- July 18, 2020
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, not paying attention to the news, or watching stations that are glorifying what is taking place in major US cities, we are in trouble – again. Cities continue to be overrun by rioters and looters, police have not been able to stop the epidemic of assaults, robberies and murders, some police departments have been defunded and there are plans to dismantle others. If it becomes unsafe to drive into cities like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, LA, Portland, Seattle, Detroit, and others, the supply chain will be disrupted. Truckers will choose not to drive into those cities, retailers will close – for good, restaurants will lose even more business, and tourism will continue to suffer as it did during the shutdown months of March, April and May.
There may not be much we can do except to vote responsibly in November, and make sure that socialism and mob rule do not replace law and order, liberty and capitalism. It’s not about the candidates themselves as much as it’s about which side of the issues they are on. Of course there are other issues, and they are important too, but they will have to take a back seat to the three issues that could drastically change our country, kill our economy, ruin our way of life, and devalue our homes and businesses.
I’m sure my opening two paragraphs will ruffle the feathers of those who don’t agree with me and I apologize for that. If you’re upset, stop reading my sales and business articles and unsubscribe from notifications.
We’re at a baseball tournament outside of Richmond Virginia. It’s a last hoorah for our 18-year-old son, playing in his last major tournament prior to heading to college in early August. Like my home state of Massachusetts, Virginia is in phase 3 of reopening and there are many restrictions in place. But unlike central Massachusetts, where everyone wears a mask when going inside a store or public place, mask wearing is not taken nearly as seriously here – even though the rules require it. The lack of mask-wearing scares me!
With my son continuing his baseball career at college, this month marks the official end to his youth baseball era. I’ve been around youth baseball for 11 years, the first 5 as a coach and the last 6 as a dad. One of the cool things that I observed, and if you’ve been around baseball at all, you’ll probably agree that every team had the same 8 kids:
- The twin. The 9-year old all-star team I coached a decade ago had 5 sets of twins. That’s 10 twins between them and 4 of the twins were on the roster!
- The fat kid playing first base. That kid could pitch or catch but he always played first base.
- The little kid playing second base. And most of them had a chip on their shoulders that was far bigger than their physical size.
- The kid with the hair. There always seems to be one with what my son would call a nice flow.
- The Jokester – There is always one kid who is hysterical.
- The tall left-handed pitcher. Always.
- The kid with the annoying voice. I’ve never seen a team that didn’t have that kid who rooted his team on from the dugout with the loud, annoying, raspy, cheer-leading voice
- The skinny kid – This is the kid who doesn’t get wet when it rains.
Unless something changes – and it could – opening day for Major League Baseball happens this week! I miss baseball.
Before you think that this applies only to youth baseball teams, I want to be clear. Sales teams are like this too. In the past 35 years I have personally trained hundreds of sales teams and tens of thousands of salespeople and sales teams always have the same 8 salespeople:
- The know-it-all
- The crusty veteran
- The one who is resistant to change
- The puppy dog – who will do whatever you tell them to do
- The role player – the one who you have to role play with to demonstrate how it should sound
- The attention seeking missile – who wants the focus to always be on them
- The dummy – who just can’t seem to get it
- The early adopter – who leads the way on application and execution
I started this article with the threat to our economy and way of life, transitioned to baseball, and then to sales teams. Now I have to tie this rambling multi-topic article together with a brilliant summary. It’s not very brilliant.
Rarely are there any surprises, we usually know what we are getting, and the options are usually quite clear. I usually know what a baseball team will look like, as much as I know what every sales team will look like. The same premise applies to the actual selling.
You know where you need to end up, you just have to help your prospect admit to the problem you believe they have and help them articulate how it impacts them. The conversation isn’t dramatically different from one prospect to the next, you just have to ask the right questions, get them talking, and get out of the way. There are usually no more than 8 possible issues to begin with, and not more than 1 or 2 that are critical to any specific prospect. While you can usually predict where you will end up, you have to pay attention, listen well, and respond with great questions.
As I’ve written dozens of times in the past 15 years, sales is like baseball and baseball can save our country. Baseball is a sport of traditions that we don’t want to part with. We should feel the same way about law and order, liberty, and capitalism.
Speaking of capitalism, check out this screen shot from Amazon where you can get Baseline Selling for Kindle for as little as $0, or where one reseller is offering my book for $902.81. You can buy the paperback on Amazon for $17.95.
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