I was driving by some soccer fields recently, and I saw a sad sight I witness each year…the taking down of the nets to “rest the field”. The objective is to dissuade play while the grass grows back on the fields.
My wife and I coached recreational soccer for years, and we loved taking kids who start out practically whiffing on the ball and teaching them positions, skills, strategy and TEAMWORK. More importantly, they build friendships they carry off the field for years. We’ve maintained friendships with these kids, and we’ll still call them on their junk if their attitude gets out of hand. We earned that right by building trust over several years.
I know those soccer fields need to recover after a full season of soccer; however, I never liked the timing. Just because organized soccer leagues are over doesn’t mean some of these kids would not try to play pick up soccer over the idle summer if presented the opportunity with a legit set of soccer goals! As it stands now, a player shoots on a net-less goal, and they are shagging the ball all the way out to the street. And the goal of the game is to put yourself into position…to have a shot…to score a goal.
Put Yourself Into Position: Before you can even take a shot on goal, you have to put yourself in position to score. That takes a combination of skills, strategy and teamwork. Before you score “wins” with prospective clients you need the same fundamentals.
Skills – Know your audience/prospect, know your brand (don’t just be a Booth Babe like what Brian Rice described), understand and follow protocol with your chosen channels regarding content and posting frequency.
Strategy – Attack a good defense with a full frontal approach, and you will get turned away. Attack prospective clients with an onslaught of interruptive marketing and product/service information and they will turn you away with zero success. A friend of mine, Robert Caruso wrote an insightful post titled Social Media – It’s Relationship, Stupid! I am not suggesting that you build relationships as a form of manipulation to reach your goals. I suggest working on sincere connections with your followers/fans/friends, building trust and credibility along the way, and succeeding in the long run.
Teamwork – There are 10 positions on a soccer field to go along with one goalie. If you try to out-juke and out-run everyone on the opposing team, you will fail. Use coworkers, fellow bloggers and tribe members along with other resources available to you (books, virtual meetings/chats, LinkedIn Groups) to put your business in position to succeed. Proverbs 15:22 states, “A wise man has many counselors”. It is possible to have multiple sources of support that can still contribute to a single, consistent goal.
Take the Shot: You’ve put yourself into position to score, but you still have to take the shot. As a recreational coach, I’ve seen players get a breakaway and still kick it right to the goalie. I’ve seen others blast the ball over the goal or shank it to one side. Then there are the players that realize everybody might witness their failure to score, so they pass up the opportunity by passing the ball to a teammate. Don’t forfeit the reward of your preparation by becoming skittish/fearful or over eager at the end. Notice that none of these players did…
Ask for that sale or recommendation. Acknowledge a disgruntled consumer and earnestly address their customer service needs while the whole world watches in the consumers’ chosen venue (Facebook wall post, YouTube comments, product feedback on a review site like Amazon, eOpinions, Yelp). Take the opening granted to you from trusted followers to present your ideas/products/solutions. Don’t make it a canned sales pitch. Speak as a person who better understands their needs because you took the time to build the relationship.
Score the Goal, then act like you’ve been there: If you’ve done all the above, you most likely will score the goal. Sure, you might face an insurmountable defense or competitor that makes a spectacular play against you. When that happens, just clap your hands in acknowledgment, smile, and say “well played”. Do not lose confidence if your fundamentals are sound. If you do score/succeed with “won business”, take it from a guy who learned old school on a South Texas high school football field...act like you’ve been there before, and you plan to be back real soon. No showboating and grandstanding please !
So are you succeeding with your social media goals? Are your nets full from your hard preparation and from taking lots of accurate shots…or are you shagging balls?
I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am excited to promote our Pulse Analytics social media monitoring and sentiment analysis solution as well as our core software development and business intelligence services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on Google+.
What a great analogy Brian! I especially love your closing line...act like you've been there before and plan to be back real soon! No matter what you're offering to a customer: a social media program and strategy or the paper and graphic art products I sell, having a plan and then executing it with confidence is always the way to go.
About Brian Vickery
I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am excited to promote our Pulse Analytics social media monitoring and sentiment analysis solution as well as our software development and business intelligence services. I love football, basketball, tennis, and judo. I graduated UT-Austin.