What Football Teaches Us About Virtual Selling in the Second Half

Thanks to Martin Reisch for sharing their work on Unsplash.

In most parts of North America, people are enjoying the last bit of the summer before autumn, the time of year that means daunting trips into the attic for winter coats and torturous school shopping sprees if indeed schools actually open. 

For sports fans, this time of year means the beginning of football season. Even in the midst of a pandemic, sports organizations are finding ways to safely conduct sporting events while upholding social distancing guidelines. 

As we approach this season of the year, it seems timely to draw a parallel or two between football and virtual sales. Particularly, when it comes to the breakdown of time.  

While virtual sales professionals aren’t likely to be wearing pads and stiff-arming reps at competing organizations, they should see the value of pausing during the heat of battle and making necessary adjustments based on first half performance, as well as the competition’s effectiveness. 

If you don’t like what’s on the scoreboard at half-time, but you take the same virtual sales playbook into the second half with you, have yourself evaluated for a sales concussion.


Why The Second Half Is So Important

To understand why the second half matters so much, consider what comes before the second half: the half-time break. In football, this is the time when teams rest, analyze what happened in the first two quarters, and make adjustments as necessary. 

In business, similar events take place halfway through the year; mid-year reviews or department meetings are common for companies of all sizes. While some professionals may view this time as the perfect opportunity for a surreptitious nap, in reality, these meetings allow managers and sales reps to track progress and make adjustments to their sales plans and strategies. This is an important step that comes prior to beginning their virtual selling efforts for the second half of the year. 

Additionally, the second half matters tremendously because it is the last chance to impact the final result of the game or year. When the second half ends, the score of the game is final, much like a company’s annual numbers are finalized at the end of the fiscal year. 

Throughout history, many football teams have made second half comebacks. Consider the 2017 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons: 

Down 28-3 late in the third quarter, the Patriots had to play a perfect final 20 minutes and they did.  The coaches adjusted the game plan, the defense made the stops and Tom Brady-led offense to 31 unanswered points and an overtime Super Bowl Championship.

By applying the same concepts football teams use to bounce back after halftime, you can help your virtual sales team finish the year strong.


What Businesses Can Learn From Football Teams

What do the best football teams do to finish out the second half strong? 

Here are a few key thoughts:


1. Coaching 

Coaches step in and motivate players, while also tweaking their own virtual playbook based on the results from the first half. In business, managers motivate their salespeople, letting them know it’s not too late for a strong year. 

This is where coaching becomes especially important, especially in the new virtual environment.

Companies also adjust to industry and economic conditions seen in the first part of the year by changing their virtual sales plan. You might alter your prospecting strategy or work with marketing to come up with more appealing selling points.


2. Study the Competition

Football teams review what their opponents did in the first half to get clues about how they can adjust their strategy.

In business, you do this by gathering intelligence about your competitors. Are you struggling while your competitors are flush with sales? You probably need to make some significant adjustments. 

On the other hand, if things are going well for you and you are beating out the competition, it is wise to stay the course.


3. Rest & Recharge

Players rest up and drink plenty of Gatorade so they can come out for the second half energized and ready to play. In business, you can energize your team for the second half with company events, sales contests, or by bringing in trainers. The right trainer can revitalize your sales staff and reinforce the message that the coach (or sales manager) is trying to get across. 

Sales training in the middle of the year can be just as powerful as a refreshing cup of Gatorade at halftime, although you should probably be wary of sales trainers that have program names like “Fierce Grape” and “Riptide Rush.”



Always remember that while it may be too late for your accountant who wants to reinvent himself as a standup ventriloquist, it’s not too late for a second half sales comeback. With the right coaching, a change in the playbook, and variance from techniques that are not working, you can end the sales year strong – just like the Patriot’s second half comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI

ASLAN Training is the perfect resource to help you develop talent, work on your virtual prospecting strategies, and remotely coach your team to maximum success, both “on and off the field,” professionally and personally. 


What’s Next?

If you are struggling with any part of selling virtually, contact us today to discuss the strategies needed to get your team on the field with the perfect game plan. 

You may also be interested in our Virtual Selling Skills Program. Check out our offering here for more information on how we have been helping clients improve selling skills since 1996. 


As VP of Solutions, Sean’s passion is developing and creating a learning experience that emotionally taps into each learner, matches ASLAN’s commitment to excellence, and exceeds our client’s wildest expectations. Find him on: LinkedIn.

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