What can sales professionals learn from Sunderland's great escape?

So they’ve done it! The black cats, pulled off what many people only a few weeks ago thought was the impossible - they have avoided relegation, retaining their place in the Premier league.

So what can sales professionals, sales teams, and sales managers learn from this incredible turn around, that can be adapted towards improving their sales skills and sales success?

Sales Professionals - 

Sometimes accepting that you aren’t the best at everything is difficult, but knowing your strengths and utilising them to the best of your ability can be just as effective. Take Lee Cattermole (defensive minded - Central Midfielder) for instance – he is not the most technically gifted of players, and is never going to dribble past defenders and bury a shot in the top corner. What he will do however is use his tackling ability, and determination to break up play, and look to play in his more attack minded team mates.

Knowing what you are great at isn’t the easiest thing to be aware of. Use your sales reviews and manager reviews effectively. Use these times to discuss with your manager or sales trainers how you and they believe you could best utilise your talents to improve your sales success. For instance, if your big strength is effective sales questioning, maximise this talent. When in a sales conversation open your mind, and use your effective questioning to not only look for the quick sale, but to bring in and question around cross/up selling opportunities, this slightest of changes could bring great reward.


Sales Teams –

Like any group of people, teams have big characters and personalities that need to work together to achieve success. Sunderland’s team is a mix of talented prospects and experienced veterans, that some might say are past their best. What they have managed to do over the last few months however, is utilise the leadership qualities they have within their ranks, to rally the troops and work together to achieve the common goal.

Implementing this same team mentality and togetherness within your sales team, can benefit both the individuals and the team as a whole. Ensure that you are making the most of your experienced staff, allowing them to share best practices, and help assist with keeping motivation high amongst your newer more inexperienced employees.


Sales Managers –

What Dick Advocat has done in such a little space of time with limited resources while brilliant, is not hocus pocus!

Dick Advocat (A.K.A the little general) has done a few simple things to take the confusion and complexity out of the task they faced, putting in place a formation (strategy) that has allowed him to get the most out of his better, more determined players. Advocat has also clearly been working on team spirit, pulling together and patching up the fractions that were appearing in the squad, in order to achieve the common goal.

Having a united team of focused individuals is the ideal for all managers, however we recognise that this is at times difficult. As a manager recognising individual’s talents and creating appropriate simplified tasks can vastly increase performance. This strategic approach takes the individuals thoughts and concerns of failure away, and allows them to see and focus on their strengths. The other key factor - team work is also something that if worked on correctly can be a massive boost. During training sessions, pre-match talks (start of the day buzz sessions) and half-time team talks (Afternoon team briefings) allow your team members to share successes and discuss overcoming common objections. This kind of team spirit not only improves knowledge, but unites the team on focusing on a common problem and goal.


Well done Sunderland AFC, and let’s hope your sales team is celebrating success shortly too!


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