If I ever leave the wonderful world of speaking and training, surely the simplest, most lucrative job would be to open a Brown Paper Bag Shop outside FIFA headquarters.
Allegedly, the opportunities for high turnover, fat margins and never ending contracts would be sensational…..allegedly.
For most of us though, we seek to win business in a genuinely competitive, sincere way proving our worth to clients and winning sustainable business by delivering well.
However there are some key points we can learn from the juggernaut that is the FIFA World Cup without resorting to brown paper bags,
1. Winners want it more
Most winning pitches I see have a level of commitment far beyond See bid/Meet client/Present bid.
They don’t talk endlessly about their solutions filled with jargon and bum numbing slides.
They have their whole company behind the bid and they get on the training track for hours every day focused on differentiating, diagnosing and presenting.
You can’t win a major pitch turning up in a nice suit once or twice, putting in a cut and paste proposal and then spending half an hour rehearsing over your Weet-Bix the morning of the presentation.
Winners find a way to jump on planes to visit ALL the client sites and meet ALL the decision makers and influencers even when their company has a travel freeze.
Winners book an off site for two days, lock themselves up like sequestered juries away from the day to day to focus on how they will win.
Winners get budget and resources to ensure the client feels like Rihanna’s ‘You’re The Only Girl In The World’ (I have an 8 year old daughter – give me a break!)
Winners work harder than a Humility Facilitator at FIFA Headquarters.
2. You can only play one big match at a time
Ask Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney about what they focus on after Supermodels and Ferraris. (OK, not Rooney). It’s the play in front of them, not next week’s match.
Too many bids are lost because a sales team is trying to win multiple major bids simultaneously.
The Pre-Sales Gurus are often stretched to drinking point, flailing about like England supporters with delusions of grandeur.
Beyond transactional selling, it is very difficult for one person or team to win multiple major bids in the same timeframe.
No doubt, there are some of you who are throwing referee’s foam at your screen right now because you’ve done it.
Fifteen years of pitch consulting tells me those wins are as infrequent as a footballer who never rolls around like a three year old yelling ‘Hurty Knee’
Judicious qualification leads to selective bidding which increases hit rates dramatically. If you get to choose the matches you really want to play more often, you win more of them.
3. You need Tim Cahill
Every company has a Tim Cahill who has amazing commitment, tenacity, skill under pressure and endurance.
They just don’t all look like a plastic groom on a wedding cake like our Timmy.
Your Timmy or Timatha is the star you need to win that deal but egos, territories, commission schemes, yellow snow competitions and other nefarious motivators prevent people from putting him or her in to win the deal.
When you win, you have options over who gets credit, money and promotions. When you lose everyone skulks around the office blaming Roy Hodgson – it’s always the manager’s fault apparently.
Recriminations, backstabbing and more finger pointing than a goalkeeper on Columbian marching powder take the place of celebration and success.
Stick your best striker in the bid because s/he will jump over the tallest opposition and slam it home.
Then you’ll take the cup home, marry a Supermodel, relocate to a tropical tax haven with your own brown paper bags filled with cash and live happily ever after.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can win business selling to C Level join me in the Salient Executive Level Selling Program HERE.
As CEO of Salient Communication, Elliot is a sought after keynote speaker and corporate trainer who has coached and trained over 4000 people including CEOs, senior management and successful sales teams throughout Australasia and Asia including Hong Kong and Singapore.
Elliot is a specialist sales speaker for high profile corporates having spoken at over 1500 conferences, workshops and break-out sessions on presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.
He is renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.
Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children.