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How Much is One Sales Meeting Worth? Just Ask Nike.

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How much is one sales meeting worth to your business? Sports merchandise powerhouse Nike is finding out the hard way that not treating every pitch as significant can have major ramifications. In a recent ESPN article, reporter Ethan Strauss unveiled the story of the courtship for reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry by top sponsors Nike and Under Armour. Readers of the article learned cringe-worthy details of how the top sports brand in the world lost an athlete worth an estimated $14 billion to one of their top competitors. What readers might not have realized, however, is how prevalent the same mistakes that plagued Nike are in sales situations. Let’s take a closer look at how Nike turned off one of their most promising young stars, and violated several cardinal rules of sales.

In 2013, Nike met with Curry, who was a current client at the time, in order to sign him to a contract extension. Instead of bringing their top brass, however, Nike chose not to include one of their chief athlete advisors, suggesting to Curry that Nike did not feel he was important or relevant enough to warrant the additional attention. As Anova has learned through thousands of win loss interviews, having the right personnel at sales presentations is absolutely critical to making prospects (and in this case existing clients) feel important and valued. Not having their top personnel at the meeting was a bad first step, but pales in comparison to the rookie mistakes made by the Nike officials that were present.

The Nike presentation was also lacking in customization. Included within was a slide with Kevin Durant’s name instead of Curry’s, indicating the PowerPoint shown to Curry was merely a reprocessed presentation of one given to another Nike athlete. To add insult to injury, one Nike official was said to have mispronounced Stephen’s name. Between the recycled PowerPoint and calling Curry by the wrong name, Nike failed to make their client feel valued. The inability to make a client (or potential client) feel important is consistently one of the top sales weaknesses cited by respondents in win loss surveys. In this case, it cost Nike considerably.

Unfortunately, unprepared sales teams and uncustomized presentations cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue annually. In 2015 alone, Anova identified ineffective sales performance as a reason for losing bids in almost 50% of all situations!

The real question is: can your organization afford to NOT be more prepared than Nike was?