posted: Friday, January 11, 2013

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I’ve always watched Peyton Manning from a distance, but watching him up close this season has reminded me of a couple of important lessons in the field of sales.

The first one is focus; Manning is the most focused athlete I’ve ever seen and that can certainly be translated to sales. No matter how many games he wins, Manning never loses focus on what’s next. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing the best team or the worst team; his focus remains the same. As a salesperson, the focus should remain the same for every single customer. Some customers will buy more, some will buy less; but that cannot matter to the salesperson. Their focus has to remain the same; every customer deserves that.

The other thing that has impressed me about Manning is his preparation. It’s second to none. I’m not going to tell any salesperson to go to his level; I want you to have a life, but the lesson is still a good one. Manning has seen every defense, every blitz and every formation thousands of times, but he still prepares as if he is a rookie. Whether you are a new salesperson or a veteran, preparation is always a must. It’s an obvious need for the new salesperson, but the veteran can always learn something new.

If you get to the point where you think you know everything and don’t need to prepare, that’s how you get into trouble. Sales is always changing, customers are always changing and it is the salespeople who are prepared that will best be able to keep up with those changes.

The last thing that I want to mention is this: Manning prepares hard and then the game is fun. The game is fun because he’s ready, and now it is just a matter of executing. If a salesperson takes the necessary time to prepare, then the interaction with the customers becomes the fun part. The best salespeople are the ones who are having fun with their customers. Selling should never be work, it should be fun. Manning has spent a lifetime teaching football lessons; who knew they applied to sales as well.

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