Roger Staubach's career as a four-time super bowl veteran who became an all-pro salesman proves that the gridiron can deliver lessons on weathering the inevitable setbacks of selling. The former Dallas Cowboys's quarterback (1969-1979) is a marquee name on the sales-lecture circuit and CEO of the Staubach Company, a blue-chip real estate and corporate relocation firm based in Dallas. Here are three hard-won tactics that Staubach uses to bounce back when the business of selling has left him feeling bruised and battered.
Second and 20: You used to be hot at cold-calling. Now you're getting sacked. How do you deal with a prospect who won't meet you — ever?
"Once I blurted out that I'd won the Heisman Trophy, and the guy still wouldn't see me," recalls Staubach. "There will always be times when you're not going to get through. So get over it and get back to work. Tell yourself that another week is coming up, and you've got to be emotionally ready for it."
Two-minute warning: A big sale seems about to unravel. What's the two-minute drill for rescuing the deal?
"I never dwell on problems. If you're behind with two minutes left in a game, you need to step away from the negativity that got you there and concentrate on strategies that will get you out."
The defense is reading your offense: You've lost control of the sales call. How do you get back on track?
"I request a time-out from the meeting — just as I would in a game. I gather my sales team, and we discuss how we can reconnect with the customer. Maybe the customer wants specific solutions, and we're giving a generic presentation. Whatever the case, one thing's sure: if you don't give yourself a chance to make adjustments, you'll lose the game."
Coordinates: Roger Staubach, firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appeared in the December 1997/January 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.