculously done.
Two strands stand out for me. And they are two things that we’ve never had before. Sure, Olympic competitors have had the drive to awake at 5am each day to swim for hours alone, like double-Gold winner Rebecca Adlington. I’m old enough to remember how middle-distance titans Coe and Ovett, hardly on speaking terms at the time, were spurred on by the thought of what the other was doing to such an extent that Christmas Day was simply nothing other than a normal training day. Gold medallists have always displayed a winning mentality, whether it be Linford Christie’s knowledge of having to run 101 metres to win, or Daley Thompson’s desire to “crush” his opponents. But two strands build on mere individual dedication. And they are a pair that sales people can similarly tap into.
Attention To Detail
The stories of the cyclists’ regimen are rapidly becoming the stuff of legend. No wonder that many other sports are gravitating towards spending time at their Manchester base. They famously re-created their Chinese Village quarters and climatic conditions. Then there’s the Kayak ‘Paddle Project’, where they assessed all sorts of material and shape combinations within the rules to arrive at the best form of propulsion. Consequently, next time I kick-off a solution-selling cycle, I’m minded to mention Team GB’s success, and suggest we follow an Olympian process to uncover all the needs and remedies. How could a prospect turn that plan down?
Around The Edges
The other strand that appeals to my selling focus, is how all the things seemingly only remotely connected to competing are examined. Sir Clive Woodward (now involved with the 2012 delivery) talks of improving 100 things by 1% each. ‘Distraction Control’ is a new phrase I’ve picked up to allow all energy to go into winning, rather than allow some to get diverted onto ultimately fruitless paths. Also, a key reason for the cycling dominance is their team-bond. Rebecaa Romero didn’t feel part of the team until she’d won her Gold. A touch extreme perhaps, but what a fantastic culture to develop if each of your sales team members didn’t feel they belonged until surpassing 100%. And there was also the fact that Team GB riders and support staff couldn’t work out why they were the only country who all stayed en masse to cheer on every single athlete in each race. Again, what an amazing culture to foster.
In short, current cycling supremo Dave Brailsford considers winning a process, rather than an end in itself, and this is something we sellers can readily adopt. We all have the bsaic I guess, ie: a quota, and may well have targets within this, eg: profit split, account growth, new acquisitions. Yet how many of us break this down further? Here’s just a few off-the-wall ideas for starters:
- getting 10 prospects to talk to my ‘best’ client
- arranging a dozen meetings with people only affected by my solution indirectly or downstream
- asking my five largest client’s Head of Sales what their biggest issue is right now and relating that to our solution
- working out how to increase my funnel by 10% each quarter
- creating forums with 3 of my prospect’s suppliers/customers that would see an impact from my solution