Hitting Curve Balls

“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #1”   

Life is an amazingly unpredictable experience; no one can argue that statement. We live through a collection of unexpected experiences in our personal, national, economic and businesses lives. If you are always expecting and striving for life to be “placid” like a lake on a calm day, you are out of touch with reality. Life is sure to throw you curveballs. Don’t expect this series to be a parade of sports analogies; this one however, is perfect to set the stage for said series. The main goal of this series is to expand our thinking about how best to approach the psychology of selling in our unpredictable new world.  

My first piece of advice is to keep your multi-tasking to a minimum. When you are selling, listening is just as important as speaking so focus is a must. When a good hitter digs into the batter’s box and he is looking intently at the ball after it leaves the pitcher’s hand, he is looking at the seams. The rotation or lack thereof, speed of the spin, its tightness and direction, these are all the things he can see that may tip him off (in a millisecond) as to the type of pitch it may be. This determination is only possible by expecting something unexpected. It is the only way to not get fooled by what comes in. As a person and business person living in this crazy, volatile world, we should expect curve balls. Expecting them is the only way to be able to handle them. 

Let me go a step further; they (curve balls) can be opportunities in disguise, so getting upset that they even exist is counterproductive. Know that they are coming and be excited to find not only the silver lining, but also the unexpected blessings they can present. This advice is good for children of all ages from two to one hundred and two. Since the only constant is change, it behooves us to not only expect it, but to take pride in learning how to be good at dealing with it. Do with unexpected items what the old timers used to tell us to do – “make lemonade out of lemons.”  

So, as many old coaches tell their players,“after you prepare properly, just go out and play the game.” That is the best way to approach business; prepare, then have fun playing. I sincerely believe that. I hope you enjoy what you do because that is essential in being able to deal with life’s little unexpected conundrums. 

Every good hitter knows that we only hit one pitch at a time and that every ball comes in a little differently… kinda like every business opportunity. I’ll wish you a great batting average and leave you with this quote from Tommy Lasorda, the colorful old Dodger baseball coach who recently passed away: “My theory about hitting was just to watch the ball as it came in and hit it.” I believe that the key words in this phrase are “as it came in.” Keep your eye on the ball and play on!

Jack Klinefelter
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