“Get some chalk on your boots”

I’m a big fan of “real football,” otherwise known in America as soccer. (The story of why it’s called soccer in America is quite interesting.)

There’s a beautiful phrase in the sport that can easily translate into the business of selling, “Get some chalk on your boots.” It refers to the need to spread the play to the edges of the pitch, don’t concentrate in the middle, and let the game come to you rather than spending too much energy going to the ball all the time.

In sales, a common problem (especially for a salesperson that has had some success) is rushing into the sales pitch and trying to close the deal too hard and too fast. It all stems from confidence or maybe a bit of over-confidence. They push, they push again, they try another angle, and they don’t give up. They’re not letting the sale come to them.

As a result, the buyer gets fatigued. And that results in negative energy the next time that sales rep walks through the door.

It’s a tricky balance, but there is a time and a place for stepping back and letting the sale come to you. 

How do you know when to get some chalk on your boots in a sales transaction?

  1. Do you feel yourself pushing too hard? Have you had a streak of unsuccessful sales calls that you’re trying to solve through more energy, more talking, and more pushing?
  2. Do you sense the buyer resisting? Are they sending non-verbal cues such as an open hand held up signaling “stop already!”?
  3. Is your energy getting sapped faster than it used to during a sales day?

If you feel yourself pushing too hard too often, try stepping back a bit in the sales transactions for a week and see what happens. You’re still in the game; you’re still positioning yourself for success. You’re just not attacking full force during every moment on the pitch. Let the ball come to you.

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