Swing For the Fences (and Hit Some Singles and Doubles)

I am not a baseball fan (this guy is). Not even a little bit. Unless we are going to the ballpark (something I very, very rarely do), I never watch baseball. But sales lessons are everywhere, and we take them where we find them.

Some players are sluggers. They take the most difficult pitches and knock the ball out of the park. It’s exciting, and it puts numbers on the board. Sluggers strike out a lot too. But if you look at their records, you’ll see that while sluggers swing for the fences, but they also hit a lot of singles and doubles.

You should hit a lot of singles and doubles too.

Waiting for the Big One

The problem with only swinging for the fences, winning only the grand-slam-home-run-dream-clients, is that you win too few new accounts with too much time in between. You need to call on your big dream clients, but there’s good reason to call on smaller—but still significant—dream clients.

First, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that you have enough at bats (opportunities) to be able to make only pursuing the biggest of big accounts an effective strategy. And second, and more importantly, you miss a lot of opportunities to win smaller, but still significant wins along the way.

If your pipeline has very few, but very large opportunities, you are trying to make your number by only hitting grand slam home runs. Hit one, you might look good. Losing those few opportunities—or taking forever to close them—and you performance is awful (and it’s the nature of larger opportunities to be more complex and to take more time to work through the buying process).

Put Up Numbers

Some salespeople never swing hard enough to hit a home run. They only play for singles, and you can’t make the top 20% without the large clients it takes to get you there. If that’s you, you do better to keep hitting your singles and working you way up to larger, more complex accounts.

But if all you do is go for the grand slam home runs (or hunt elephants, or slay dragons, or whatever metaphor you like), you’d produce better results—and more consistently—by hitting singles and doubles along the way.


Are you too focused on only large dream clients?

How do you pick up the singles and doubles—the smaller, but still significant dream clients—as you work on the hitting a home run?

Why do you struggle to work on singles and doubles while you work on your larger, dream clients?

What mindset do you need to have to hit consistently?

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Filed under: Sales

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