While for most people, the ending of summer signals a mad rush to the ice cream shops and all day barbecue. For sports fans, the ending of summer likely means one thing: the beginning of both baseball and golf playoff season.
In both sports, the repetition found in each swing is the key to long-term success.
In golf, swings are mechanical and repeatable. Some are upright, some are flat, and then there is the Furyk swing, a strange, octopus-like movement that is as entertaining as it is effective.
A golfers round is wholly based off of routine, and one slight deviation from that routine can lead to utter disaster. Something as simple as a misplaced hand alignment or incorrect follow-through can derail a player's swing kill the entire round.
In baseball, having a set routine in the batters-box is a critical element as well. Jose Bautista has his leg kick. Bryce Harper torques his hands. Ken Griffey Jr. had his famous (and gorgeous) arm extension.
And if you watch any of baseball’s greats, there isn’t a lot of swing variation.
But you’ll also see something else. Even if the greats swing the same way 99% of the time...
… They can mix it up when they need to.
If a player is facing a knuckleball pitcher, hitting in a bigger ballpark, or just can’t seem to connect, they need to adjust their game plan and try something new.
And the same principle applies in selling. While no two deals will the same, the strategy, presentation, and process will likely be similar / the same deal to deal.
But great sales reps and great sales leaders know: the real accelerators kick in when you tailor your craft to suit the context today.
Here are three areas that are prone to stagnation in the sales approach, and what you need to do to keep them fresh.
1. Prospecting sales approach
For most golfers, the first step in their swing routine is the most important of all. If that first step is misplaced in any way, then the rest of the routine is thrown off – and the ball ends up in the pond.
The same is true for B2B salespeople.
The prospecting tactic that was hot last week might not be paying dividends next. A good rep will accept there are pros and cons. But a great one knows that you can’t afford to let your lead generation dictate your process. Change it up if something is not working.
In baseball, a batter usually gets four opportunities to make an impact.
That means if a player is 0-2, they’ve used half their impact opportunities. Usually, the’ll change up their swing to try and get something going with the final two opportunities.
You need a similar level of flexibility in your sales approach and your sales process.
In the course of a sales cycle, the presentation is the midway point. If the presentation isn’t working well and your buyer just isn't “getting” your value, then you need to mix things up, and be ready to change as needed to a new sales approach.
The follow-through of a baseball swing is the last act of a hitter’s routine. While some players, like former Red Sox great David Ortiz, seem to always finish with their signature follow-through, there are certain situations that sometimes call for a change.
In sales, a company doesn’t need to close out every deal the same way. Sales teams should be mixing up their close whenever something’s not working.
Golf and baseball are both based on repetition, and repetition can drive incredible results when used correctly. But as any seasoned rep will tell you, no two deals are the same.
That’s why we think that the sales approach should be more like a baseball swing: repetitive enough to deliver consistent results…
… but flexible enough to support changes as they roll in.
And like all things, if you can marry both, you’re likely to drive even better results.