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Growing up a majority of my youth in Cincinnati, I was a big-time Bengals fan. We didn’t always have the money to attend the games, but on a few rare occasions, we got to experience the orange and black-striped gridiron battle of the Bengals in person.
Boomer Esiason was a force. He didn’t throw the ball the farthest. He didn’t have the best accuracy. He wouldn’t put up the most yards or scramble for the most first downs. But he was a leader of his team, he managed the game, he made big plays, and he pushed his team to win. Boomer was consistent.
It was a major life event when my father took me down to Miami for the Super Bowl in ’89 where I dressed head to toe in Bengals gear and carried Who-Dey (Hudepohl) six packs for my father around a tailgating parking lot. We made our way inside Joe Robbie Stadium and witnessed one of the best football games ever – Super Bowl XXIII. Now, the Bengals did lose… and I cried… but it was an experience. And I was a Boomer fan for life. Now, as an announcer, he doesn’t dispense wins. He dispenses wisdom. And a recent statement of his made me like him even more, when discussing the challenge of coaching today’s players.
In an interview with Chicago’s sports radio station, 670 the Score, Esiason said, “Yes you can teach an old dog new tricks if that old dog wants to buy in and become a great player. If that old dog doesn’t want to and is going to resist everything that is happening around him, well then you’re going to have a player that’s impossible to coach.”
As a trainer (read: coach) of players in dealerships, I can say firsthand that the oldest of dogs can learn the newest of tricks. The tenured, surly vet of the floor can continue to be a well-oiled, profit machine on the lot with the right coaching. There is only one caveat: They must be willing to learn. Without the willingness to improve their game, they’ll simply stay an aging quarterback forever. You can’t throw to the same receiver every time and always count on a completion. You can’t give the defense the same looks every time and expect to move the chains after each play. You need to mix up your game. You need to improve. Aging quarterbacks that are unwilling to learn new plays just don’t win games.
Boomer Esiason recognized this. However, he decided his “new plays” weren’t to be on the football field, but were in the commentator booth. He chose to learn new skills in an effort to stay relevant. He did what it took to elevate his game in another arena. The same way the 25-year-in-the-business salesperson must understand the consumers’ Internet experience if they expect to rule the sales floor. Or how the 10-year, 10-car-a-month salesperson must understand the store’s Internet technology if they expect to handle Internet leads. It takes the willingness to learn new things.
It amazes me that more seasoned sales pros don’t peel off the pads, humble themselves, sit down with their coaches, watch some game tape, and listen with open ears on how to make their game better. It is possible. You just need to listen to the coaching. You just need to be like Boomer.
Much like DealerKnows, Boomer Esiason knows too.