Baseball season is in “full swing,” and there are some great comparisons to the sales world.
Baseball coaches will consistently tell you that base hits win baseball games. Home runs are nice when they happen, and they look great on sports highlight shows. However, statistically speaking, they are much harder to hit. If you’re trying to hit a home run, you have a greater chance of striking out or hitting a fly ball to an outfielder. Part of this is mental, but physically the baseball swing also may be altered to hit the ball over the fence.
Base hits, by comparison, are much easier to obtain, and multiple base hits in an inning tend to result in runs being scored. Coaches refer to this as “putting the ball in play” (hitting a line drive or ground ball). Fielders will also tell you that it’s harder to catch a line drive or ground ball than it is to catch a fly ball.
Converting this topic to sales has tremendous merit as well. Many smaller sales can equal a large sale. In my experience as a sales coach and sales manager, I have seen countless salespeople struggle with this concept. They put “all their eggs in one basket” hoping for the “big one” to come through. If it does, they are rock stars. If not, they have nothing to show for their efforts. Concentrate on a balanced sales pipeline with all sizes of sales opportunities, but dominated by small and mid-sized opportunities. There are a lot more “base hit” sales opportunities out there, and the sales cycle may be considerably shorter than larger opportunities. Additionally, building loyalty with these customers may lead to additional sales over time (both large and small). Some larger sales develop as a result of several smaller sales. The “home run” sales will come (sometimes when you least expect them), but don’t count on them to “make or break” your sales year.