Why You Should Run Hard Through The Tape

One More Sales Lesson From The Election

You never know how the final few yards of the race are going to go. Just ask Tanguy Pepiot, a University of Oregon distance runner:

Direct link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38fffcRexi4 

As Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian described it:

Pepiot was leading the steeplechase event by a wide margin and started celebrating his anticipated win with less than 100 meters remaining. Pepiot started waving his hands as he coasted toward the finish line.

He never saw Washington runner Meron Simon closing fast. Simon blew past Pepiot to win the race by a tenth of a second.

After the race, most of the chatter centered on Pepiot’s behavior. If he’d focused on running instead of celebrating, he might have held off the challenge.

But much credit should go to Simon, who launched a frantic kick when it looked like he had no chance of winning.

I thought of Pepiot and Simon when Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Presidential Election early on the morning of November 9.

Here’s the track-election parallel

On Sunday before the vote, Donald Trump made appearances in five different states: he flew to Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

He did this even though Barack Obama had won all five of those states in 2012.

The following day, he held rallies in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan.

Yes, he had a private plane and a full staff. Regardless, ten states in two days is a brutal schedule for anyone — especially for a 70-year-old man.

While he was doing this, almost every single poll showed him losing the race. He did it anyway.

You know the result. Barring a big surprise from the Electoral College in December, Donald Trump will be taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

Why did Trump push himself so hard? Here’s what he told another North Carolina audience:

I always say I don’t want to think back if only I had did one more rally I would have won North Carolina by 500 votes instead of losing it by 200 votes. 

For the record, I didn’t vote for the guy. And it’s worth noting that Clinton campaigned hard until the end. 

But as a sales trainer I see a big sales lesson in the track race and the election race, and feel compelled to pass it along here. 

The Sales Lesson:
Always Run Hard Through the Tape

When you make your case to a potential customer, you’ll often have fierce competition. Sometimes it will look like you’ve got no shot at winning. 

  • Your ratings are down. 
  • The competition is undercutting you on price
  • Your prospect has always preferred another medium, or another station.
  • Your competitor is the client’s best golf buddy.

But as Donald Trump and Meron Simon have demonstrated, you never know what conversations your prospects are having behind closed doors.

You never know when your competition might be celebrating just a little early. 


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