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What Fantasy Football Taught Me About Sales Negotiation

By Ross Simmonds | Small Business

What Fantasy Football Taught Me About Sales Negotiation image fantasy footballWhat Fantasy Football Taught Me About Sales Negotiation

As another year of Fantasy Football comes to an end, I look back at another season with a mix of highs and lows. If you’re not familiar with Fantasy Football, it’s an odd game millions of people around the world play every year where they draft a make believe team with real NFL players and receive points based on their real life performance. It’s been known to be a drain in productivity across North America and has been the cause of many arguments between best friends and colleagues.

In fantasy football, it’s expected of the players to make trades throughout the course of the year with the other players. That is, you convince another player in your league that one of your players have a higher value than theirs, when in reality you see their player as giving your team the better chance to win. In these dealings, there’s often a winner and a loser. I’ve been on both sides of the table, but it’s the strategy and thought process behind the negotiation that I want to talk about today.

I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for more than five years now and over that time, I’ve learned a lot about football. Surprisingly, I’ve also learned a lot about business, sales, and communication as a whole. Here are a few things I’ve learned about sales negotiation:

Understand The Prospects Needs

This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many sales professionals pitch prospects without getting to know their needs. In Fantasy Football, it’s a golden rule to look at your prospects weaknesses and send them offers that will make them stronger. Or at least, what they think will make them stronger. In business, we need to be committed to getting to know our prospects and better understand their work environment to position products in a way that makes it easy for them to identify the value of buying. We must paint a picture of both the existing pain and the future benefit so they can connect the two and ultimately sign the deal.

Communications Preference

Similar to business, the negotiation aspect of Fantasy Football is quite the ordeal. The approach you take when negotiating with one player might be completely different when negotiating with another. Some players will negotiate better over email, while others will only negotiate over the phone. It’s important to recognize and embrace whatever the other party finds the most comfortable.

Shoot For The Stars

If you aim high, you have a good chance of getting exactly what you want, or maybe a little bit more. In Fantasy Football, I always like to start my negotiations with an offer that is significantly more beneficial to me than the other party. In business, a lot of sales professionals second guess their prices and lower their rates with the sole motivation of making a deal. Instead of lowering your price so they don’t walk away, increase your price and see how they respond. In doing so, there’s never a sense of regret, or sellers remorse, or the feeling that you got the short end of the stick.

Emotion Often Trumps Logic

On many occasions, an NFL player will go into a two or three game slump and ultimately cost their Fantasy owners the win back to back. In moments like this, the owner is typically at an all-time high for frustration and is often willing to give up their player for nothing more than peanuts. In these moments, it’s important to tap into this emotion and capitalize on the opportunity. In business, it could be an opportunity in which a potential lead just read about their competition investing in a similar product, or their boss is giving them a hard time for not achieving specific goals. Either way, understand your prospects situation and understand the opportunity to capitalize on their emotion to make the deal.

It’s crazy to think that fantasy football can lead to business knowledge, but I’m a firm believer that you can learn from anything if you really want to. Whether it’s taking lessons from Breaking Bad or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, business and life lessons are all around us.

What other business lessons have you learned from places you wouldn’t have typically expected?

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