Monday, 28 March 2011

Is your DVP fast and loose ?– 5 selling lessons from winners in Sport in 2011

The Oxford and Cambridge boats jockey for position 10 minutes before the start of the 2011 Xchanging University Boat race.

It does not always pay to back the favourite – even in a two horse race!

So it proved with the Oxford vs Cambridge University Boat race this year. Last year’s winners, Cambridge were 2-1 favourites with some bookmakers to win.

Yet Oxford won by 4 lengths and 14 seconds - a handsome win over the four and quarter mile trip from Putney to Mortlake on London’s river Thames.

Oxford’s coach Ben Bowden has now won 10 of these contests. It’s his 8th for Oxford ( two earlier when he coached Cambridge in the nineties.)

So what did he put this year’s Oxford victory down to?

Well a number of things

There were technical changes for example Bowden changed the set up of the Oxford boat and crew to accommodate “tandem rigging.”

1. FINE - TUNING OUR DVP Usually the oars are alternate in an eight crew boat. Last Saturday the No 4 and 5 positions rowed bow side and this meant the man at the bow had his oar on the same side as the stroke.

I don’t entirely understand the implications of this (not being a rower) but in Selling we all have specialist technical knowledge that needs tweaking and updating from time to time in our Differentiated Value Proposition DVP.- the equivalent of 'tandem rigging'

Other explanations Ben Bowden gave resonate more obviously with those of us in selling and those working within selling teams in particular.

2. MONITORING of current performance. The Oxford crew had a simple mantra. It arose from the analysis of their on-going training sessions. .

They noticed that every time they were” loose” they were fast but every time they’d been tense they were slower.

That's the equivalent in successful selling knowing that it is not just about being industrious but effective in selling that matters. - SELLING SMARTER.

So the Oxford crew went out to the race this year knowing that if they let the pressure get to them they would be tense.

They had to be ‘loose’ and that really paid off in the end. The parallel in selling is the question -

What were our selling drills and models in our selling presentation and in recent ‘wins’ and ‘lost’ business?

What selling drills /processes/ models would help our performance now?

3. PLAN THE WORK – WORK THE PLAN Oxford’s stroke, Simon Hislop, said of rivals Cambridge

“They put up a good fight initially but then we started to inch away. Their start did not scare us. We just consolidated what we were doing. After halfway , it was really enjoyable. We had a big push just the Surrey bend started. "

"Sam, our cox, called a fantastic push, we jacked the race up and took really big chunks out of them. They could not come back from that.

It was how we had planned it."

4. POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE Coach Bowden also said that

"...the seeds of victory had been sown in last year’s defeat."

See an earlier post on winners and losers. Click for Post on “Winners and Losers” scroll down to about half way on the post

“ We didn’t have enough staying power last year so we modified our training and testing to improve on that and it worked."

5. TRAINING and TESTNG are important but also notice he described them as modified

What modifications to our sales skills training do you need?

Refreshment, Reinforcement or Retrain with new skills.

Ben Bowden concluded

"I am delighted how the whole season has worked out."

So here's wishing that your selling season works out successfully like Ben Bowden .

* Quotes sourced from The Independent on Sunday 27th March 2011

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