5 Ways Great Business People Are Like Great Boxers
Great business people are always searching for new and innovative ways to find success. They think strategically based on careful insights into the market. They aren’t afraid to be quick, daring, and different, or to do something that will surprise their customers. And they thrive in a rapidly changing environment.
In many ways, being a good business person is like being a good boxer. A surprising metaphor?
Well, consider the following:
1. Understanding your customers vs. understanding your opponent
No matter which business you’re in, you must understand your customers. And you need a deep understanding that goes much further than simply knowing their tastes or preferences; you need an understanding that drives to the heart of who they are as human beings. This is what we refer to as Human-Centric Marketing. It involves understanding the market and the brand from the customers’ point of view, and understanding the conscious and sub-conscious factors that influence the question: “What brand do I choose?” In marketing, understanding your customers represents the first step to building a successful go-to-market strategy. In boxing, you need to study everything about your opponent: How do they initiate a particular attack? How many punches are usually in their combinations? How do they back up? And so on and so on. The more things you learn, the better fighter you become.
2. Go-to-market strategy vs. go-to-floor strategy
Every good boxer must have a precise attack strategy designed to knock out their opponent – let’s call it a ‘go-to-floor’ strategy. In business, it is important to develop a go-to-market strategy that doesn’t just create brand preference, but actually drives purchase behavior. Just like a boxer skillfully puts together combinations of punches that set up and then take down their opponent, a marketer needs to arrange their communication tools inside and outside the selling environment that sets up and closes the sale. Remember that in the same way that a boxer must both attack and defend against an opponent, so too must the successful marketer execute the right strategy for customers while defending against the competitors.
3. Hitting the right tension points is vital!
Boxing is more intellectual than you might think. Remember Muhammad Ali? A great boxer has a very keen understanding of human physiology and how that knowledge can be uniquely applied against a given opponent. They understand the body’s pressure points and how to exploit those areas. They know that one well-placed punch can win the entire fight with a knock-out blow. Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan…until they get punched in the mouth.”
In much the same way, business people must address the tension points within their customers’ lives, i.e., customer fears/anxieties and hope/aspirations. They must then find ways to address or release them through their products, services, and communication messages.
4. Deliver the right message (punch) at the right time and place
An experienced boxer is aware that it is not always the strength of an attack that counts. Many times, it is more important that an attack be well timed and precise. Similarly, an experienced marketer knows that they must not only focus on the right communication, but also on delivering that communication at the right time and at the right place.
5. The market is your boxing ring
Any boxer worth their salt knows to jab more than they hook! Now that we, as business people, are metaphorically in the ring, we need to be able to defend ourselves as well as be ready to deliver that KO punch. In boxing, boxers jab to keep distance from their opponents and exploit their defense, so they can determine the perfect time to unleash their right hook and end it all. As business people, part of our job is to find weaknesses and opportunities and figure out how we can best exploit them. We then strengthen those positions while at the same time put up safeguards so that competitors cannot attack us. This is the ‘jab’ in the business world. Once we’ve set up, have a deep understanding of our market, and anticipate reactions, it’s time to get ready to land our ‘right hook’ – that new targeting marketing campaign we’ve been working on that will grow our business exponentially. With all the preparation, hard work, and skilled insights we’ve put into it, we’ll land our ‘right hook’ in the market and become champions. So, let’s lace up and get in the ring!