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Key to Successful Selling – Manage Your Players to These 5 Rules of The Game

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Sep 22, 2015

I’m reading Fast Company magazine this morning and realize I don’t get out of it what I used to.  It’s probably a combination of how I’ve changed, how our company has changed and how the magazine has changed. This got me thinking about other articles I’ve read about how selling has changed and the “keys” to selling in today’s market.


I did a quick Google search for “keys to sales success” and here are some of the articles that Google found:

But, this is what I think – the keys to successful selling really haven’t changed that much… if at all.

In 2005, I read Dave Kurlan’s book, Baseline Selling.  Dave took the fundamentals of effective selling and used the baseball diamond and baseball terminology to explain his sales process. If you think about baseball, or look at old baseball videos or pictures, you will find that the game today is essentially exactly the same game that was formalized in New York about 1840.

I am convinced that the “game” of selling is exactly the same game that Frank Bettger (Author of How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling) was playing in 1952.  I read his book over 15 years ago, but I didn’t know this fact about Frank until today – he played professional baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. With that in mind, let’s stick with the baseball theme.

The Rules of the Game for Successful Selling

  1. Take batting practice every day - Practice
  2. Take what the pitcher gives you – Focus on what problem your prospect has to solve.  Leave your product briefcase and brochures in the car.
  3. Swing at YOUR pitch – Just like a batter faces lots of pitches and only are a few are ones he can really connect with, you will face lots of prospects, but only work with those that you can really work with and help.
  4. When the 1st base coach is waving for you to keep going, go to second base. When you find out that your prospect has a “have-to-fix-problem”, that doesn’t mean you try and steal home.  Go to second and make sure they have the money to fix the problem. Go to 3rd to make sure they are committed to investing the time, money or resources to fix the problem.  Before you head for home, make sure you can score when you get there – the prospect is committed to making a decision.
  5. In the first inning, you might strike out, hit into a double play, walk to first, get hit by a pitch, get stranded on first, etc. You have to shake all of that off because you have 8 more innings to play. Anything can happen as long as you keep going and getting at bats.

Additional Resources:

Drafting better players –

Sales Management – 9 Keys to Coaching Sales Success

Free book for your salespeople – Why is Selling So Damn Hard?

Topics: Sales, SME, Selling Success, sales management

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.


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