SE+ Perspective | a perspective on sports matters

Applying the Kick Return Game to Business

Where you start matters because starting ahead gives you better odds for success.

Football is not an exact science, but I’ve heard both players and coaches say that there’s a close relationship between where a team starts after a kickoff and the odds of scoring on that drive.

For example, if an offensive team starts with the ball on their 30-yard line, they have a 30% chance to score on that drive. If they start on their 20-yard line, they have a 20% chance. If they start on the opposing team’s 40-yard line, it’s a 60% chance of scoring, because 50 plus 10 equals 60.

The point is, the closer you are to the other team’s end zone, the better your odds are of scoring. The kick return in football matters.

Great, you are saying, if I play a football game tomorrow I’ll know to try for a good field position. But what does that have to do with my business? A lot, actually. Stick with me….

A ridiculous example

Imagine showing up to a sales meeting ready to sell your accounting services, except you’re wearing a bathing suit, have done no research on your client, and you actually don’t know anything about accounting. That’s the equivalent of fumbling the ball on the kickoff because you have a 0% chance of success.

That’s a ridiculous example, but you get the idea.

Assuming that’s not you in the bathing suit, let’s try a more realistic scenario.

A realistic example

Say you’re an accountant, you have a good reputation, and you show up to the prospect’s office well-prepared. You’ve researched this prospect, and you have a great understanding of corporate taxes.

You haven’t done everything right—while you researched the company, you didn’t look into the individuals you’re meeting with. You don’t know where the decision-makers went to college, if they have families, if they have a favorite sports team, what they care about, even though all of this information was readily available on their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. But you definitely have a good chance of scoring, it’s just not as good a chance as you could have had. Let’s call it a kick return to the 35-yard line.

Football is all about territory. You want to be in the end zone, so the closer you are to that end zone, the better. Business is all about relationships, so the closer you can get to a productive relationship going in, the more likely you are to close the deal.

You can advance your position by acting like someone the other party wants to get to know. That starts with not wearing your bathing suit to meetings, but knowing your stuff, understanding your prospect’s needs, and showing personal interest in what they’re about all moves you down the field.

You get the point, so let me share a quick story to finish.

A true story

Early on in KazCM’s day (that’s our marketing company), I interacted with someone on Twitter. That was it. Not much of a relationship there at all. I was starting out on my own one-yard line. The odds were very bad—most tweet exchanges don’t lead to a deal, nor are they expected to.

But, we drove the field and we scored. That person is still a client today.

One area where we are helping that client is with their email marketing. So when someone said to our client “I love your emails—who puts your platform together?” our client pointed to us.

So, then we had a new prospective client, except this time they wanted to make the connection with us even before I got on the phone. The relationship was almost there already. I’d say we started out on their 20-yard line—an 80% chance of success!

It wasn’t 100%, and there have been times we started out with a great field position and lost—maybe next time I’ll share some of those stories—but let’s focus on the positive for now. The deal came together. And the cool thing is, while we had success, we feel our new client had success too.

So, now go work on your kick return game. It matters!

A quick note about this kick return game topic:

I focused on relationships for this article. But this can apply to many aspects of your business.

For example, if you are in operations and you are required to run many computer applications with efficiency, working with a slow computer could have you starting behind.

Likewise, if you don’t have a good mindset for whatever reason, it will impact your work–thus leaving you starting with poor odds.

The point is, put yourself in a good position to increase your odds of success. Think hard about what may be holding you back and work on improving it. It could be your computer, your mind, your colleague, your knowledge, your office, your car, your self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever it is, figure it out and gain an advantage.

Want to find out how you can tell stories in your business? Let’s talk.