Bowe Bergdahl, The Triple Crown and Sales

What a great weekend! Two wine dinners and two 80 degree sunny beach days! Does it get better than that?

Unless you live under a rock, you're probably aware of the Bowe Bergdahl 'controversy'. I'm not gonna write about should we negotiate, trade, etc. or whether he's a traitor or hero. I only want to talk about the sales lesson. Politicians are salespeople. We are their prospects. Some of us only pay attention to their platform, i.e. raising/lowering taxes, creating jobs, lowering debt or interest rates, immgration, welfare, yada, yada and we vote based on the candidate's promises. Some of us also pay attention to the person, i.e. Does he/she think like me? Does he/she understand my world? Does he/she have the expertise to help? Have I accepted the candidate as a trusted advisor? Here's why that's important. When a candidate runs for office, they can't anticipate every situation that they're going to have to face during their term of office. So, we should vote for the person that we believe will handle unforseen situations the way we would want them handled. So, the only question that you should ask is did President Obama handle this situation the way that you would want it handled?

Now, from the sales perspective, some of us get all wrapped up in telling our prospects how we'll handle the stuff that we know will happen, but how many sales do we lose because our prospect doesn't trust us to handle the stuff that is unforseen? Focus on gaining trust rather than making promises. You'll get more votes sales.

Another big story this weekend, was California Chrome and the Triple Crown. Steve Coburn was understandably upset after the race, but seriously, "Not fair because some horses don't run in all three races?" The path to the Triple Crown isn't a round robin or a double elimination. Horses and jockeys show up and race. How many years has this been going on? How many Triple Crown winners have there been? How many horses won two of the three races? Seriously, how many gold medals does Michael Phelps have? Did he swim against the same swimmers every time? How many batters have hit for the cycle against different pitchers because the other manager is trying to win the game? How about the pitcher that has a perfect game despite the fact that the other manager puts his best batters in trying to break the shutout?

No whining. We should know what the rules are before we start. Play hard. Play smart. Win. Lose. Do it again. Better next time. No poor sportsmanship.

So, what sales lesson can we learn from Calfornia Chrome? Nothing, but his owner can teach us about taking responsibility and overcoming obstacles. Steve Coburn knew that most of the horses running in the Belmont Stakes would not be contenders for the Triple Crown well before he entered Calfornia Chrome in the race. Did he figure out how to win against fresher horses? If he did not, he should take responsibility for not doing everything that he could to win and try harder nest time. We need to uncover and understand everything that's preventing our prospect from doing business with us and fix it if we can or not enter the race and if we cannot uncover the real reason or fix it, then we have to take the responsibility for not getting the deal done. We cannot blame it on the economy, our supplier, our customer, politics, or anything else.

So, what do you think? Want to talk about it?

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