Last week was Major League Baseball’s All Star Break. The Tuesday night game went to the American League, 3 – 0, and the biggest highlight was the final appearance of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees closer relief pitcher, arguably the best closer in the history of baseball, pitching in his last All Star game (he’s retiring). His signature pitch, the cut fastball, has been called “the most dominant pitch in a generation” of baseball players. He and his team mates retired three consecutive National League All Stars in the 8th inning. The guy is a giant.
Which triggered memories of my own early and short baseball career.
When I was 9, 10, and 11 years old, I played Little League baseball. And of all the pitchers I faced, I can remember only one. Jimmy.
He was H U G E for his age. Outweighed me by 50 pounds. He made the 46 foot distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate look like 20 feet. He threw the ball HARD and, unlike Mariano Rivera, with much more speed than control. I could barely see the stuff he was throwing, never mind get around on the ball or duck.
Long story short, I felt terrified to step into the batter’s box when he was on the mound. Not pant-wetting, stomach-evacuating terrified. Just your garden variety bowling ball in the gut terror that started to build about five guys before it was my turn to hit.
Which is how many of us experience sales objections from time to time.
But it was a different game for me in the field. Hours and hours of practice chasing down fly balls, snagging grounders, and throwing had prepared me for virtually anything. Which was one of the reasons I played first base as a right hander. I could handle just about any infielder throw toward first.
In my Little League career I took, maybe, 50 or more times fielding practice than I did batting practice.
Similarly, sales people take many more times “pitching” and “presenting solutions” practice than they do practicing responses to questions or working with objections.
Note to self: Practice every day… and MORE practice responding to questions and objections.
We Are Seriously Social.