Want to know what the difference between success and failure in the NFL?
It’s one yard.
It’s the difference between having a 2nd down and 5, versus 2nd down and 6.
The same principle applies in baseball.
To bat .300 (the statistical “All-Star” gold standard), a player has to get 180 hits in 600 at-bats.
The difference between hitting .300 and .250 in 600 plate appearances? 30 hits, or 1 additional hit every 20 at bats.
A five percent increase in base hits a year is the difference between being an All-Star (and getting paid like one) and run-of-the-mill.
So what’s the big “So what?” here?
Mostly that I don’t think the majority of us plan our sales pipelines around prospects walking up and saying, “I need what you have, where is it and how soon can I get it?”
If you’re one of the lucky sales reps who gets leads that are always qualified and ready to buy, more power to you, but I know for most of us, sales aren’t 80-yard touchdowns or “home runs.” They’re a consistent process of “moving the chains,” controlling down and distance, and setting ourselves up for success.
Hitting singles, moving baserunners, and setting up RBI opportunities.
Too many reps go into their next phone call, their next email, their next conversation not really knowing what they want the outcome to actually be—so it’s not for lack of reason that noted sales evangelist Paul Castain preaches using a “sales playbook.” A playbook teaches a rep how to make the “right call” for the right “down and distance,” and to make progress with every “touch.”
If it feels like you’re constantly facing “3rd and long” situations in sales, go back and look at your strategy and playbook–for every down and distance. Occasionally you’ll convert a “3rd-and-13” type of prospect out of sheer luck, persistence, or both. But good “down and distance” means running the right “plays” to have productive first and second downs–and not having to sweat the pressure of converting a “3rd and long.”
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