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How to Grow From Each At-Bat

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(Related: 4 Ways to Create Your Own ‘Random Luck’)

Babe Ruth is widely regarded as one of the best baseball players who ever lived, boasting a .342 batting average for his career. Although impressive, he still had to walk back to the dugout after nearly 66% of his plate appearances. Consistently returning to the plate after striking out in the last inning requires a special mentality, and you should adopt the same mental fortitude to help you succeed as an advisor. Instead of focusing on a single pitch to save the business, remember that you have future opportunities to achieve your goals.

Failure makes us forget about the opportunities that lie ahead. Failure is demoralizing, and that demoralization makes it difficult to step up to the plate for your next at-bat in the sales process, whether that be with a revised approach to your sales calls or a new strategy for touching base with referrals. We know this pain all too well at The PT Services Group as we occasionally swing and miss. Recently, we received dismal results from our new newsletter campaign. We tried to launch a campaign with a specific technology test group, but this small pilot program failed to gain the kind of traction we expected based on our research. Although the setback is frustrating, business goes on. There’s no time to stop.

Jumping from sales call to sales call can be equally draining, especially when you strikeout. Fortunately, you can use every bit of data from your overall sales strategy to improve your performance. Here’s a three-part approach you can use:

1. Review your sales technique and data before your next at-bat.

The best baseball coaches and players regularly review data as part of their overall approach. They review their game footage and practice film, study opponent statistics and behavior, and alter their strategy from game to game. In your sales efforts as an advisor, you should do the same: reevaluate how you prepare for each sales call, review the techniques you use during your conversations, and analyze the strategies you use in following up with prospects. Gauging your metrics at every level gives you the data necessary to make better decisions during your next at-bat. Reviewing your performance also helps you hone-in on your technique. Remember: The best hitters spend a lot of time in the batting cages without fans to cheer them on. They constantly work, refine, and grow.

2. Keep pushing. The temptation to stop is always present.

When your sales process moves smoothly and business picks up, you feel like you deserve a break. Similarly, when sales plummet and business declines, you want to give up. The greatest baseball players never quit after striking out or hitting a grand slam. Instead, they treat every new pitch as another independent opportunity for success. You should channel this same determination regardless of whether your latest sales call succeeds or fails. Fight off the voice that urges you to stop approaching the sales plate with your head held high. Negative self-talk leads to doubt, which prospects can see—and feel. Press forward for better results.

3. Find an accountability partner.

When a baseball player returns to the dugout after three strikes at the plate, he has an entire team and coaching staff to encourage him for his next at-bat. Even better, these same individuals are on hand to give him additional perspective on his performance so that he can perform better the next time he steps up to the plate. To maintain a similar momentum in your office, find a partner to consistently push you forward. This individual regularly checks in to ensure your sales strategy is progressing on all fronts. As an advisor, a colleague or sales coach could make an ideal accountability partner. What matters most is that you explain to them the details of your project so that they completely understand what they should expect from you.

Every advisor fails at some point. Instead of sulking, channel the lessons from the baseball greats. Even after striking out against the same pitcher multiple times in the same game, the great baseball players return to the plate for another chance. Similarly, great advisors move from one sales call to the next. If the first sales call goes poorly, they refuse to let it influence their performance on the next call—even if the failure hurts. By repeatedly returning to the plate and reevaluating your sales performance, you can make incremental improvements that bring you closer to success with each plate appearance. As you get better at honing your craft, you more consistently hit the home runs that take your business to the next level.

— Read 6 Ways to Capture the Rewards Hiding in the Unknownon ThinkAdvisor.


John PojetaJohn Pojeta is vice president of business development at The PT Services Group. Before he joined PT, he owned and operated an Ameriprise Financial Services franchise for 16 years.