From Hero to Zero, Dallas Cowboys and the Sales Cycle

Orlando Scandrick at the Dallas Cowboys traini...

Orlando Scandrick at the Dallas Cowboys training camp in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sales, like football, is a psychological exercise.  The term "Hero to Zero" is used in many sales rooms at the beginning of the month.  As the sales manager wipes all the units sold on the board off from the previous month and writes the new month's name at the top he will say "everyone who was a hero last month is a zero this month".  That is not just a catchy phrase.  And it does not only apply to the month.

Look at the roller coaster that was the Dallas Cowboys 2014 season.  Almost every other week there was a challenge that threatened the season.  From that first loss to the 49e's to Romo's injury to the sorry play by the entire team on thanksgiving nothing was ever a gimme.  Through it all the team went from hero to zero each week.  They went to work and no matter how bad the previous game was, they came to play their hardest at the next one.

Even from play to play each guy has to have a very short memory.  He might completely screw up the last play, but he has the potential to make the game changing play on the next snap.  We salespeople need to think that way too.

In one Cowboys game this season our corner back, Orlando Scandrick,

totally whiffed on a ball and let the receiver he was covering make a huge touchdown.  It was a really bad play and could have cost us the ballgame.

As the offence took the field to try to answer the previous drive, the camera showed the Cowboys sideline and there was Scandrick screaming at the defensive line trying to motivate them.  I thought "the nerve of that guy... he just screwed the pooch and he has the gall to yell at his teammates?".  If it were me I would be sitting quietly in the corner hanging my head in shame.

The offence did their part and then the defense, with Scandrick, took the field for the next drive.  It was the final drive of the game.  If the defense did not stop them then the game was lost because of that bad play by our corner back.  Scandrick, who I thought should be in a shame spiral by now, was motivated instead.  I watched with incredulity as he used the previous screw up to his advantage.  He was aggressive, he was fired up, he was running all over the place trying to make a difference.  I was mesmerized.

His tenacity paid off... he intercepted a would-be game winning touchdown pass in the end zone and won the game.

That is when the term "hero to zero" finally made sense to me.  It works both ways; hero to zero and zero to hero.  Even though you might have made the biggest sale of the year, it is just one sale (hero to zero).  In the same way if you have a horrible sales call and can't close a drawer much less a deal, it is temporary (zero to hero).  You have to forget about it and do it all again.  Each call you make, each appointment you run, each person you meet, is another chance to be a hero.  If you are in a slump then it is just in your head.

What do you think?  Think Scandrick is a hack?  Do you think I am?  Let me know in the comments below, I would love to tell you why you are wrong.

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