It's only a Game

Most parents who are into their children’s sports tend to become emotionally involved and live vicariously through their children. As a youth baseball and hockey coach, I see and hear this unhealthy adult behavior at the baseball fields and the hockey rinks every year. I watch the parents find their way to their favorite grass spot, plunk down their folding chair, settle into their seats and try to fit their extra-large iced coffee into their folding chair’s small built-in cup holder.

The game starts with their child playing the hot corner at third base. The hitter makes his way to the plate and gets ready to play. Meanwhile the third baseman’s father is yelling out instructions to his son where to play third base, “Move back! Not that far back! Move to the right a little! A little more! A little more! More! That’s it!” By this time any and all parents that were sitting next to this person screaming at the top of his lungs has now moved to the opposite side of the field. The father doesn’t even notice that he has alienated himself and has socially labeled himself as a loud and obnoxious person. If you have never seen this, go to your local baseball field or hockey rink, but make sure you do not sit in a cluster of parents or stand near the rink boards, as this is often a favorite place for parents to bang on the glass to get their child’s attention and at the same time make a complete spectacle of themselves.

Like baseball and hockey, sales is also a game and it comes with its cast of characters. There are two teams that take the buying and selling field every day.

The buyer’s team is tough and aggressive. And sometimes this team plays dirty because it is in control, and wants to feel powerful and stay in command of the sale. On the other side of the field are the underdogs, the sellers, making their way onto the field. The sellers play great defense, they defend their price, talk a good game and sometimes they might even cut their price, which explains why their close rate is three for 10.

Professional, amateur, high school and youth athletes will tell you if asked, they perform and play better if they feel relaxed before and during the game. In today’s selling game the stakes are higher, the competition is greater and the pressure to sell is extremely high. This outside pressure often can cause sales people to become emotionally involved with their sales calls. Like the father who is screaming at his kid and making him feel like the dirt he is playing on, this added pressure will be felt by the buyers. When the buyer feels the nervous vibrations coming from the salesperson, the sales game is all but over. The buyer has the psychological advantage and will start to dismantle the salesperson’s game plan and will intellectually beat him up.
Relax, relax, relax, it’s only a game. If you show up to a sales call uptight and nervous, the buyer will be uptight and nervous. If you show up relaxed and confident, the buyer will have a good time. Remember you are a professional and you must behave in a professional manner, but that does not mean you have to be stiff, not funny, boring, put off or inhuman.

Remember, the salesperson cannot lose a sale on a sales call because he never had it to begin with. Lighten up. Do not take yourself too seriously, because in the big game of life, nobody else does.

Joseph Dellanno is the founder of my Design/Build Project, a Web communication application for design and build teams, and president of my Design/Build Coach, providing design/build business training exclusively for residential designers and building professionals. He is also president of Design Solutions Inc., a national design firm providing professional design/build companies award-winning design services. Dellanno can be reached at (781) 648-5548 or Read his past columns at Read Joe’s blog on Look for Blog Zone and click Dellanno Docket.