Recently, I was working with a client. One of their salespeople was talking in abstract terms about the time he was spending on a big idea with unattainable clients – home runs – as opposed to smaller accounts – singles.
Sports and sales are very similar. We talk about goals and metrics in a similar way: your close rate, your shooting percentage, your batting average. All of those pieces are usually measured on a scoreboard or a website somewhere that show us how effective you are as a salesperson or a ballplayer. But are they a true measure of your effectiveness? And are they a true measure of the work you put in to get where you are, and an indicator of sustained success?
In my days of working retail, I remember the times I’d have a big “walk-up” sale at the beginning of a shift. A successful day then was selling $2,000 in clothing. If you had someone walk up at the beginning of a shift who bought $500 in clothes, you were that much closer to your goal for the day. But it was not an indicator of you doing the right thing, just an indicator of luck and timing. (And those are not bad things to have, but in the long run, they will all even out.) In baseball terms, if you keep hitting the ball hard, you will hit for a higher average than if you rely on check-swing singles. As the noted baseball performance psychologist Harvey Dorfman wrote, “You have to remember your goal, regardless of how things are going.”
There are some mental skills tricks that carry over between sports and sales. But first, I want to review a basic philosophy. Singles vs home runs. Layups vs three pointers. 4 yard plays vs a deep pass on second down. You have to play the percentages and stay consistent. Sometimes you will hit the big one, but it’s rare that there are big ones without the focus on the little ones. We get so caught up in watching Tom Brady find Randy Moss deep downfield that we forget that he hit Wes Welker over the middle for 5 yards a few times in the course of a drive. But it’s the little plays that set up the big ones.
If you are doing the right things from a sport standpoint – following a routine, performing thoughtful self-analysis and recognizing faults, and being consistent – you will succeed. The same thing goes with business. If you have a routine where you “become” a salesperson each day, you will get into the right frame of mind and be ready to sell. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs used to take 5½ hours to get ready for a game, to become a ballplayer for that day, 162 times a year. He hit .328 over the course of his long career, and rarely deviated from his routine. Routine provides comfort and confidence and makes visualization of success that much easier.
Consistency is doing the right things, and repeating them, every day. Does it lead to home runs immediately? Not necessarily. But if you do the right things for the right reasons, it leads to success. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman works on hitting line drives to shortstop in his batting practice routine. He does this because he can get square content and drive the ball into the gap. There’s a reason for it. He doesn’t hit homers in practice, because no one ever got to the Hall of Fame putting on a laser show in BP. He’s got 240 in games in his career, merely by following a routine, trying to hit singles, and realizing home runs are mistakes.
Think of prospecting as batting practice. You’re trying to do the right things over and over again. Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time leads to the home run sale, the 80-yard touchdown pass. And sometimes it leads to small sales that don’t get you to your goal as fast, but they all count. It starts with a consistent routine of prospecting.
Maverick can help you with this piece, simply by putting the right leads into your funnel and speaking to them – every day. Talk to us and find out how we can help you get some runners on base, so you can drive them home.
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