I’ve always viewed myself as mildly addicted to football.

My wife would say I’m obsessed with football, but we won’t touch that.

This year I finally took my addiction to a new level by joining a fantasy football league.  I felt with my knowledge of the game, I would do quite well.  Now with the season nearing the end, let me share with you what I’ve learned and, more importantly, how it applies to sales.

First off, I felt because I thought I was smart, I would do quite well and wouldn’t have to spend much time on it.  Big mistake! After 3 weeks, I had notched zero wins and 3 losses.

I started thinking how that is just like it is in sales.  Anyone who has been in sales for a long time feels they know everything and, therefore, don’t need to take time to prepare for a call.   Just like in fantasy football, not preparing in sales is a big mistake.

Second thing I noticed is the need to connect with others who know more than me.  For fantasy football. this meant I needed to go to a real expert — my son.   After laughing at me for who I had on my team, he quickly began making some moves for me — and guess what? The next week I won my first game.

Lesson learned: Never feel you’re beyond looking for assistance.

In sales, we all become better when we reach out and connect with other experts. This sure raises the importance of networking and associating with other sales experts.

Third thing I learned is my knowledge of football was more about an entire team than the individual players on the team.

Until I began looking at the individual players and their stats, there was no way I was going to be successful in my fantasy league.

Lesson learned for sales:  We need to examine each step in our sales process.

Too many times when we aren’t able to close a sale and even when we do close a sale, we fail to look at what we did right and where we could improve.  If we expect to win in a fantasy league, we need to look at individual players; in sales, we need to look at individual selling steps.

Fourth lesson is stuff happens, games don’t always go as expected and to win in fantasy football it takes the right balance of players to offset what could happen.

Lesson learned for sales: We need to be prepared for anything and everything that could happen.

Fifth lesson I learned was players get injured and you better be able to have a player you know you can put on your team quickly to ensure you have a full team.

Lesson learned for sales: Customers can cancel appointments, change order dates and a number of other things.

If you want to win in fantasy football and in sales, you have to be ready with the contingency plan if you want to make your objective.

Sixth lesson: Fantasy football is all about who you’re playing that week.  Several times I felt I had a great team, just to get smacked by some stud my opponent had who played a lights-out game on Sunday or Monday night after I thought I had the game won.

Lesson learned: You can have an amazing business proposition for your customer, but in the end it’s what they think and it’s what they need. In sales, we have to remember each sale is an individual sale to an individual customer.

We must be ready for anything they throw at us.

Seventh lesson I learned is that momentum creates momentum. Once I started winning a few games, it was amazing how much more I got into the entire process.  Momentum creates momentum in both fantasy football and in sales.

Part way through the season, I talked to one of the other fantasy team “owners” — an owner who had lost the vast majority of their games.   The person had lost complete interest in their fantasy team and had thrown in the towel.

We’ve all seen this in sales — a salesperson who can’t close a sale allows the one setback to turn into a series of setbacks.  Conversely, the one who closes a couple of sales soon closes even more.  Momentum builds momentum.

The final lesson I learned is there’s always next year for fantasy football, and when it begins we’ll all be in the same place, 0-0.  How does this apply to sales? It’s not what we did last quarter or last month; it’s all about what we’re going to do today.

Yes, fantasy football does have a lot in common with sales.

Since there is a lot we can learn from fantasy football that will help us in sales, we’ll just have to say it’s acceptable to work our line-ups during the “sales day.”  Wow…did I really just say that?  Hmmm, I guess it means I’m feeling good about my fantasy team.

Have you taken our quick sales survey yet?!   It’s super easy. Your opinion matters!

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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