Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Selling Ability , They move, They put in motion , They rouse – London 2012 Paralympic athletes

One definition of selling is “Persuasive Communication against resistance”

The three  agito of the Paralympic logo ( latin for I move, put into motion , rouse ) are coloured green red and blue because these colours are the most common in the country flags of the world.

They convey that spirit of overcoming obstacles and moving on. A great stimulus for salespeople

It seems particularly appropriate that Paralympic logo hangs from the front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square with its  column and statue to a one eyed ( eye lost in a battle in 1794) amputee  ( arm lost in battle 1897) and hero  - Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Many of the competing athletes competing in the games are former service personnel who having suffered injury in theatres of war use sport in their road to recovery and focus for life.

Nelson’s famous rousing signal from HMS Victory before the battle of Trafalgar 21 October 1805 read “England expects every man to do his duty”.

It is so  succinct it would easily qualify the 140 Character space allowed for a tweet.

Of course sporting analogies with war are not always appreciated.  

For example in 1941 one Eric Arthur Blair wrote "Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play, it is bound up with hatred and jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all the rules and sadistic pleasure in unnecessary violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.''

Blair’s pen name was George Orwell ! ( Animal Farm, 1984 etc)

 One wonders whether his jaundiced view of sports might have been changed a little  by the 1948 first wheelchair games at Stoke Mandeville founded by Sir Ludvig Guttermann. These were the forerunners to today’s Paralympics.

The business of Disability has a current promotional lift in the media due to the hosting of the Paralympic games in London. The tickets have sold extremely well.

In the  pre-festival hype athletes were being sold to the public as heroes.  An expectation has been heaped on our home based athletes’ shoulders- their sales targets have been set..

The Paralympics are also an opportunity for many of us to learn more about sports and disability.

 My quick sketch based on Finlay MacKay's photo of
Paralympic Rugby Players at Stoke Mandeville last year
 from Photo Exhibition Road to 2012 at National Portrait Gallery
We are listening a lot about the athletes’ back story which are inspiring and we will also witness these elite athletes doing their thing.

Quite what the legacy of these Paralympics will be in the long term is anyone’s guess.

Poster on the Underground ('Tube') promoting
the contribution made by the Sponsors of 2012 Paralympics

The whole event needs money and industry is doing its part and promoting itself in the process.

So what’s this got to do with Selling ?

Lord Coe’s vision for London 2012 Olympics was to want to change the public attitudes towards disability, celebrate the excellence of Paralympic sport and to enshrine from the very outset that the two games are an integrated whole.

Attitude to disability

Firstly It might surprise buyers, consumers, customers and clients to know that they already interact with many salespeople and customer service people who are disabled. ( and  of course sales people should be aware that the buyer who they are speaking to could of course be disabled)

 Many disabled people work in selling on the telephone. The customer does not see the wheelchair or other obvious visual indicators you might see face to face.

Learning from disability

Secondly the abilities of disabled people have much to teach all of us.

I have been fortunate to run courses where some delegates were disabled  - - amputees, profoundly deaf, blind etc.  They taught me a huge amount about both human endeavour ,  human prejudice but also how to overcome obstacles both physical and mental and sell well.

So I am looking forward to following the games and being inspired and seeing some great  elite sporting talent at work

Channel 4 TV is covering the games in detail.

Sainsbury supermarkets are a key sponsor.  Great Videos on  Here’s to extraordinary

Welcome to London the athletes and fans from the 166 countries taking part in this festival of Paralympic sports

 Go Team GB Go     Good Selling

 To adapt Nelson’s famous signal and the IPC’s vision.

A tree in London's Leicester Square adorned with medals
“Britain expects every man and woman to do their duty and achieve sporting excellence , inspire and excite the world.”

No comments:

Post a Comment