By Jeff Beals
[Note: This week's "Sales Shape-Up" is an excerpt from the author's book, Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football, which uses the recruitment of star athletes as a metaphor for selling products and services in any industry.]
As you search for innovative ways to make an impression and let your prospects know they are special, you might want to employ the efforts of others. Your clients, fans and champions out in the business community can play a huge role as you market to new prospects.
Because of strict National College Athletic Association recruiting rules, college football teams have to be careful about orchestrating recruiting efforts by fans and boosters, but it is perfectly fine if those efforts happen without the direct involvement of the school.
Because fans follow football recruiting so closely on the Internet, they tend to know a great deal about the youngsters their favorite football teams are recruiting. That means they usually know when prospective players are visiting campus especially if it’s game day. It is fairly common at big-time football schools for fans to introduce themselves to the prospects, welcome them to campus and hold up signs imploring them to say “yes.”
Spontaneous adoration from 15,000 fans helped Tim Brewster land one of the nation’s biggest football recruits when he was an assistant coach at the University of Texas in late 2001. That’s when he was engaged in a tremendous battle to recruit an all-everything blue-chip high school player from inner-city Houston by the name of Vince Young.
Brewster starting tracking Young when he was a high school sophomore and worked hard to build a strong relationship with him.
During an on-campus visit in Austin, Brewster and Young were about to take in a Longhorn basketball game. Before the game, coach and prospect talked one-on-one downstairs in the bowels of the Frank Erwin Center, the University of Texas sports arena. To give Young a taste of the campus buzz, Brewster took his prized recruit upstairs so he could walk on the court and take in the pre-game atmosphere.
Immediately, upon stepping on the basketball floor, rabid UT fans recognized Young. The news whipped through the arena quickly. The crowd started chanting, “We want Vince! We want Vince!”
Brewster was blown away by the sudden public adoration. He walked Young back downstairs where the recruit turned to Brewster, tears streaming down his face, and said, “This is where I need to be. I’m a Longhorn.”
Young starred at Texas, achieving All-American honors and leading the team to its only Associated Press national championship in a 45-year span.
While you might not be able to convince 15,000 people to chant your prospect’s name, and in most selling situations that would be rather weird, remember you are not necessarily alone. Incorporate others in your selling efforts as appropriate in order to make a more powerful impression on your future clients.
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at email@example.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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