Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Play to Win in Business Too

You can play to win off the field as well as on it--and become a top salesperson. 

All you must do is apply some of the same skills used in professional sports according to Allen Guy, author of Playing To Win: The Sport of Selling and How You Can Win the Game .

Guy, a seasoned salesman and sales manager, defines the four basic personality types as positions on a football team to help the salesperson understand the customer, whether an individual or a group. In short:
* The Quarterback takes control and is the key decision maker
* The Running Back is cheerful, energetic, and impulsive
* The Wide Receiver listens carefully, wants all the details before making a decision
* The Lineman is a workhorse who needs input from others

Playing to Win describes how the players interact with each other to reach a purchasing goal. Equally important is the author's explanation of how the salesperson must interact with each player based on his or her own personality type.
Guy said, "Using sports examples makes it easy to communicate and give people concepts that are easy to recall when needed. The top mistakes made by salespeople are self-stagnation, lack of discipline and follow through. When salespeople become too complacent, they stop developing the skills needed to stay on top. Selling is a process that is repeated over and over yet the play-by-play is different from one call to the next. It's easy to fall into a routine and fail to prepare properly for the next call.  People often drop the ball due to inadequate follow through or get too anxious to hand the ball off, missing the opportunity to close the sale."
Pertinent aspects of sports in addition to football-such as basketball, auto racing, and tennis-are also applied to every step involved in the selling process:
* Knowing the strengths of your products
* Studying the competition
* Scouting for leads
* Writing a playbook
* Practicing your pitches
* Overcoming objections
* Adjusting your strategy
* Finding the right solution
* Winning the sale


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