If you’re a fan of football, you may already be familiar with the swim move. If not, I’ll break it down for you. When I was younger, I played football as a defensive lineman. This meant I often had to face off against offensive linemen who were much bigger than I was. To get past them, I couldn’t push right through. Instead, I’d use the swim move.
The swim move is a technique where the defensive lineman uses the offensive lineman’s own force against him. As a bigger, stronger offensive lineman rushed at me, I’d break around him and right through the line. I no longer play football, but I’ve learned how to apply this same strategy to close far more sales than ever before -- and it works.
To learn more, check out the video below:
The Problem with Immediate Responses
Before we explore how to apply the swim move to your sales approach, let’s talk about why it’s so important. Imagine a prospect asks, “Do you come on site for the initial installation?”
Most salespeople would respond immediately, “Yes, of course I’ll be on site!”
If the prospect wants her salesperson on site for the installation, this quick response does no harm. But what if the prospect is looking to do the installation herself and doesn’t want to be bothered by a salesperson in the office?
If you don’t understand the “why” before you answer a question, you could lose a sale. That’s where the swim move comes in.
Using the Swim Move in Sales
Let’s go back to our hypothetical question, “Do you come on site for the initial installation?” If you answer right away, you’re like the defensive lineman who rushes at the offensive lineman, ignoring the difference of size and strength. The swim move is key to figuring out the “why” behind the question so that you can answer appropriately.
Respond to questions with, “That’s a great question. Why do you ask that?”
The first sentence validates their question and makes them feel smart, while the second prompts them to reveal their intention.
Make sure you’re never using this technique to manipulate the prospect. In the case of our example question, you’re probably willing to be on site for installation but don’t need to be there. Once you understand what they prefer, you can adjust your answer and service to meet their needs—ultimately closing more sales by putting the customer first.
Have you ever misunderstood a client’s intentions when answering a question? What was the result? Share your experiences in the comments below. Check out this free 1-Minute Sales Strengths-Finder Quiz to transform your sales strategy even more.
Originally published Apr 25, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated June 11 2021