Q:How does a hockey coach become the president of a figure skating club?

A: Sales

Last night was the annual registration evening for Hockey and Figure Skating at our local Arena.  My hockey coaching career started on a registration night 5 years ago. In my son’s age group there were not enough players, no goalies, and no coach. I offered to coach the team if we could find enough players. Where there is a will there is a way! We found enough kids to make a team and we were up and running.

My son headed off for college last week, thus bringing an end to my minor hockey coaching career. Each year, leading up to registration night, I try out my best sales tactics to try and convince my daughters to sign up for hockey instead of figure skating. This year was no different than any other – unsuccessful. But this year was different. This year I am the president of the figure skating club, which puts me into a bit of a conflict of interest.

One of the girls my son graduated with was in figure skating and her dad was the president of the club. As fate would have it her dad and I ended up in a canoe together on their last class trip. He convinced me to take over from him as the president of the figure skating club during this 4-hour voyage. I put up much resistance to the idea, but eventually, he wore me down and tugged on the right heartstrings.

He was a heck of a salesman. I approached the registration event as an opportunity to grow the club membership rather than just an administrative task of collecting membership forms and dues. I strategically set up right beside the hockey registration booth. My sales strategy was not to convert hockey players into figure skaters but to tug on those same heartstrings that got me there – wanting to support our children. I talked about how much figure skating could help improve their child’s skating skills which would translate into better performance in the hockey game. I used humor as much as possible in order to avoid being perceived as a pushy salesman. Several hockey parents who signed their kids up for figure skating might wake up tomorrow wondering how the heck they got themselves into this!

Whether it is establishing a vision, recruiting or managing conflict, etc. these leadership activities have a sales component.

To be in leadership is to be in sales.

What are your beliefs about sales?

How do those beliefs support or diminish your leadership potential?

How can you approach more of your interactions as sales jobs?

What can you learn about yourself through these sales conversations?

How might your own anxiety affect your level of influence?

Q: How does a Hockey Dad convince his two daughters to trade in their figure skates for hockey skates?

A: I haven’t the slightest clue.