Inch by Inch – How to claw your way to success

One of the most inspirational speeches that I’ve ever seen is Al Pacino’s “Inch By Inch” speech from the movie Any Given Sunday (see it on YouTube). I use it in many of my sales and marketing seminars.

Allow me to share with you a few of the powerful phrases from his speech. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in both games, life or football, the margin for error is so small. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. Because we know that when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the f#%*ing (censored) difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.”

Why are these words so powerful, because Pacino could easily have been talking about sales? Selling is also a game of inches. Sales people win or lose by the narrowest of margins on opportunities each and everyday. The winner gets the spoils, the loser nothing, except an opportunity to learn, reassess and practice resilience. These lessons aside, winning is so much better.

The upside is that in the competitive sales world of complex sales opportunities, the inches we need are everywhere around us. Most people quit when they are inches from the proverbial try line of success. How many sales people:

  • Give up after they are rejected the first time? Practice resilience, believe that NO means NOT NOW! It takes seven NO’s before you should feel that a customer is probably not going to buy from you.
  • Effectively articulate and demonstrate the true benefits and value of their product or service offering? Are you educating prospects with new ideas and initiatives? This could be the inch that you are missing between failure and success.
  • Clearly demonstrate a potential return on investment? Your ability to quantify the impact and paint a clear, persuasive, and believable picture of the results you can achieve for buyers is the foundation to all your sales success. When you achieve this, then the decision maker is in no doubt that they must buy from you.
  • Listen to prospects. Do you actively listen to buyers by asking engaging questions and following up with documents that demonstrate your understanding? This is probably the number one differentiator that separates winners from second-place finishers.

I can attribute so much of my personal success in selling, negotiating and persuasion to the above four factors. These factors show me where the vital inches are and what I need to do to ensure that they fall into my hands. “Because we know that when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the f#%*ing difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING and between SELLING and BEING OUTSOLD.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

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