Sales Expert Uses Baseball Analogy for Becoming a Sales Superstar

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Author uses Baseball as a metaphor for a simple yet powerful four-step selling system that has visual capabilities not found in other systems.

Objective Management Group, Inc., has assessed around 250,000 salespeople over the last 16 years and a review of that data revealed that 74% of these salespeople were ineffective. “I believe it’s because the professional training that exists for salespeople today is too complicated for people to understand and remember and nearly impossible to apply to their businesses,” claims Dave Kurlan, sales expert and author of “Baseline Selling: How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What you Already Know about the Game of Baseball” (ISBN 1420895664.)

Research has shown that the top 26% of all sales people will excel with any system or methodology they adopt while the remaining 74% are weak, poor performers, and will struggle unless the methodology is simple and effective. There is a need for a fresh new selling methodology that has the simplicity of four-step systems of the 1950's but with the qualification and questioning strategies featured in more modern systems - only easier. “Baseball makes a great metaphor for a simple yet powerful four-step selling system that has visual capabilities not found in other systems,” states Kurlan.

Baseball is the only sport other than golf that has only forward progress. Basketball, football, hockey and soccer all go back and forth but baseball, when translated into sales, becomes a four-step process. And in addition to the steps being get to first, get to second, get to third and score, the baseball diamond itself becomes a powerful representation of the sales pipeline. “Suspects on the first baseline, Prospects lined up on the way to second base, Qualified Opportunities on the base path between second and third base and Closeable Opportunities lined up on the third base line,” details Kurlan.

One of the trickiest, yet seldom used plays in baseball, is the Hidden Ball Trick where the pitcher pretends he has the ball when in reality, an infielder near a base runner really has it. When the runner takes his lead he is tagged out. Kurlan explains “You will use the Hidden Ball Trick to get your prospects to tell you all about the weaknesses of your competition. The Hidden Ball Trick is simple, fun and downright unfair. Your competitors won't stand a chance!”

Kurlan further articulates, “Everyone has an internal decision making process and the final step in this process is the number of times they must ‘check with themselves’ to make the final decision. In the grocery store, it might be the number of heads of lettuce one has to hold before choosing one. On a sales call, if the prospect has a Habit Quotient of three – she needs to check with herself three times before she can say ‘yes’ – and the salesperson has the right solution at the right price at the right time, the prospect will not say ‘yes’ until the salesperson has asked the third time.” “Baseline Selling” explains how to easily elicit the Habit Quotient from each prospect. Kurlan’s book also introduces a close so simple that anyone can easily use it and have success with it. “As a matter of fact, it is so easy that I call it the Inoffensive Close. ‘Would you like my help?’” says Kurlan.

Dave Kurlan is the founder of Objective Management Group, Inc. in Westborough, MA, a firm specializing in sales force evaluations. He was a top-rated speaker at Inc. Magazine’s Conference on Growing the Company. “Baseline Selling” may be purchased at any online book store or


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Irene Watson
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