Category Archives: Sports Stories

Are You Just A Perimeter Player?

bigstock-A-young-basketball-player-shoo-41654965

In sports like hockey, football and basketball, certain athletes get tagged with the name “perimeter player”. They mainly shoot from the outside, or in the case of football, only catch the ball near the sidelines. They play it safe, and stay away from the “dirty” dangerous areas. They can still score from the outside, but are missing other opportunities to score.

In sales, most well-adjusted reps have the ability to:

  • Sell more products to their most satisfied customers
  • Sell to a prospect who has all but pulled out a purchase order number and said “I’m buying!”
  • Take over and succeed in a territory that is already on “auto-pilot”

That would be described as perimeter play.

What about getting in to the “dirty”, dangerous areas?

These reps have the ability to:

  • Put together action plans and succeed in getting struggling accounts back on track
  • Get in front of dissatisfied customers, and fix problems face-to-face
  • Make difficult decisions to drop underperforming accounts that will never thrive
  • Succeed in spite of lack of leadership and never make excuses

My favourite analogy for this type of work is always related to hockey,

“Who is willing to go in to the corner, get hit by a bigger player, and still come out with the puck?”

The perimeter players, will let up, and watch somebody else complete the difficult tasks.

The perimeter players may still have a long career, but be just average. If you are looking for average, then you must be ok playing it safe. The repeated overachiever, who is always looking to improve never hesitates and welcomes the difficult tasks on route to massive success!

The questions are:

How badly do you want it?

And….

How “dangerous” are you willing to be?

Only you will know the answer. It’s your choice!

Advertisements

It Is NOT All About You!

bigstock-Angry-Man-5718877

Recently my son decided that he did not want to play ice hockey this year. He was more interested in Tai Kwon Do and wanted to give it a try. My wife and I had several conversations with him to see if there was another underlying reason he wanted to stop playing “Canada’s National Sport”, but his passions just seemed to lie elsewhere.

Our stomachs initially felt weird thinking about missing all the great friends that we had made over the two winters while Elliot played hockey. I also felt sad about not coaching anymore because I really enjoyed being involved with the kids, and seeing them progress every time they laced about the skates.

My wife and I soon had a reality check. It is NOT about us. It is about our son and his happiness. We are going to support him 100% in whatever he chooses to do in life.

My thoughts quickly turned to the sales profession. So often people get caught up in their own agendas, goals and motivations, that they tend to forget that they are supposed to be acting in the best interests of customers and/or prospects.

  • Remember the great quote from Frank Tyger,

“Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble”.

Don’t just “barf” your sales pitch on them.

Find out what they really want to buy!

I would love to hear your thoughts about a time that a sales rep acted in your best interests, or maybe a time that they did not.

How quickly from the start of an interaction did you know if it would be a good experience or not?

Thanks in advance for your contributions!

One last thing… I would love to connect on Facebook (if we are not already) at http://www.facebook.com/SellLeadSucceed

The Five Star 5 – Your Life Can Change In A Split Second!

I was thinking about the Canadian Olympic sprinters the other day, and hoped that they were doing well. Here is a post from last August that really meant something to me. Life can change at a moment’s notice. Are you able to handle the ups and downs?

I love sports, always have, always will. Sometimes I get too emotionally involved in the outcomes. One of those times occurred last Saturday when Canada participated in the 4X100 meter men’s relay final at the London Olympics. I had not heard of one Canadian sprinter since Donovan Bailey and company won gold in the relay 16 years ago in Atlanta! But I heard these guys were young, confident and ready to make some noise behind the Americans and Jamaicans.

The Jamaicans killed it again led by Usain Bolt, and the US finished second. But on an incredible last 100 meters, the anchor sprinter for Canada moved up from 5th place to 3rd, and they finished with a bronze medal. OR SO THEY THOUGHT.

Shivers ran over all over my body as I watched the boys celebrate with true elation on the track. Memories rushed back to me off the great wins Canada had in the past on the track. But in a cruel twist of fate only minutes later, they looked up at the scoreboard to see that they were disqualified. One of the runners had stepped on his inside lane line which is illegal. Those smiled quickly turned to tears, and the same people that they had been celebrating with on the sidelines only minutes before, were now consoling them. Shame on the officials for posting them in the bronze position before all the video was reviewed.

Life can change for you at a moment’s notice (literally) and you have to be ready for anything. In this case, unfortunately for our incredible track athletes, it was a game of less than inches. The outpouring of support for the guys and their coach from Canada has been incredible. When they start competing again they WILL be on the podium, and I fully expect them to get a medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Here is a link to a newspaper article on their story:

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/08/11/canadian-4×100-team-disqualified-following-third-place-finish

5 things that I learned from this experience:

  1. You can be incredibly close to massive success and still have it ripped away from you. How you respond is the key.
  2. You win as a team, and you lose as a team. Support each other unconditionally.
  3. Never discount the benefits that come from an experience, no matter how negative it is perceived at the time.
  4. As much as it hurts, the sting always goes away.
  5. Keep smiling, have fun doing what you love, believe in yourself, and visualize the massive success that you will achieve in the future

I Remember…

For those of you who are sports fans, you will be able to relate if I told you that I lost my favourite team once. It does not matter what sport you follow and franchise you love, but if your favourite team has ever moved, you will know what it feels like.  If this has not happened to you, you can imagine the horror of your athletic celebrities “packing up for greener pastures”.

Sports does not define me, and I would not categorize myself a sports junkie. But I certainly love hockey, and have followed closely since my parents took me to my first Winnipeg Jets hockey game in 1979.

The team left for financial reasons in 1996, and the loss ripped the heart out of the city. Over the last 15 years, Winnipeg has made great strides moving forward, and as an added bonus, another NHL hockey franchise relocated there last May! My wife teased me on a regular basis during the 13 years that we have been together, because I continued to wear my Jets stuff, and never stopped believing that the team would be back.

My son is so excited, and the prospects of us going to a game together this year is a dream come true.

Last September before the start of the regular season, I woke up in the middle of the night once. I had a dream that I should write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. I wanted to share my memories of the old team growing up in Winnipeg and express my gratitude to the new owners for bringing “version 2.0” back!

So I ran downstairs to the computer and came up with this in the middle of the night! I have attached the link to the newspaper article below. My letter is about half way down.

It starts with “I remember my first Jets game in 1979”

glory-days-have-arrived-have-your-say-131439293.html

You don’t have to know the people, places or references in this post, to know how much I love my team. When I need a break from reality, and the rigours of daily life, it makes me happy beyond belief that my team is back and I get to watch them again this time with my son!

I was stunned to see the paper the day after the first game last October 9th. My letter to the editor was dead centre of the page in a special inaugural season “Winnipeg Jets Edition”. What a thrill and honour that was!

If you put your mind to something, who knows what can happen. Now I have an incredible keepsake for the rest of my life!

Living Your Dream? Ask One-Handed Pitcher Jim Abbott

I had some time to reflect as I washed the dishes over the weekend 🙂 I was thinking about living your dreams, and how anything is possible, no matter what the circumstances. My thoughts quickly turned to one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott.  If you followed baseball in the ’80’s and 90’s you will probably remember him. If you did not, the story still provides very valuable lessons.

Not convinced that you can do anything that you put your mind to? Take some time to watch this video and check out Jim’s website at http://www.jimabbott.net/

This is great sharing material! Have a fantastic week…

Sophie Gustafson’s Acceptance Speech – LPGA Award

When I came across this video last Sunday I stopped in my tracks. I had to watch it immediately. Sophie Gustafson has a severe stutter, and pre-recorded this video for an awards presentation for the Ladies Professional Golf Association recently. It is very difficult to put in to words how I felt while I was watching it, and after. I felt many emotions for Sophie during her speech, and after I was just plain proud of her. As some of you know, I have battled a stuttering issue all of my life, but NOTHING compared to what she had to endure.

She is an inspiration to anyone managing a speech issue, and an inspiration for anyone battling anything for that matter! It is easy to let our challenges stop us from doing what we really love to do, but Sophie has proven no matter how difficult things may be, you can still do everything you want to in life. Share this blog post however you like, but please take a moment today to share it!

Rick Reilly from ESPN.com wrote a wonderful piece on this story and you can check it out here:

http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7782160/sophie-gustafson-courage

Training Camp Speech – Tom Renney, Edmonton Oilers Hockey Coach

For those of you who do not already know, I am a hockey fanatic! I have loved the sport since I went to my first NHL game in 1979. I not only watch it on TV and live at arenas; I have played most of my life. Now I am enjoying coaching my 5 year old son as well.

There are many parallels between sports and business, and I absolutely love this training camp speech given by Tom Renney of the Edmonton Oilers to all of the hopefuls in 2011. Take it at face value in the context of sports, but also think specifically about sales, leadership and business in general. I have included the main part of his conversation with the players below:

“What could the obstacles be for our own success?

  • If you are not willing to sacrifice
  • If you are not willing to put yourself out there
  • If you are not willing to lose a bit of yourself in order to make this team better, in order to help all of us win

If your expectations are just to go out and do your best. If you think good enough is good enough, then quite honestly you won’t be here. This is a process now where you are not just sitting on top of the stove, the element has been turned on. There is nothing like winning, and there is nothing like doing something together that nobody thought you could do.

Pay attention to why you are here. This is not just good enough anymore.

You are here to make a statement on behalf of the Edmonton Oilers. If you want to be a champion, take a championship attitude to your game every day, in no matter what you are doing, and we will be fine.

Hold your self accountable, and be ready to go to work.” – Tom Renney, Edmonton Oilers head coach via the Oil Change TV series

I have also seen this phrase in their dressing room several times and just love it,

“Relentless Together”

Doug Gilmour, NHL Hall of Famer, has a saying that I have been thinking about a lot over the past few months,

“A man shows what he is by what he does with what he has”

Being part of any team is a special experience.

Are you performing your assigned role with 100% effort?

If not, time to step up your game!