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Ranieri’s Leicester Fearless Champion Selling

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Finding Nessie and Elvis alive were officially as likely to happen. Yet Leicester City beat 5,000 to 1 odds. They only went and won the Premier League.

So much has been written trying to dissect how the miracle became reality. Trying to bottle the magic lightning.

I was fortunate to watch all but one of Leicester’s games over Winter.

It became quickly apparent they just had that something different from the rest.

It’s too simplistic to say that they solely mastered the joint pincers of row zed defending and rocket flash counter attacking.

As confidence surged through the collective veins, they could produce tiki taka to rival Barcelona and conjure goals throughout the squad.

For Sales Management I select one underpinning theme.

Upon arrival pretty much every new boss is expected to change things up. In fact total upheaval is the norm. Maybe it’s an ego thing. But there’s swift sackings galore.

Indeed, I recall my turnaround strategic training which stipulated you must make a mighty head roll at the outset to begin the sharpbending upwards.

This is often a mistaken attempt at stamping authority early.

New Team Manager Claudio Ranieri did not fall into this trap. He kept just about every member of the playing and coaching staff in situ. He even reversed one of his own fresh appointments when he saw existing capability (in the goalkeeping department) was fine.

This was after saying nothing for the first week’s pre-season training. He merely observed. This is in such stark contrast to new Heads of Sales (& many a new CEO I’ve seen too). They feel the urge to tinker on Day One. And chaos rapidly consumes. The fight stops being about what’s outside, and an internal focus suicidally spreads.

The club, he surmised, were pointing in the right direction. Only tweaks required for the next year and improvement would follow. How right he was.

For the individual salesperson I pick one guiding principle.

There was a lot ‘wrong’ on the face of it before kick-off. A group of journeymen, assembled for an incredible tenth of the cost of their ‘entitled’ big beast opposition. Unfancied to even scrape by this term.

I’m reminded of the hours of wasted training I had in my career’s youth. The days where I was forced to construct a personal SWOT analysis. I even endured one ‘facilitator’ evoke the Welsh for “weaknesses”. Its initial letter apparently an ‘i’ with a kind of circumflex on top. And pronounced aitch. He duly renamed W ‘Improvement areas’ and swot became shot. Shuddering.

Ranieri (like myself I hasten to add) isn’t much concerned with addressing weaknesses. He favours playing to your strengths.

Each player was known for doing something well. Why not really home in on it? Make it go great one hundred percent of the time.

If your big old school bruiser at the back can put his foot through it like no other, then why bother trying to turn him into a libero?

Take the awesome example of Jamie Vardy. I had the unpleasant experience of being in the 2010 World Cup Cape Town crowd when England were abject in drawing, goalless, with Algeria. Each time Wayne Rooney received the ball he had his back to goal. And failed to control too.

Vardy is always facing goal. It’s an attacking masterclass each time he moves. Job done. Let your strengths explode. Any weaknesses will be more than compensated for.

Go Leicester for the Champions League. And you in your new season’s Sales the Ranieri Way. Dilly Ding Dilly Dong.

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Category: sport & selling

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