Load the bases

HomeColumnsLoad the bases
by Kelly Kramer

While watching a major league baseball deciding game with my hometown Tigers versus the mighty Yankees, an analogy came to mind. The series was tied and the winner would move on to get one step closer to the World Series.

Toward the end of the game the Tigers were up 3-1. The Yankees were getting desperate, and like us in these slow economic times, were about to try to hard. In fact, in the last four innings the Yankees had the bases loaded twice but were only able to get one run.
That one run came when a wise hitter elected not to go for broke and took a walk. Unfortunately, the rest of the Yankees’ opportunities went nowhere because the batters were going for broke. They had done the right thing and played small ball to load those bases, but went for broke and ended up broken.

For those of you who don’t know baseball, small ball is when a team wisely takes small steps to get to their final goal of scoring more runs. They take a walk, then a bunt (or steal a base) to advance the runner to second in scoring position, then a sacrifice hit to move that runner to third. If there are less than two outs, the batter sacrifices an out with a fly ball to bring the runner home to score; that is three or four small moves to create one run.

That one run would have made all the difference in this game. Sure, all the steps have to work in unison, but it’s better to do this several times a game than to rely on the much more rare home run.

Small ball selling

Selling flooring is no different than this baseball analogy. Selling should be a step-by-step process that includes patience, education, practiced demonstration skills and, most of all, the ability find the real wants and needs of our buyers.

This is what I call loading the bases. The trick is what you do after you load the bases because as the Yankees proved, even when you take all the right steps to load the bases, you still have to bring those runners home.

The lead-off walk

Most sales clerks start hard selling right off. They swing early for the fences, push their current sales and put their buyers on the defensive before they even understand her circumstances. To walk is to spend those first few minutes getting to know the customer and relaxing them. Let her know you see her as a person and that you are too.

The sacrifice bunt

Simply interview your buyer for her real needs and sacrifice your time to educate her, so she can make a wise buying decision. Educated buyers don’t need fake sales and will spend more when they understand what they are getting.

The steal

A good demonstration that shows how your product will fill her needs is doubling your chances, because sight drives a point home more than just hearing. Steal her loyalty and confidence with your expertise.

The score

I’m not talking home runs here; I’m talking about the final single that caps off a bases-loaded op-portunity. Take all the right steps then offer to follow that buyer home then and there. The ex-citement is built, so don’t leave those bases loaded. Take advantage of your small ball work and finish fast. As we see even the mighty Yankees can be beat.

As you may know this paper is published in New York and I’m from Saginaw, Mich., but as a Tiger fan I’m not trying to rub it in. Well, maybe just a little.
Thanks for reading.

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