With all the tributes that have been pouring in since Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday, it’s probably safe to say nobody has asked this question. And let’s be honest, prize fighting doesn’t exactly mirror what B2B professionals do. Still, there are a few things we can draw upon that bear mention.
Let’s start with Ali’s verbal brand: I am the greatest! While this rubs many the wrong way, Steve Melanson, the Godfather of Verbal Branding would be proud. In less than five seconds, that signature line makes a statement about his ability and provokes conversation. It’s doubtful that Ali uttered those words nobody responded.
On the surface, this verbal brand appears to break a cardinal rule: do not oversell or overhype your capabilities and abilities. In Ali’s case, with a few exceptions during his career when he was banished from boxing, the statement is true.
Besides being individually good at what you do, develop a network of others who are also at or near the tops of their field. Is it a coincidence that Ali had one of the greatest trainers in boxing history in his corner, Angelo Dundee? Not really.
Another sign of a good networker: having others sing your praises. Could Muhammad Ali risen to the heights that he did without Howard Cosell? It’s an interesting question. But in your business networking and marketing efforts, it’s equally important to have somebody who is a champion of you or your products or services.
Perhaps the ultimate trait of Muhammad Ali that would benefit all people in business is one of resiliency, both inside and outside the ring. After being banned from fighting, it would have been easy for Ali to call it a day. He did not.
Inside the ring, he took a lot of punches. Yet he always got back up, win or lose. In business, you will win some, you probably lose a few, too. How you respond dictates the level of your success.
Rest in peace, champ.