Did you watch the Home Run Derby on Monday night? I've never seen anything like it. You could see thunder and lightening through the glass wall in left field as thunderstorms raged while all the home runs were being launched. Wow, what a show! Of course, my mind always looks for a correlation to selling and there are some good ones here.
The sales equivalent to the Home Run Derby wouldn't really work - buyers lining up to place orders with the greatest salespeople on the planet. That's stupid. But there's another way to correlate the derby to selling greatness and that is in the area of preparation. Consider this:
I did some research and found that MLB hitters take as many as 500 swings per day - and they are already among the 750 greatest baseball players in the world. Resource. What would that look like if we compared it to selling preparation? Let's consider the following:
- Each "at bat" (AB) is equal to a sales phone call or sales meeting.
- Each "dry swing" is equal to a mental review of an upcoming conversation.
- Each session of batting practice or cage work is equal to a role-play.
- A swing takes about 3 seconds, so 500 swings is equal to a 25-minute role play.
What if you aren't already one of the greatest salespeople but want to become one? This article tells the story of a 45-year-old writer with nothing but Little League experience. He embarked on a quest to become a home run hitter and in doing so it took:
- 100 swings per day
- 15 months
- 28 broken bats
- a total of 38,400 swings
The key ingredient here is practice and in the area of practice, role playing. Most salespeople not only hate to practice (read role-playing), but don’t believe it is necessary. But it's crucial to practice every possible scenario that could come up so that we are completely prepared - for anything. How many salespeople are so thoroughly prepared that it wouldn’t matter what their prospect said, did, or asked and the competition would be irrelevant?
"The only difference between successful salespeople and the other 77% is that the successful salespeople actually do the very things they don't like doing."
Here is a great movie clip from Hitch that demonstrates how difficult it is to role-play.
As Aaron Judge became the greatest home run hitter on the planet Monday night, it's important to understand how much practice and preparation was required to get there. It has taken him his entire short lifetime!
If you want to become a great salesperson - one of the top 7% - then you need to put in the equivalent of your 500 swings every day and practice through role play. Those who commit to this and make it all consuming will experience financial rewards and personal gratification that will make it all worthwhile.
If you like the baseball/sales analogy, there is none better than the one found in the best-selling book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball.