When Glenn Hoddle was the England manager, I was watching a crucial world cup game on the TV.
The camera was showing a close-up of Hoddle sitting in the dugout making note after note.
He was surrounded by charts and diagrams.
Eventually he was ready to make a change.
He called over the substitute and started to give him instructions.
I watched him talking the young player through his thoughts.
Pointing to the players on the pitch, their movement and their positions.
He indicated the charts and made sweeping gestures.
In Hoddles mind he was sharing his strategic thinking with the player.
In Hoddle’s mind the player would then go onto the pitch and share all this thinking with the other players.
Everyone would understand the new strategy and England would win.
In Hoddle’s mind.
What actually happened was the player ran onto the pitch trying to remember what he’d been told.
Instead of playing football.
He told the other players what he could remember of Hoddle’s instructions.
Instead of playing football, they were trying to understand what was wanted.
England lost, and we went out of the World Cup.
Contrast that with Harry Redknapp.
Redknapp took over as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.
They had a lot of good players, but as a team they were in trouble.
They weren’t playing together, no one had any confidence
In one of his first games in charge, Spurs were 1-0 down and looked like losing again.
Redknapp could see the problem.
The opposition defence was well organised and dealing with his forwards easily.
He needed to find a way to open them up.
To pull the opposition out of position and let his forwards though.
He had a fast young, foreign player, and he told him to get ready.
The player spoke no English.
Redknapp said to the player’s interpreter, “Tell him to go on and run about a bit.”
The interpreter passed it on.
The player went onto the pitch and turned the opposition defence inside out.
Tottenham won the game 1-3.
The player was fast and did as he was told.
Redknapp kept it simple.
He knew there was power in simplicity and weakness in complexity.
I was reminded of this the other night.
I was talking to Dennis Willison, a creative director at Saatchi.
He was telling me about a friend of his who’s a salesman.
Now I’ve seen lots of books on selling.
But they’ve always been too complicated for me to read.
Just like Glenn Hoddle’s briefings.
Chart after chart until you lose the plot.
Charts on gradually turning a prospect’s rejection into acceptance.
Charts with pyramids of trust.
Circles of persuasion.
Ladders of permission.
Paths of acceptance.
Arrows and captions everywhere
You see, people are impressed by complicated things.
But actually, complication is the enemy.
If you can’t understand it you can’t remember it.
If you can’t remember it you can’t act on it.
If you can’t act on it, it’s useless.
So I was surprised when Dennis said, “My mate says selling’s really easy. Just remember three things: Feel. Felt. Found.”
I said pardon.
He said, “Feel. Felt. Found. That’s all you need to know”
I said how does that work?
He said, “Well, let’s say you’re selling double-glazing for instance.
You tell the prospect it’ll cost around ten thousand pounds.
The prospect frowns
You say, “Look I know how you FEEL. Ten thousand pounds is a lot of money.
I FELT exactly the same way when I had double-glazing put into my house.
But what I FOUND was that the savings on central heating were enormous. And the value it added to my house more than covered the cost”
Now forget the merits, or otherwise, of double-glazing salesmen for a minute.
Look at the simplicity of the language.
Anyone can remember “Feel. Felt. Found.”
Three simple words that, dropped into the conversation in that order, do more than all the charts.
(Feel) First you show empathy with the prospect.
You demonstrate that you understand their reaction.
In a right brain way this releases the emotional need for resistance.
(Felt) Then you talk to them like a friend not a salesman. You tell them about your personal experience. Human being to human being.
(Found) Finally, having established a comfortable bond, you can present all the left brain logical reasons for the purchase decision.
I thought that was a great example of what we should be doing.
Going beyond the complicated to the simple.
It reminded me of the exchange between Bobby Moore and Alf Ramsey during the World Cup final.
In the dressing room, Ramsey started giving Bobby Moore instructions.
“Look, you’re the captain. I want you to make Peters track back and pick up his opposite number. And I want Alan Ball to be…….”
Bobby Moore picked up the ball and ran onto the pitch saying, “Leave it out Alf. I’ve got me own game to worry about.”
England won the World Cup.