I was reading an article in Sports Illustrated by Boomer Esiason (the ex-NFL Cincinnati Bengals quarterback) and he was breaking down what makes Peyton Manning such a great quarterback.
He discussed specifically how, on November 17th of this season when Payton was playing the undefeated Chiefs, Peyton was challenged with surviving a defense that was leading the league in sacks. Boomer says:

“Pundits were saying how that K.C. pass rush was going to get to him, that this would really be a disaster for Peyton. But from the first snap, he knew right where he was going with the ball, he knew exactly what coverages he was seeing, and he took so much pressure off his line that the defense had no chance to get to him.”

K.C. didn’t get to Manning even once that night, and when the game was over, K.C. had its first loss of the season.
Boomer goes on to make a crucial point: When you truly understand the game of football, it’s turns out to be a simple game. To quarterbacks and players who haven’t taken the time to really learn it, to study it and adapt to it, it’s a fast paced game and one you often just react it.

But when you’re committed like Peyton is, you can literally slow the game down and control it. Once you do that, you realize it’s really a simple game.
And in sales, it’s exactly the same.
Many sales teams and reps I work with find that the selling process – the prospecting/qualifying call, the demo call, the closing call, etc., all seem to happen very fast. They are often overwhelmed during each of these calls and miss asking important questions or lose control of the situation. They then become frustrated and struggle to catch up.

Boomer goes on to report that as a veteran himself, he also knew how to slow the game down and perform at the highest level. He says:
“I also had a crystal-clear understanding of what was happening on the field. I could process the game so quickly – call a play, get to the line, audible immediately, read the defense, work through my progressions, find the open man. I was like an old pitcher who could no longer throw 95, but who knew from ages of experience what he had to do to get the job done.”

And it’s the same in sales.
All top producers understand this analogy to sales. When you listen to a top producer’s recording, what is immediately apparent is their complete understanding of what is happening during the call. They, too, can process the situation quickly – and ask the right question, get to the appropriate comeback, read the prospect, work through their responses and find the opening they need to direct the call or handle potential objections.

As Boomer says next, “…but in every game his (Peyton’s) mental capacity is clearly so much higher than everybody else’s that it appears he has the answers to the test before he takes it.”
Peyton’s preparation, commitment, and study of the game allow him slow the game down and control and dominate it. His work habits are legendary. Boomer used to joke with Frank Reich – Peyton’s quarterback coach for several years with the Colts – that coaching Peyton had to be the easiest job in the world because of how much work he puts in. Frank disagreed:

“To the contrary, Boomer, this is the hardest job in the league. Peyton’s the most demanding player. From the moment I walk in, I have to have certain film clips ready; I have to be ready to talk over and over about what’s happening on the field, trying to foresee things that might happen. He has a relentless desire to be great.”

To be great in sales, you also have to put in the time, invest in the resources, and commit to learning the skills and tools you need to succeed. But once you do, the game of sales slows way down. It becomes easy for you to identify qualified and interested prospects and you immediately know exactly how to take them through the sale and win the deal.

It’s one of the most satisfying and exhilarating feelings in the world, and I hope it’s one that you have a relentless desire to experience, too.

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