The smell of spring is in the air, along with the completion of the first week of the 2018 Major League baseball season here in the US. Last year Chris Polek (Owner of Polek & Polek) and I collaborated with our first baseball themed blog for the office equipment channel. "Nine Innings with Polek & Polek" was a hit with our readers. Chris & I have teamed up again for this year blog which uses common baseball jargon and how that jargon translates to the office equipment channel.
Eight Baseball Idioms for the Office Equipment Industry
Spring Training: For those of us that are baseball fans the thought of Spring Training reminds us that Spring is right around the corner and the renewed hope that our team has the chance to be the World Champions.
Most copier dealerships mark the end of their year with the last calendar day of the year. Typically most opportunities are squeezed, pushed and shoved into that last month of the year. January tends to be a month of starting over or renewing your focus for the new year.
That first week of the January can be your Spring Training. Taking time to cull your CRM, review future prospects and develop a plan to achieve your personal and business sales goals.
Situational Hitting: Moving the runner over, hit and run, bunt, and the sacrifice fly are different types of hitting that you want to accomplish in different baseball scenarios. These different offensive techniques can power the offense to score runs while making an out.
In sales we can look at prospecting in the same manner. You need to step up to the plate and make things happen with in person visits, and phone calls. More often that not you’ll be making outs, but the continued stepping up to the plate with prospect will produce opportunities for new business. I’m a big believer that if you put in the work, you’ll be surprise what tomorrow will bring you.
PFP’s (Pitchers Fielding Practice): Believe it or not, most pitchers (and catchers) are the best athletes on the team. In fact most of them probably started at shortstop at the beginning of their baseball career. Playing the position of pitcher has some unwritten rules. Pitchers get out of the way when there’s a popup in or around the pitcher’s mound. They cover first base, when the first baseman has to cover a dribble to his side.
Ever notice how pitchers and catchers report earlier than the other players? It is because they have the most responsibility in the game. It is not just pitching and catching. They control the pace of the game, they give direction on the strategy, and when a ball is in play the pitcher and catcher are always moving around the field to back up throws. It is difficult to see on TV, and when you are at a game you will notice that the pitcher and catcher are active ALL the time. When you think about it, pitchers and catchers responsibilities are very similar to those of leaders and managers.
Meeting on the Mound:
A new rule this year in baseball is a limit on meetings on the mound, and a time limit. You know those meetings you have been in that never seem to end, or when will we get to the point?
We can learn from this rule. As a manager, your job is to coach your salesperson. Keep your meetings brief by being prepared and having an agenda. Agree on a strategy, and then ACT! Ultimately the most important thing is the immediate action that you take when the meeting is finished.
Can of Corn:
For those that don’t know baseball, this is an easy to catch fly ball. In our businesses we need to make sure we devote time on the easy tasks that will help grow our business.
The Can of Corn is: focus on your loyal customers; don’t ignore them. It amazes me how many businesses put so much time and resources in only acquiring new customers to grow. Cable companies are a good example of this. Not to single out cable companies, but when you look at their behavior you start to see similar behaviors with many companies and your buying experience. Try this exercise: call five loyal customers today. Thank them for being a loyal customer. Ask them: “Is there anything new that you are working on that you think we could help you?” The answer your customers offer are about to give you new ideas on how you can do more business. They will choose you first because they know, like, and trust you. If your customer brings up an idea that you don’t handle, find a way to connect them with a person or company that can.
Caught Napping is the opposite of Can of Corn. Go ahead and ignore those loyal customers while you primarily focus on acquiring new ones, and watch what happens. Your behavior shows those customers that you don’t care that much and they are not important to you. When you do that, your value to these customers erodes, and so does their loyalty to you! Eventually you get the wake-up call that they are leaving you, and doing business with a competitor. When this happens, most people come up with every excuse in the book, except pointing the finger at themselves. Apologize to those loyal customers before it is too late, that you realized that you have not paid enough attention to them as you should, and that is going to change. Focus on treating your loyal customers well, or get Caught Napping. Your choice!
It ain’t over till it’s over: Is one of those famous Yogi Berra quotes. It ain’t over till it’s over means quitting or projecting a defeated attitude is not an option. You always have the chance to win.
Mental toughness is an important part of the game and in your business. There will always be adversity, and when you give up too easily when things get tough, the only thing that gets easier is quitting too early. Another famous Yogism: “90% of the game is half mental.”
Let The Ball Travel: In baseball this means to let the ball travel a little deeper before you swing because you’re out in front of the ball. I’ll use the term of letting the ball travel when I’ve touched all of the opportunities several times and nothing is moving forward. I then let those accounts sit for a few days or a week with no follow up. During that the let ball travel time, I’ll find time to research prospects and add new opportunities to the pipeline. Keep in mind that your clients are just as busy as you and in most cases the thought of buying office equipment is not their top priority.
I hope these baseball references have helped you re-focus on Spring Training for your business. Let’s PLAY BALL!
Good Selling from
-=Chris Polek & Art Post=-