Are you reviewing game film to improve sales?
The connection between study and greatness
If there’s one thing that every great athlete and coach has in common, it’s an obsession with game film. Peyton Manning is legendary for both his time spent studying tape and his uncanny ability to remember even the most minute details from those film sessions. Likewise, tales of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick locked away in dark film rooms till the wee hours of the night have also reached mythic status.
“And the biggest reason [Brady and Belichick] have won four championships together and may be remembered as the sport’s greatest coach and quarterback tandem might just be those video sessions that have taught Brady to look at the game a different way,” wrote Les Carpenter of the Guardian.
The connection between study and greatness
In the case of Manning and Brady, you have two of the greatest QBs, both spending inordinate amounts of time dwelling over every last detail of their craft — time that most people in their situations would spend elsewhere.
Is this phenomenon just a symptom of the supremely competitive spirit or an essential ingredient in the recipe for greatness?
We would argue the latter based on our half-century of combined sales experience. In all our years of observing and coaching sales professionals, we’ve found that the very best managers and reps take the time to study “game film.”
Of course, “game film” takes a decidedly less literal form in sales. Because most clients would rather not be filmed while doing their jobs, sales professionals must rely on their memories to serve as their “game film .” Therefore, it’s crucial to review the outcome of each sales call as quickly as possible.
Again and again, we see sales managers accompany their reps on sales calls, only to let days or weeks go by before discussing the call. And over the course of those days or weeks, most if not all the essential details have been forgotten. The most effective sales coaches will begin to review the film almost immediately after ending the sales call — often in the car on their way back to the office, at the coffee shop, or on the flight back to home base.
However, the value of film review isn’t determined solely by how quickly it’s done. It also depends on the types of things a coach is analyzing. To help guide your future film review, here’s a list of five essential questions for every post-call film session:
- Did you achieve the intended call objective? Why or why not?
- How effective were you at setting the agenda, confirming the time, and obtaining their feedback?
- How did the customer respond to your insights and questions? What action did it provoke?
- Did you get sponsorship for clear next steps as an outcome of the call?
- Do you have clear owners and due dates for each activity?
There are many more questions that a coach can ask to help analyze the call and guide their reps. However, many of these questions are dependent upon the specific client and unique details of each call. Just as in sports, though, the best sales coaches know what specific factors to put under the magnifying glass to help their reps improve their game.
Study Before, After, and Always
The game film isn’t only about the post-game recap. In many ways, the even more critical element is the pre-game prep. Whether it’s the NCAA or NFL, every team studies film of their upcoming opponent before each game. They learn their offensive sets and tendencies in specific situations and identify their weaknesses.
In sales, as in football, preparation is a key to winning. Before each sales call, managers and reps should study their prospects carefully, understanding key industry trends, strategic objectives, and the backgrounds of their key decision-makers. Sales professionals should also take time to prepare pointed and relevant questions to ask their prospects. Good call planning and the discipline of sales preparation lead to winning plays come game time (i.e., your sales meetings).
Like in football, sales is about grinding your way towards success — one first-down, one lead, one milestone at a time. But, of course, the most outstanding sales professionals won’t win every deal — just as the most significant players don’t score on every play. So, sales leaders should watch football this season (as if you weren’t going to anyway). Although we’ve focused on film study here, we feel there are many more sales insights to be gleaned from the gridiron. And in the worst-case scenario, you get a great new excuse to watch some more football this season.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself and your sales team ahead of kickoff –
- Is reviewing game film a habit for you?
- Are you and your managers using the film to learn and develop following sales calls?
- What does call preparation look like for you and your team?
- How is your team using preparation and call planning to have more effective sales meetings?
Share your own sales experiences and insights in the comments section below. Or you can connect with the Kodiak Group on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ or click the button to speak with one of our partners.