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Lessons from the Gridiron —Farquharson/Tedsco

September 2010

Ah, September—when summer cools into brisk fall and America's favorite pastime heats up. Yes, it's football season! As native New Englanders, we're hard at work practicing our best Tom Brady and Randy Moss impersonations.

You might be asking, "Football? Isn't this column supposed to be about print revenue growth in a turbulent economy?" Sure, but good football teams and good printing businesses have a lot in common. Take a knee and listen to this pep talk from Coaches Ted and Farq on some smart ideas that drive success on the field and in clients' offices. Otherwise, drop to the ground and give us 20! Now!

Plug the Gaps

Good linebackers anticipate the offense's next move by properly covering the field. Prioritization goes to direction of play and plugging the gaps. Decisions are quickly made and you have to live with the consequences. Let an interception opportunity slip through your hands and it hurts at both the individual and team level. Wait a second, are we talking about football or business? Kind of works for both, right?

Like a defense has to quickly determine run or pass, sales and marketing resource decisions need to be swiftly made in response to current business opportunities. What's so hard about that? In the complex world of sales opportunities, "no" doesn't always mean "no," and "yes" doesn't always mean "yes."

Consider this statement, " 'Yes, we're happy with our current suppliers, and no, we don't need you now.' " What does this mean? Sure, it's possible you should pull the turf from your helmet and run to the sidelines. Or it may, just may, mean you've found a solid print buyer who represents a future opportunity when a current vendor relationship becomes strained. As seasoned print sales pros know, this is when, not if!

Just because the quarterback looks left, do you run left? Maybe yes, maybe no. Like a good d-back, cut through the deception and clutter and focus on plugging the gaps. Don't let your sales and marketing efforts be a porous sieve allowing leads and opportunities to slip through your defense. Avoid the blocker, identify the guy with the ball and position yourself to make the tackle!

Let's hear it from the master.

"You can play hard. You can play aggressive. You can give 120 percent, but if one guy is out of position then someone's running through the line of scrimmage and he's going to gain a bunch of yards."



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