"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."

~ Physicist Niels Bohr, quoted in the Harvard Business Review ~

Interview With Jose Mourinho

The parallels between football and the business world of sales teams…

A number of Manchester United players do not have the mental fortitude to represent the club according to manager Jose Mourinho. As usual this was said before quite a big game but does have a "ring of truth" to it. They went on to win the big game which proves his motivational skill once again. The following rant did the trick. I can use it as a direct comparison for telephone teams.

The United manager admitted that his squad were worryingly bereft of players with a winner's mentality, which is one of the reasons why they have fallen so far behind Manchester City, the Premier League champions this year with a record 100 points.

"How many points separate us from Manchester City? It's not two, three or four. It's a lot of points" said Mourinho when asked if there was a lack of quality or an issue with the mindset of his players.

"We need both things," he said. "Some of the people have to be more consistent and we need more quality. I trust some more than others that can bridge the gap. Some players, I am convinced, they are going to make it. Some, I have good hopes, that they are going to make it, and some others I don't believe are going to make it”.

Mourinho believes that the fact that United have lost away from home to all three of the teams promoted last season proves the lack of mental strength.

"When you lose against all the teams that were promoted it doesn't smell right to me" Mourinho said. "I have to try to succeed in getting every player to have the same mentality as I have - to face every team in the same way”.

Unfortunately for Mourinho he feels he will be facing the same mental fragility next season too. " Unless you have a perfect squad you have to keep players you don't love. - I say 'love' footballistically and players you don't totally believe have the same level of the squad".

When asked about a footballer's most important attribute Mourinho said "The most important quality is to be a man, MAN capitals, a proper man, and football is not full of them. And not just football, society is not full of them."

What interests me about the interview is the parallel universe of football as described here and the business world and sales teams. We are all part of squads the same as being in football teams. The question I will pose here is where are you in Mourinho's estimation of the mental "level" of the squad ? Are you above the line or below the line? One of your challenges in any sales business is to ensure you end the week, the month or the year above the line. You all should be able to think of six new ways or improvements to existing ways of working that will bring you above the line. I want the best of you to email me your ways that should ensure you end up top of Mr. Mourinho's mentality team sheet.

This challenge is not about company targets as many things can affect that. It is about being above the line. We can all accomplish that. I am currently reading a sales book of 1981. It’s called Shut Up and Sell. The authors says if you are a top salesman how many books have you read on sales and motivation? He thinks it needs to be 30 or 40. I personally have 200 on sales, psychology of sales and persuasion. Many reading this will never have owned or read a single book on sales. You will hang around the shallow end of the sales pool all your life on that basis.

Get to grips with your life and your sales ability with the help of others or quite simply quit and get a job with the local council. Some of you should not even be in sales. It's a sad truth. Others could be so much better and it's all about how much we need and how much of yourself you devote to this career or is it just another job to fill out your twenties and thirties ? I meet many who are suffocating themselves with negative thinking or externalising all their sales failure to price, product or anything they can grab hold of. Get a huge grip on yourself before your personal clouds become terminal. Selling is 100% about being up for stuff and opportunities so don't blame others for your own inability.

That's the challenge from me. For the few at the top of the tree you need to keep this up. In sales you are only ever as good as that last stellar performance. Consistency is a hard task master and is maintained by the guys at the top who have process, flexibility, focus, drive and a winning smile.

Think about it. It is within almost all of you to be at the top.

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