Take What The Defense Gives You (Issue 732)

In which we are reminded to pursue issues in which our  clients are interested rather than issues we PLANNED to talk about.

“You have to take what the defense is giving you.”

I was tossing a Frisbee with my visiting former-resident sports Wizard, talking about the on-court strategy of a local basketball team of some note, discussing what had happened in a recent game.

“No defense can cover everything. When they’re playing 10 feet off our [point guard], he has to shoot. As soon as he starts shooting, the defense will spread out to meet him. When the defense spreads out, he has to drive to the basket to draw defenders. When he draws defenders, someone is open; he has to pass to them. If he just stands out there and dribbles, waiting for a play to develop, everybody is covered. We’re stuffed.”

He turned to retrieve the Frisbee I’d tossed into a flower bed. When he came back, he said, “It’s the same with [a local football team of some note]. It’s great to have a game plan like ‘run up the middle because you think it’s weak.’”

I turned to chase the Frisbee floating lazily 20 feet over my head.

“But when we’re not gaining yardage up the middle because there’s a wall of defenders there and you look around and see the opposing defensive backs are playing ten yards or more off our receivers, then you have to take what the defense is giving you and throw quick passes to the uncovered receivers. And, in games when we’ve done that, we’ve marched down the field and scored. And if I can see that, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, [Coach], you should be seeing this sooner than I am.’”

Kinda like running into a wall of defenders or objections during a sales call or presentation.

We can continue to ‘run up the middle’ with our planned approach making very short yardage because that’s how WE think the client should hear our story or buy or because that’s how WE prepared for the call.

Or we could note the obvious – “This presentation doesn’t seem to be meeting your needs” – and ask a question – “What would be more helpful to you as you’re thinking about your way forward?” – to help us see ‘what the defense is giving us’ and then work those points in order to advance and, potentially, score.

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