Why is soccer so boring?


Ever had a vendor come on a sales call and ten minutes into the meeting your eyes start to glaze over and you start to think about whether it was garbage day tomorrow or what the traffic was going to be like on the way home? Or, the flip side: you’re 10 minutes into your sales presentation and you can see that faraway look in your prospects eyes?

Boredom is the enemy of sales.

When I ask my American sports fan friends about soccer and the World Cup the immediate response is “uh…boring” and comparisons to “watching paint dry.” I’m not much of a soccer fan so, as most Americans, I pay attention to a couple of highlights from the USA matches and then I’m done for another four years.

Now let’s move to the quintessential American sport: baseball. Yes, it’s true that chicks dig the long ball and high scoring games are exciting. However, it takes a real baseball connoisseur to appreciate the strategy of a pitcher’s duel and a batter working the count, events which I’ve also heard compared to “watching paint dry.” A perfect game is boring? What if I told you it’s only been done 20 times in the history of Major League baseball?

Ah! Interesting!

A Desire To Understand

I’m sure if I sat down and watched a soccer match with an avid supporter and had the intricacies of the game explained to me – strategy, skills, etc – I would have an increased understanding of the game. Perhaps if they explained it to me in terms to which I could relate – baseball? – I would have more desire to understand. As I was guided through the details and minutiae of the game I’m sure I would find the matches more interesting.

Nothing is inherently boring.

Boredom represents a lack of understanding. Understanding is what creates interest, which creates excitement. All you need to do is create a desire to understand.

Interest and Excitement = Sales

Sales requires interest and excitement – for you AND your prospects. Your prospects’ greatest interest and excitement is in their needs. The more you know and understand their needs, the more you will be able to create in them a desire to understand your product.

So the next time you’re on a sales call keep this though in mind. It should be a given that you believe in your product, are excited about it, and are deeply versed in its intricacies. Think about how you can create in them a desire to understand your product.

Your prospects know little or nothing about your product but a lot about their needs – you’re a soccer fan and your prospects are baseball fans. Try to make them interested in more than just the highlights or it may be another four years until you see them again.

(Photo credit: bigbluemeanie)

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  • Mike

    Alan – You make an excellent point about salesmanship. Sales folks need to learn how to appreciate the things of interest to others to prevent the client from mentally checking out of the sales call.

    In order to be successful, the seller must foster a spirit of “otherness.” The pro starts each contact with a clean sheet of paper and a smile, insures nothing has changed since the last contact, allows fresh information to be factored into the equation, and patiently clarifies how this information factors into meeting the client’s personal a professional goals. This should help keep the buyer awake, alert, and interested.

    Maintaining a spirit of truth seeking and harmony with the client can only benefit both buyer and seller. I hope you didn’t find this boring. Perhaps a second reading will help. Now, did you find the Olympic sport called curling a boring event or did you wonder what caused an unfamiliar audience to stick with the competition? Was it the spirit of “otherness?”

  • Alan Berkson

    Mike -Soccer in the USA is an enigma while curling is more of an oddity. Curling is something that’s sort of interesting, you poke a stick at it a bit, and suddenly you’ve been watching it for 3 hours. So yes, I think it is the “otherness” that makes it interesting. Perhaps with soccer we *think* we understand it so we stop trying. Good sales lesson.