Put Me in, Coach

I will beat any Major League batter in any batting contest anywhere in the country, anytime of the year- as long as he stays out of the batter’s box.

Skill, attitude, knowledge of the game and vast experience don’t stand a chance from outside the batter’s box.  Swinging the bat is not preparation, training, role-playing, research, organizing, listening to positive CD’s, attending sales meetings, planning, or writing proposals.  Yes, these are all important, but none of them make the sale!  Swinging the bat is about calling, writing, or stopping by. It’s having a meeting, asking great questions, presenting and even asking for the sale, which is usually pretty easy if you’ve done the preparation and process right, and mixed it with proper integrity and care.  Swinging the bat is a green light activity – an activity that has the direct potential to move you closer to your (sales) goal.

If you are in sales, you know exactly what I am writing about.  There are many good sales people who just don’t swing the bat, or, if they do, they are very inconsistent.   You can train on how best to swing the bat (sales approach, great questioning, trial closing, etc). You can associate with positive minded individuals, develop a tremendous attitude and believe you are the best at hitting the ball out of the park.  You can learn every pitch there is, how to see and anticipate it. You can adjust your stance based on your knowledge of the situation, the count, the score, the base runners.  None of it matters until you step in the batter’s box and APPLY what you know and how you think. 

As elementary as this sounds and as much as we look for deeper reasons for poor performance, lack of consistent execution is often the most common issue.  It’s also one of the simplest to fix. Sales people simply don’t stay in the box long enough for all the training to pan out.   Most of us see failure, step out of the box and try to make adjustments, and then step back into the box.  It’s better to stay in the box, keep swinging and adjust on the fly. Think of it this way - it’s easier to steer a moving car than one that is parked!  Get in the batter’s box, swing, adjust, swing, adjust, swing and knock it out of the park.  Success will shine through eventually – as long as you stay in the box, learn and adjust, listen to winners and believe in yourself.

Here’s an exercise. In your digital calendar, mark all your “bat swinging” time as green – calls, stop bys, meetings.  This is kind of like “billable” time for a sales person.  Track your weekly percentages and work toward increase. While there is certainly more to good sales than just swinging the bat, simple usually works wonders. 

Keep it simple - swing the bat.