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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

Election Day 2008 - 5 Votes for Better Sales Success

Posted by Traci Powers on Tue, Nov 04, 2008

It is Election Day and arguably the single most important Presidential Election of our lifetime. In the spirit of making decisions that make a difference, here are 5 decisions to make that will impact your sales success:

  1. Vote to have clear and extra-ordinary goals. There is something inspiring about having goals and making them extra-ordinary. As Walt Disney said, ‘dream the big dream, there is nothing in small dreams that stir the blood.'
  2. Vote to be a leader within your peer group and be the dominate player in your market. Too many times I hear, ‘we are not the dominate player in our market'. So, what does that have to do with you deciding that you will be the dominant player in your market place? All of you have the product selection, the support and the resources to be the dominant player. Vote for yourself to be that kind of player.
  3. Vote to get decisions from prospects. In other words, get them to vote. Today you can't go to the polls and say, ‘let me think about it'. No, all the thinking has been done. Today you take action and decision making takes place. You can do the same thing with prospects. Ask them to do all of their thinking before you show up so that they are armed with questions, you are prepared to answer them and when done, people can decide. Yes or no is ok, but vote.
  4. Vote for prospecting. You have to understand that you can't get people to choose you unless you are out their campaigning for yourself. Establish your brand by getting into the market. Let people know who you are even if you don't get the appointment. If you call them and let them know who you are the first time, then the second call gets easier.
  5. Vote to qualify who you will work with. Not everyone is someone that fits your vision, mission and goals. Not everyone in the market place qualifies to pick you as someone they want to work with or represent them. You can't approach the market place hoping that you can serve all the people all of the time, it just isn't going to happen. Decide who you are best suited to represent and then do that to the best of your ability.

Thanks for listening to my stump speech today.  Go VOTE!

Topics: Prospecting, Selling, Sales, sales techniques, How to Sell, How to Increase Sales, increase sales

5 Sales Benefits of Calling At The Top

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Sep 26, 2008

Here are five sales benefits of calling at the top when you prospect:

  1. You will have the attention of the ultimate decision maker of the sale
  2. You will shorten your sales cycle as a result of being with the decision maker
  3. When you run into problems with people that manage or administer your program, service or product you have a relationship with someone that can fix the problem.
  4. If the problems you uncover are real problems you will be in front of the person that will find the money to fix the problem and complete the sale
  5. When you call at the top you will know if a current relationship will derail you from getting the sale.

Your decision when you are prospecting is to decide:  How important is it for you to have these 5 sales benefits.  If these benefits won't help you sell more business, more quickly at higher margins then keep calling on those that can only tell you know, limit your budget, and limit your abililty to effectively implement a plan, program or service the exceeds the prospects expectations.

Topics: Sales, prospects, sale, expectations, sell more business, decisions


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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