This weekend I had the opportunity to sit 5 rows behind my beloved Duke Blue Devils basketball team and directly in line with Coach K. Duke was playing the University of Maryland, which has historically been a very competitive match up. I have been to several games in the past, but this one was special as my nephew, Greg – who is a big Duke fan himself – was recently accepted into the Naval Officers program and it was a celebratory event. He wanted to see a game in Cameron and I wanted to watch Coach K and his managing of a game. Heck – I run the commercial real estate industry’s biggest and, may I say, best, coaching organization so I am a student of any coaching similarities I can find.
As the game progressed I found several elements that tie directly to our business and to yours as commercial real estate professionals.
The warm up – We don’t go into a pitch or a presentation without ample preparation and practice. Even though you may have given a similar pitch, phone call or speech several times in the past, it doesn’t mean you can wing it and expect perfection. I am sure Jabari Parker, Duke’s top freshman and major NBA prospect knows how to dunk, but yet he as dunking in warm ups. It wasn’t a coincidence that he had a thundering game-changing dunk in the final minute of the game; he had practiced that move thousands of times if not more.
The Game Plan – Everyone has a game plan. At least, everyone we coach. You need to know how to set up your year, your month, your week and your day – every day. Some days will not go as planned. Duke had a game plan, but as it turns out they had their worse shooting performance of the year. Simply put, their shots weren’t falling. When the same happens to you – your shots aren’t falling – what do you do? You adjust.
YOU HAVE TO WANT IT – After halftime, a normal phase of Duke Basketball games where Duke comes out more focused and makes one of their patented runs. Uncharacteristically, things went the opposite way and Maryland gained the momentum. Coach K called a time out, and stared down at his team and assertively and passionately repeated these five words, again and again and again. You Have to Want It! Shortly thereafter momentum shift back to the Blue Devils. Do you “want it”, do you have the passion to set a vision and make it happen? Losing momentum in sales happens – no one is perfect. You need to have a clear vision and passion to get the momentum back on your side.
Get Creative – The “Cameron Crazies” – Dukes’ student section – are known for their creativity. During the game one student held up a “Maryland Stinks” sign while wearing a gas mask. He wore that darn mask throughout the entire game. And it gets hot in Cameron! No offense to the University of Maryland, this is just a creative example, albeit at their expense. From a sales perspective, we must be creative. Why did this student stick out in a sea of blue? Because he was different. Obviously you don’t want to offend anyone in your marketing or sales approach – that’s just wrong. But how are you promoting your difference to your audience?
Everyone needs advice – The picture inserted in this blog, taken by yours truly, is my favorite. It shows two of the better college basketball players on the planet looking at their coach for instructions, and Coach K – the one with the BIG championship ring on his finger- instructing them what play to run. Regardless of your level of success, freshman or senior, new-to-business or top producer, you need a mentor, a coach, or an advisor. Someone to share how you can get better, make more sales, close more deals or work within the framework of a team. If you don’t have one, you are simply going at it alone. So many of your successful peers have leveraged others for their personal success – who are you leveraging?
Despite being heavy favorites, Duke managed to barely pull out another victory at Cameron. Sometimes it takes more than what you expect to win a client, but then it is seemingly more satisfying. Follow these five perspectives and you will certainly win more than you lose.
Cameron Crazies photo courtesy of the News and Observer