Training Ground Routines

The World’s fourth priciest footballer recently suffered an embarrassing 903-minute wait for his first goal at his new club.

Fernando Torres was the subject of plenty of pundit advice during his drought. Most of it was rubbish of course, but a pair of ideas got me thinking about the dreaded sales trough.

I’ve seen many a quality rep go through a painful (and often bewildering) sales lull. Whether it be a substandard month, quarter or even a total bath, it has happened to the best of us.

The issue gets compounded when anxiety takes hold. If panic sets in, then you’re really in trouble.

This seemed to be what hit Torres. One set of ex-players I heard decided that his movement had gone to pot. He was sluggish, looking a shadow of his former busy self. Keeping on the shoulder of the last defender and attacking the space had disappeared from his leaden legs. Fundamental to a goalscorer’s armoury, the way to re-ignite this was apparently plenty of skipping and getting in the boxing ring. Absent footwork would return, they claimed.

Elsewhere, a sports psychologist suggested that when in a slump, the tendency is to focus too heavily on the things that you’d ordinarily do naturally. He explained that this was wrong. Trying to do things that you’d normally do without thinking, by thinking about them, never works. Better instead, to work on the simplest of things. Especially those that create the platform for performance, he argued. Again, in this analysis, movement came to the fore. Focus on getting in the right areas, run around for the team until you’re completely exhausted, and things will happen.

And that’s precisely what occurred for the agonising wait to end. There was no poor touch, no being shrugged off the ball, no timid finish. A tight turn, neat control and delightful left foot into the corner from El Nino.

This begs the question, what is the solution salesperson’s equivalent of a world cup winning striker’s movement?

What constitutes the fundamentals of your selling success?

How’s the spread of your prospect contact points? Where’s the endorsement of Board members? Who’s buy-in have you truly cemented? Which aspect of your bid makes the key difference? What did you always used to do that hasn’t been done yet?

When did you last take a breath and think about the actions that put you in the scoring position?

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