For those that know me, you can count on one hand the number of sports analogies and examples I’ve made in my lifetime. Not many. I usually get all of my sports updates through friends at work, so I’m rarely confident enough to use sports examples when training or writing. (Thank you to Dave for letting me know there is no such thing as a football bat.)
However, a story caught my attention back in October and it is too good not to share. It deserves some discussion.
Ben Reiter, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, penned an article about his meeting with the Houston Astros in 2014. At the time of the meeting the Astros had a horrible record and were getting ready for a host of changes. What’s interesting is that the Astros leadership team decided to set their sights, not on tomorrow’s game, but on 2017. They had a vision of more than incremental improvement; they wanted to win it all and become the World Series Champions! Ben writes that he left the meeting with enough material for a great article and a prediction that was the source for debate until November of this year.
Three things stuck out to me in this article: First, the Astros never claimed they’d reform overnight. They knew the road would be long and missteps could happen. Second, they did analysis. they measured stats and made adjustments accordingly. Third, using Mr. Reiter’s words: “They told everyone exactly what they were going to do- and then they did it.” Unbelievable!
As we think about Sales Planning for 2018, I think we can learn from the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros.
- Start with a vision of the future. What is the long game? Finish this phrase: “I want to be the number one________________ by producing/ delivering ________________by _____(Insert Date)_.” Of course you will have goals throughout the year but if you are going to break free of the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality, then you also have to be thinking about the future. When you win a top performer award, no one will care that June was a horrible month.
- Know your stats. What are the 5 or 6 metrics that will truly measure your performance? Can you measure them easily? Create a scoreboard and display it! Make adjustments as you need to. Don’t be discouraged if you lose a few games, focus on moving the stats longer term. Focus on out-playing the competition or catching a star performer in your company.
- Share your plan and get to work. Telling people your plans and goals not only cement them in your mind but will also create a positive pressure to perform. Sharing your plan may also get you some great feedback on performance, tips and advice on how to be more effective, and hopefully some encouragement. Everyone loves it when someone hits a goal, well…..except maybe the Dodgers.
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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!