Did You Call Her on the Phone When You Asked Her to Marry You?
Written by Gregg Dourgarian
We Are Marshall
, a Matthew McConaughey football flick with the usual story of tragedy and rebuilding (Marshall lost its entire football team in a 1970 plane crash), offers a lot of great lessons on sales and recruiting.
The climax of the film involved the new head coach challenging the university president to try one more time to get the NCAA to let them play their freshmen after their roster gets decimated by the crash. After many rejection letters, the president had given up hope when the coach challenged him with the question about how he proposed to his wife.
“You didn’t write her a letter, now did you?” asked the coach. “Well, no,” answered the president. “And I bet she didn’t say yes over the phone, now did she?” remarked the coach. His point being that you have to put some skin in the game. People buy from people. Show ‘em you care. Ask ‘em for help.
Of course, this was a movie and in the next scene the university president flies to Kansas City, meets the NCAA chair and gets the approval. Things rarely work that fast in real life – if they did, everyone would succeed at sales. Everyone would get it.
After Marshall gains the right to compete, they find themselves deep in the hole trying to recruit new freshmen (note profound analogy here to getting the job order and then not being able to fill it). The top high school players reject their overtures one after the other in favor of the top competing schools.
Unfazed, the coach (McConaughey) attacks the problem. He hunkers down with his coaches to make sure they get enough candidate leads. They organize the leads so that none drop through the cracks. Finally, they come up with a winning candidate script, a unique selling proposition: Marshall is the only NCAA team in the country that can play freshman! Come to Marshall and you won’t be pushing pine next year! Come to Marshall and you’ll make history!
The lessons apply to sales and recruiting in the staffing industry. How are you filling your sales and recruiting funnel? How are you organizing your team so that the leads don’t fall through the cracks? Most importantly, what’s your script, your unique selling proposition?