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Jeff Schmidt

Go Pack, Go!


If you live in Wisconsin theres a good chance youre a Green Bay Packers fan. The people of Wisconsin take fanatic to a whole new level. Try presenting to a client Monday morning, or try motivating the sellers in the Monday meeting after a loss. People here arent just fans of the team; they allow it to impact their attitudes, buying habits, and moods. Im not passing judgment, just sharing how unique this behavior is. Its unlike anything Ive seen in any other state. Its not like Minnesota or Michigan where they are used to losing. :-)

"Fan" is derived from the word "fanatic": A belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal or obsessive enthusiasm. For Packers Backers, a large component of the uncritical zeal is the concept of support. It's not uncommon on Friday in Wisconsin to see people wearing the jersey of their favorite player, even in a business setting . . . and even when the team isnt having a winning season like this year.

Packers players and coaches will credit a lot of their success to the fans. As a way to show their appreciation and love for the fans, whenever a Packers player scores a touchdown, you will see them jumping into the arms of adoring fans in the end zone. The Lambeau Leap is a tradition started by Packers Hall of Famer Leroy Butler. It happens only in Green Bay.

It would be hard to jump into empty seats, but since the stadium is always sold out, the players are able to show their appreciation by doing the Lambeau Leap. Its the idea of knowing they are not just playing, theyre performing. They dont go through grueling practices so they can play a Sunday game behind closed doors with no cameras and no screaming fans.

So, why dont sales teams have fans or do they? What would be the impact on sales performance if every sales presentation you made was in front of a live audience?

In a recent sales meeting I asked my sellers, "If you had an audience every time you presented, would you do anything differently? Would you 'up your game?'"  The unanimous opinion was, yes, they would do better.  What would they do better? Answer: Preparation. Each of the sellers revealed that if there was an audience they would do more preparation.

In 1898, Norman Tripplett pioneered research on a theory that came to be known as Yerkes Dodsons Law The Theory of Social Facilitation. Social facilitation is the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks when in the presence of other people. This implies that whenever people are being watched by others, they will do well on things that they are already good at doing.

According to the theory, The mere presence of other people will enhance the performance in speed and accuracy of well-practiced tasks, but will degrade the performance of less-familiar tasks." 

Dodsons Law would say that a star football player would perform better when more people are watching him. However, if a person who is not a professional mechanic is asked to fix a cars engine during a road race, he will not perform as well in the presence of others as he would in a situation (like fixing a car in his garage) where he feels less evaluated or pressured. The difference is confidence in his/her ability to perform the task.

As a new seller I loved taking out my manager on what we called ride-along days. These were days feared by many on the sales staff as evaluation days, but I loved them. I thought it was a chance to show the boss how good I was at doing what I do. I was confident and prepared. I was gifted with the ability to answer any objection thrown at me, and facilitate a positive buying decision on the part of my prospects and suspects. Not everyone on the team felt this way. Many were uneasy; many would literally call in sick on their ride-along day. Truth of the matter is, they made themselves sick with worry.

As the research suggests, if people are well-practiced and good at something, they love an audience and it helps them improve their performance. However, if they have any doubt in their ability or apprehension about the presentation they are making, then the opposite effect occurs and people do what we commonly refer to as choke.

This research supports an age-old sales training technique called role play. Prepare and practice your presentation in the sales meeting before you go live to clients. Professional football players practice Monday through Friday for several hours a day, just to play one game on Sunday. Imagine how we would be as sellers if we spent Saturday to Thursday preparing for our one presentation on Friday. Think we would leave anything out?

Im convinced that one of the things that helped me achieve almost instant success in sales was the fact that my manager, Bill Mann, made it very clear that I was never to present to a client without first presenting to him. This role play not only served as a great visualization of how things would go, it also served as a preparation tool to ensure I that I was well prepared with all the objections and questions covered before I faced the client.

Every time you are in front of a client, you are presenting to an audience. It may only be an audience of one, but as Chris Lytle says, Your customers are all rooting for you to get better. They will be there with open arms when you do your Lambeau Leap because a score for you is a score for them.

Want to have an immediate, profound, and positive impact on your sales teams performance? Have them start performing before a live audience of their peers. This initially will scare the heck out of them and make them feel uncomfortable if youve never required it before. Given time and practice it will create an environment where good-natured teasing and constructive criticism will help improve them all.

Your clients want you to get better. Role playing is a simple technique that will have a measurable impact on your sales teams performance.

Amateurs practice until they can get it right; professionals practice until they cant get it wrong. -- Harold Craxton, professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Practice and role play are professional development tools that are critical to growing your income and effectiveness in sales. Chris Lytle and I are conducting a Webinar series sponsored by Radio Ink. Were calling it The Radio Sales Success Expander.

Our promise is simple: Our Webinars contain more usable information per minute than any training session you have ever attended.

Read More here, and sign up. Thank you.

Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner with Chris Lytle at Sparque, Inc. You can reach him at,, Other ways to connect:


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