How Would These Sports Celebrities Perform in Sales?

I wrote a very serious post earlier this week where I had the nerve to bring God into the conversation.  I thought it was appropriate because the biggest and most important take-away from that article was about being inspired and inspiring others. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, I think The Biggest Secrets of Sales Rock Stars is worth your time.  Not wishing to write or deliver two overly serious posts in a row, I decided to lighten things up a bit with my analysis of how some famous sports celebrities would perform if they were in sales.  You’ll enjoy this one.

First an apology – I went to baseball three times and the other sports only once, and in some cases, I left them out. But hey, I’m a baseball guy.

David Ortiz – Big Papi comes up big in big moments.  After asking the million dollar question at the eleventh hour, goes for broke and asks for ALL of the business.  He gets it, and upon getting the contract, signs, flips the contract and pen in the air, stands there a moment, and admires his great sale.  VIDEO

John McEnroe – Oh, oh.  The prospect said something that John didn’t agree with and John just became very emotional and got royally pissed off. He started swearing at the prospect for being such a moron and the prospect just kicked him out of the building.  VIDEO

Deion Sanders – NFL Hall of Famer Neon Deion Prime Time Sanders had a long and successful run at a large account and just renewed them for the biggest gain in company history.  He celebrated his big deal with a dance in the CEO’s office.  VIDEO

Mohammed Ali – Ali has gone 12 rounds with this prospective customer and if he wins the bout, he will be the champion salesperson in his industry.  It seems that in this case, Ali has simply worn the prospect down with his rope-a-dope tactics, asking question after question, making presentation after presentation, and outlasting all of his competitors.  He told his new customer that he is the greatest.  VIDEO

Mark Fydrich – If you aren’t old enough to remember Cassious Clay becoming Mohammed Ali, then you probably won’t remember Mark “The Bird” Fydrich either.  In this sales call, Fydrich, the new guy, cleaned his prospect’s desk and just kept talking to the prospect as if he was telling the prospect how he was going to sell to him.  It worked and he got the deal. Then, he started jumping up and down, thanking the customer, his competitors and even his sales manager.  VIDEO

Billy Crystal – What’s he doing here?  If you read his book or are a Yankees fan, you would know that Crystal signed a one-day contract with the Yankees and as a 60-year-old, actually had an at-bat against the Pirates in a spring training game.  That means I still have 1-year for the Red Sox to sign me for a day.  Come on Ben Cherrington, give me an at-bat!  So Billy is on this sales call and he’s presenting to an entire leadership team, telling stories and making his prospects laugh.  Then he starts picking on and teasing each of the leaders, and the prospects can’t stop laughing.  He leaves with the deal and a standing ovation.  They start chanting his name and he comes back and upsells them for an add-on to his deal.  VIDEO

I could have included Michael, Lebron, Larry or Magic for the basketball fans.  I could have included Orr, Gretsky, Howe, or Lemieux for the hocky fans.  And I wouldn’t even know where to start for my friend, Ray, and all the soccer fans.  Golf?  Tiger would sleep with his prospect’s wife.

Personalities are a big part of selling, but most people don’t know how to use their personalities.  If you are a long-time reader, then you know when I mention personality, it’s usually to assault a personality assessment being used to assess salespeople.  Not today.  Today, I will treat you with some advice on sales personalities!

Salespeople need to know the environments and scenarios in which they can thrive:

Are they most effective when face-to-face or on the phone?  One-on-one or in a group?  Selling consultatively or presenting to a group?

In which mode are they most authentic?  When being Funny? Technical? Educational? Consultative? Serving?

From a chemistry standpoint, who in a company are they most comfortable with?  The C-Suite? Middle Management?  Users?  Buyers? Technical folks?

In which part of the sales cycle can they use the various parts of their personality to their best advantage?  Breaking the ice?  Lowering resistance?  Asking questions?  Establishing credibility? Closing?  Following up?

Sit with your salespeople and attempt to identify some of their best qualities and match them up with some of the requirements of their sales role to determine how you can more consistently put them in a scenario to succeed.