Baseball season is in full swing - always a welcome sign of spring! In his recent blog, Pitchers and Hitters, Seth Godin compared key baseball roles with contrasting modes in our professional life. He observed that when we function in reactionary mode, we are like a hitter - swinging at whatever comes at us. In contrast, Godin asserts that pitchers "get to set the pace, outline the strategy, initiate instead of react."

The successful sales professional is one who is able to take a leadership, or "pitcher" role in identifying GAPs, guiding the discussion and developing valued solutions. Processes and practices throughout the DPS sales training program are intended to do just that. Consider the LAER Bonding Process; rather than immediately reacting to a customer question or objection (hitting), LAER teaches us to Listen, Acknowledge, Explore and then Respond (pitching). It's the Explore step that takes the sales professional out of the batter's box and onto the pitcher's mound. This is not about a technique to retain "control" of the situation. Asking questions to better understand your customer's needs and concerns provides much-needed insight to address their issues and develop valuable solutions. It is an essential process in order to gather important insights, demonstrate your respect for the customer, and ultimately move forward with a productive discussion.

Seth Godin captured the dynamic so well, writing, "When your job is in reaction mode, you're allowing the outside world to decide what happens next," and leaves you explaining your failures in terms like, "I did the best I could with what was thrown at me‚" In the moment, customer objections can feel like a fastball hurdling at your head. Opting for LAER over a knee-jerk reaction will keep you in a strategic position more aligned with that of a pitcher - or successful sales professional.