“It is Awesome with a Capital A baby!”-Dick Vitale
March Madness is here. College basketball’s final frontier. It is a final exam for 68 teams, all with one goal in mind. (Yes even the teams that are 16 seeds do play with the mindset that they can beat anyone.)
And if you aren’t excited yet about what the tournament has in store for us just listen to a little animation and excitement from my personal favorite CBS March Madness announcer GUS JOHNSON!
For these teams though this tournament is simply about one thing: closing the deal.
Just like in business you need to be well prepared, ready to execute under pressure, and have the confidence and team mentality that anything can happen if you put your minds together.
Last year in the Big East Tournament UCONN was the #9 seed, they won 5 games in 5 days and then ran through the NCAA Tourney to finish off as National Champs.
They prepared all year long, had ups and downs, but their goal never wavered and that team was prepared and battle tested and they were ready to go when the spotlight came on.
March Madness and the Workplace
In business much is the same. Nobody remembers the guy who had a great month in sales (say November for a college basketball season) and then rode the coattails of his past achievements the next six months and wound up getting bounced from his job (just like the over confident #4 seed that always loses to a #13) early into the next fiscal year.
You have to follow that great month up with more dedication and focus and lead that into another great month (December-February of a college basketball season) and get yourself prepared each time you step out and give a presentation.
It doesn’t matter how great of a product you have in business, if you can’t get up in front of your client and speak with confidence and sell them the idea then you LOSE and you might take the news that you didn’t get this piece of business as bad as Adam Morrison did when Gonzaga lost to a superior UCLA team in the Sweet 16 a few years back!
The March Madness team that is great on paper and with plenty of talent but can’t figure out the tenacity and teamwork issues will wind up being on the losing end of one of these SportsCenter clips if they aren’t careful. But it comes down to the same theory and working. If you can’t close you won’t win. Not in March Madness, not in Sports Business Madness. It won’t happen.
So what do these teams need to do to be ready just like you when you head to work?
Don’t take NO for an answer.
And by that I don’t mean be pushy. But expect to win. Expect it because you have prepared more than your competition. You know them inside out, you know your clients motives to purchase and you have an idea that will work so well for them that they simply won’t say NO. March Madness teams need plays that will exploit the oppositions weaknesses, they will know what type of defense will force the opponent into mistakes, etc.
That is what “Don’t take NO for answer” means. An ability to stack the deck in your favor by doing everything right before you tip off.
Be confident but not cocky.
There is a fine line between the two. The harder you work and the more passionate you are and believe in both yourself and your teammates will only build that confidence. If you expect to close or expect to win (knowing you will do through hard work) once again you are stacking the deck in your favor.
Be excited yet level headed and calm.
The best teams in the country are no different than the best sales guys out there in the business world. They are eager, fired up, and ready to go but they have a calmness and a level head that can be seen through every movement their body makes when it is coming up on game time. Tim Duncan is a great example of this in his demeanor, Coach K is another.
Defense wins championships, overcoming objections closes proposals.
Defense is something no one particularly wants to work at but when you do and can lock someone down in the half court, you more times than not find yourself hoisting that trophy. In business people do not care to rehearse and research possible objections the client may have BUT if you do and are better prepared to answer those objections with solid well thought out answers to them you will find youself getting Yes’s much more than “I will think about it” and “NO.” Defense is the dirty work that you need to put in to vault yourself to a championship level and overcoming objections is that version in the business world.
So how does it all play out?
March Madness is the final exam, the final presentation. The ones who have put in the work all year long to get ready for this moment are more likely to prevail. Wins in the regular season mean nothing. Sales in the business world that don’t contribute to your bottom line and goals are the same thing. You need a mental toughness and an edge to run yourself through a 6 (or now 7) game single elimination tournament.
The prep work has already been done, you are who you are and there is little time to change now. Just like in business you can’t flip the script in the middle of the presentation if you have not adequately gotten yourself and your team ready for that moment to deliver an A+ presentation!
March Madness is no different than the business world.
Prepare, put in the work before the game, mental toughness, teamwork, the right talent on the right team with the people cliqueing and playing off of one another. The sales game and the basketball game are one in the same.
68 Teams will enter…one will leave with their goal reached. Who doesn’t want to lay it all on the line and be that special team for ONE SHINING MOMENT?!
What else do you need to prevail in such a tense one and done situation like March Madness that has applications for the business world?? Post your comments on here and let us know and if you post one and send me your email address or twitter name I will email or link you to a list of the Top 10 Most Important Things To Do to Succeed in a 100% Commission Sales Job in Sports Business.