The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on how one college basketball team, Kentucky, prepares for its opponents (“NCAA Tournament: Why Kentucky Hardly Bothers With Film Study”). They don’t spend much time studying game tapes of their opponents like most other basketball teams. They may have decided that their talent supersedes their preparation. And for most of the year it worked – but did it cost them? Would the outcome be any different if they focused more on preparation to position themselves for the win?
It is like when Allen Iverson famously said, “Practice…we’re talking about practice?”
Well we aren’t just talking about practice, but we are talking about positioning for the win. Preparing for your position in sports is critical. Preparation is the reason that J.J. Watt is so dangerous to a quarterback. He is often positioned exactly where he needs to be to swat down a pass, read an offense and make a big play. He is a student of preparation and video.
For greater success, we need to study the “game tapes” of business (i.e. do our research) and use that information to position ourselves for the win. These “game tapes” will help tell us where do we need to be to close the sale, make the impression, get the referral, or compel the strategic alliance professional to make an introduction.
Researching a prospect or strategic alliance can really go a long way. It gives insight and the ability to talk about topics and services that apply directly to them. With this preparation, we can message what we do to focus it precisely for the other person.
You may have incredible talent, but is there any harm in taking the time to do more preparation? It may be the difference between a good year and a record-breaking year.