High School Football & 4th Quarter Sales

The other night, as I watched my son play high school football I had no idea that what I would witness would prompt me to write a business blog post.  I had never really thought about the correlation between football and my business before. But now that we are approaching the fourth quarter of the year, I decided I had to share the story. (Disclaimer: I am not a sports reporter or sports journalist. I’m sure googling ‘Alexandria MN Football SportsCenter’ will give you a better account of what happened.)

It was the fourth quarter of the game and we were trailing 16-7 and were on our 3rd down. Of course, all of us parents in the stands were hoping our team could score again when one of those crazy amazing plays happened … the kind of play where about three things had to go wrong for something great to transpire. It started with a bad snap, then a not-so-smart pass, followed by a missed opportunity by the defense and then a catch in the end zone by one of our receivers to score! The parents in the stands couldn’t believe it. Our eyes were wide and we all joked that we wished we had a big screen where we could see a replay because that play was insane. So insane in fact, we later learned that a video had been taken by our local sports writer and that video went viral. Sports Center, ESPN and Sunday Night Football all picked up the clip. It was shared by Sports Center on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. ESPN’s Top 10 aired it on television and it was the Sunday Night Spotlight Play during half-time of the Bears vs. Packers game.

Our high school football team got their 15 seconds of fame. The caption on the play was ‘Just how they drew it up.’ That caption right there got me thinking. In business and in life we make goals and we strive for success, yet many times things don’t work out exactly how we draw them up. Successful people learn to get creative and learn that giving up is not an option.

Our business year is four quarters, just like a football game. We come out of the gates January 1 and try our best to reach all our first quarter goals, during the second quarter we try to at least maintain if not increase – our half-time is when we take a vacation and then we’re in the third quarter. We must either protect our gains or catch up to make up for our losses. By the fourth quarter it’s time to seal the deal. We need to come out ahead and if things aren’t working we have to get creative.

In the fourth quarter we tend to reach deep down in our bag of tricks and pull out the most creative plays we can think of to finish the year strong. And our plays may not be executed exactly how we drew them up but if they result in a successful outcome we must celebrate them. If we get knocked down, we must get back up. If things aren’t going our way, we must persevere. Our time will come, as long as we keep trying – there is no doubt in my mind that where there is a will there is a way. The way may not be exactly what we drew up …. but there is a way.

Our quarterback that night didn’t give up on the bad snap, he chased it down when he could’ve just laid on it to protect a fumble. He knew that we were down and the only way to salvage the play was to throw it in the end zone. At this point in the game … we fumble we lose – we throw an interception we lose – we try nothing we lose. There was still one way to win – there is always a way to win. It may not be the most obvious, smartest or safest way, but there is a way.  That touchdown followed by the extra point gave us a score of 16-14. After a few key stops by our defense and a field goal by our kicker we won 17-16!

Now that we are approaching our fourth quarter in business we know that time and the holidays become the defense we must work around. We must create plays that will allow us to reach our goals. So below are a few creative ways to get appointments during the quarter that for some – matters the most.

*Create a plan. Decide what you need to do in the 4th quarter and divide that out by month/week/day. I like to put my goals in my calendar, so I see them every day.

*Be consistent and persistent. This is key to stay the course. You want to continue to meet and exceed your goals and then celebrate at the end of the year. Work hard – play hard … it’s a good mantra!

*Put yourself in your client’s shoes. If you were a client or prospective client, why would you want to see you? What do you have to offer? How can you serve others? What exciting information do you have to share? Why is there urgency in setting the meeting to take place before the end of the year?

These are all very important questions to ask yourself and will help you generate more appointments.

*Offer alternative ways to connect. People get very busy over the holidays and if you want to connect you may have to offer a phone appointment, lunch, breakfast, coffee, happy hour, or meet them somewhere they need to be. Do they need to run to the mall to do some shopping? If so meet them there. What about the coffee shop right next to the grocery store, dry cleaners or any other errand they may have to run after or before your meeting. Make your appointment with them as convenient and time effective as possible.

*Bring them/send them something useful. Tell your prospect or client that you have something for them and would like to stop by to drop it off and chat for about 10 minutes. Around the holiday season useful things could be a ham or turkey, cookies, chocolates, poinsettias, a bottle of wine or champagne, or if you want to get super creative give them stamps that they can use for their holiday cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, ribbon or a fun family game that they can use at any gathering. Think about what you would love someone to give you around the holidays no matter how practical it may be.

*Hire a virtual assistant. The holidays are a busy time for you included! A virtual assistant can make calls and get the appointments on the calendar, she can assist you with your branding, marketing, social media and so much more! Hire a virtual assistant so your sole focus can be on making sales and spending time with family. Plus, a virtual assistant can help you get a jump-start on the new year. So while you are both working hard to finish up the 4th quarter you can celebrate the holidays knowing that you’ve got your January in order, too!

Good luck in the 4th quarter – it’s not that far away!

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