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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Optimal Sales Mindset Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on June 22, 2021. It featured former pro baseball pitchers Mike O’Connor and Geoff Goetz.]
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MIKE’S TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “If you want to be the best of the best, one of the top performers in any industry, in baseball, you have a limited time physically that you can perform at that level. In sales, people can work their whole life. There’s no length of time that you’re limited by so it’s just as competitive. I work in a super competitive industry, people have a lot of options to purchase a product. Find ways to differentiate yourselves. There’s so many products out there, just continue and try to improve each day.”
GEOFF’S TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Learn to look at things from a new perspective to maximize, let’s just say sales in this particular situation. If you’re in a sales interaction, you’re going into one or you’re preparing for one, really connect to what right looks like. What does success look like for this if it really went well? If I showed up strong, what would that look like? Start building the future you want for how you’re going to show up, so when you get there, you’re mentally prepared for anything that could come your way. By the way, just by creating the future that you want versus the one you don’t want actually starts bringing a stronger version of yourself and you’re ready for other things. If you’re not ready to do them, then you’re not connected to that strong future and you can actually get derailed quite easily. But we need to be prepared for anything and be at our best, just connecting to that will really help as you’re going into sales engagements.”
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Fred Diamond: It’s the Optimal Sales Mindset webinar. For people who listen frequently, you know that we’ve had some professional athletes, professional entertainers. Today we’re going to geek out a little bit, we’re going to be talking about what it’s like to be a professional baseball pitcher, and how do you then translate that? How do you take that mindset into the sales profession to be optimal at sales?
Guys, I’m very excited. Mike O’Connor, I know you and we’ve had some conversations before about what it’s like to be a baseball pitcher and to take things into the sales profession. Geoff Goetz, we’ve done some work with Chris Baron. She actually was a guest of the Sales Game Changers podcast a number of years ago and we became great friends, and we’re very fond of your company.
Let’s do this first. Why don’t you just give a brief introduction? Give us a little bit of a taste of your baseball career and then tell us what you’re doing. Then I’ll geek out with all the questions I have. I could talk to you guys, by the way, for five hours. We’re going to try to capsulize five hours in 30 minutes. Geoff, why don’t you go first? Tell us a little bit about your baseball career in under 35-40 seconds? Then what do you do now? Then Mike, we’ll talk to you as well.
Geoff Goetz: Thanks, Fred, for having me on the show. I’m excited to be here and the topic is very much aligned with what I do now. My background, I’m from Tampa, Florida, I was a 6th pick overall in the first round by the New York Mets back in the late 90s, 1997.
For those of you who are baseball fans, I was traded in the Mike Piazza trade so I went from the Mets to the Marlins the following year and proceeded to get injured to years after that. I was put on the 40-man roster with the Marlins in ’02, and proceeded to play for a couple more seasons with the Marlins and the Yankees.
Now, as I’ve transitioned out of baseball, I’m in the world of performance consulting. Just to give a high-level view of what that is, large corporations, mid-sized and smaller in entrepreneurial companies to drive and maximize their performance as it relates to what we’ll call their score card. A lot of them directly bring us in to enhance their sales even though we’re not directly related to sales.
What we do is we give them tools to help them maximize what they’re trying to get out of their business and drive revenue, a lot based on action but also culture focus. That’s where I’m at now, I was able to transition a lot of what I did in my professional baseball career into my professional career now in consulting.
Fred Diamond: Mike O’Connor, why don’t you give us a little bit about your history as a Major League Baseball player and what you’re doing right now?
Mike O’Connor: Thanks for having me, Fred. I’m Mike O’Connor, former Major League pitcher with the Washington National and New York Mets. I played 12 years professionally, parts at four seasons in the Big Leagues within Nats and Mets and I played a lot of Triple-A baseball as well with the Yankees, Twins, Royals and Padres organizations.
Transitioned from baseball in 2014, got into the financial services world in 2016 and have settled into the world of insurance brokerage world. I worked with Assured Partners out of our DC office and we work with a lot of middle market business owners, affluent individuals and I work with some athletes as well on mostly their property and casualty insurance needs. We are a consultative broker, help businesses with their property and casualty, employee benefits, 401K, life insurance and things like that.
Fred Diamond: We started doing the mindset webinar back in March of 2020, right now we’re doing today’s show, it’s June of 2021. We went through this pandemic, we’re coming out of it. Every Thursday we just talk about the mindset side of being a sales professional and every Friday, we talk about sales tactics and strategies, prospecting, referral building, social selling.
Mindset is the focus today. I’m a big baseball fan, I have to tell you guys, I’m a Phillies fan. I grew up in Philadelphia so hearing all this Mets and Nats talk – although, I do live in DC. I’ve lived here for 20 years and we were very, very happy when the Nats won the Championships a couple years ago.
What’s it like being on the mound? When you picture baseball, you got nine guys out there in the field but it all comes down to the pitcher. Every pitch is depended upon how the game may go. Give us a little bit of an insight. Mike O’Connor, why don’t you go first? You’re up there on the mound, you’re on the hill, 60 feet 6 inches away or something like that. What’s going through your head in a typical game scenario?
Mike O’Connor: A lot of things, but you try to keep that as quiet as you can. The longer I did that, the more I was able to control my emotions. As a pitcher, it all rides on you, especially as a starting pitcher. As those guys go, the team usually follows. Setting the tone, keeping the game moving. But no, I don’t think there’s anything that really compares to walking out on a Big League field with 40,000 people there.
For me, it took my whole life to basically prepare for that moment and be confident enough that I could do that. A lot of this stuff that I think really helped me once I started my professional career wasn’t as much the physical and the mechanical stuff, it was more the mental side of the game that really helped me go to the next level a couple years into my professional career.
Fred Diamond: Geoff, how about you? What is it like for you out there? I’m curious, Mike said when he walked out. Is it a different feeling when you walk out to pitch the first pitch in the game versus sometimes in the third inning or hopefully, the sixth or seventh?
Geoff Goetz: It is all mindset. Coincidentally, that’s why we’re discussing on the mindset show here. One thing for me personally, I was someone who always thrived on adrenaline. You talk about how you go to first pitch in the first inning versus a little bit later on in the game. Ultimately, being able to stay grounded and pitch by pitch and saying, what can I do in this moment to not let the external factors of whether it be a crowd, whether it be an error, whether it be me walking a guy.
Just to always stay grounded in the best that you can do in that moment and maximize that opportunity. But it did take – to Mike point’s there, I’m saying it a little bit differently – a lot of mental training because when you just thrive on adrenaline, I’d be out of breath on my first inning because I’m throwing as hard as I can like a closer. Versus saying, hey, what does it look like to pace yourself and stay grounded pitch by pitch?
Fred Diamond: We were just talking about this on a previous episode. Sales in a lot of cases it’s like you get somebody on the line and that’s a victory. We had James Muir who wrote a book called The Perfect Close on a couple of months ago. A lot of times people think that the goal of sales is to get a sale.
The goal of sales is to get to the next step, whatever it might be. Maybe it’s a meeting, maybe it’s a proposal, maybe it’s a referral. Talk for a second about when things go wrong. You’re pitching, all of a sudden you lose your command, it’s the third inning, you can’t throw a strike. Everything is half an inch off the corner or you thought you had a strike and the umpire didn’t call it.
Talk a little bit about in those in-game moments when things just aren’t going right. Tell us about how you focus on that because again, as we talk in the Sales Game Changers podcast, it’s about moving to the next step. In sales, you’re going to get 50 rejections every single day. Talk about that a little bit. Geoff, why don’t you go first? When something bad happens, something astray, how do you bring yourself back?
Geoff Goetz: You hear a lot of the top performers in athletics but really, in general have very short memories. As we say, short rear view mirrors. That was something I had to work through because I tend to thrive when I had momentum, that momentum would follow me. But on the contrary at a young age being drafted as young as I was, it was the opposite so I could start feeling that momentum getting pulled out from below me.
What I learned along the way is having that short term memory and to your point, what is next? What can I do here? You’re one pitch away from getting back on track, but sometimes it feels like the plate is, at least for me, it goes from 60 feet to about 80 feet and it gets about this big, you can barely see it. It’s all perception, but how do you then take a step off the mound, deep breath, stuff that our coaches and dads maybe taught us in little league.
It does work all the way to the higher levels, it’s just a matter of, hey, this next pitch is a new pitch. Pick up the momentum when you’re doing well but when you’re not, we’ve got to start fresh even if it’s right in the moment. The great coaches I had also were great at reeling me back in when those types of situations would take place.
Fred Diamond: We’re going to be talking about coaching in a little bit, but Mike, how about you? You’re out there on the mound, you’re not going to be throwing 27 pitches for strikes every single game. Something goes astray, you get a bad call, maybe there’s an error that extends an inning and you’re getting a little bit tired. Talk about what you do to bring it back.
Mike O’Connor: I think it’s being able to slow things down. A lot of it is remaining confident, not losing confidence. Keeping things simple, trusting the process. There might be one or two mechanical cues you know that certain things are happening, being able to adjust quicker. Just looking back when I was in high school, in college, sometimes it would take me 5 to 10 pitches to get things back on track.
As I progressed in my pro career, if I threw two pitches and had the same issue I was able to correct that quicker understanding my mechanics and things like that. At the end of the day, a lot of it is a mindset of being able to trust the process, focus on that one pitch at a time and not let your head get in your own way. Just staying out of your way.
You’ve prepared for this for so long and you know you have the ability to do this, just trusting. All you can do as a pitcher is execute your pitch, and after that, you can’t make them hit it at somebody. Sometimes things happen and some things are out of your control.
Fred Diamond: We’ve had some answers on the Sales Game Changers podcast where a sales professional will talk about maybe someone who didn’t show up. Maybe the engineer didn’t show up on time or maybe the person who they brought in, the tech guy, to do some presentation really wasn’t on target.
What goes through your mind when a guy botches a ball? You’re pitching great, you’re throwing strikes, you got the pitch that you wanted to, you wanted a ground ball to the short stop and he just screwed it up. He got an error, extends the inning. Talk about the trust of the other players on the team. Sometimes does that go astray? Geoff, why don’t you go first?
Geoff Goetz: Mine goes a lot of different ways on that one, Fred. Again, it was learn for me how to handle things that don’t go your way. Sometimes it’s natural for people, other times you get really shaken up by something not happening the way you’d like it. That’s part of a maturing process at least for me personally and a lot of the players that I went through pro ball with.
You come to realize that you can control what you can control. In that sense, as a starting or even any pitcher, you actually have a certain sense of influence on your team. The more strikes you throw, the more consistent, quickly you work, all these factors that a lot of people don’t realize actually keep people more into the game. Which gives them a better metric, a chance of showing up strong.
But when they make the mistake, if they’re out there for a reason, they deserve to be there and they’re doing the best they can the same way as I’m doing the best that I can, it does actually less than zero good. It actually becomes a deterrent of your performance when you put your energy into what they may have done wrong.
You just learn that you got to let that go and go do it again, because you know they’re going to make the play and have the confidence they’re going to make that play the next time. That’s where my mind goes with that question, Fred.
Fred Diamond: Mike, I’m curious. A little follow-up to what Geoff just said. Let’s say you’re pitching great and then something gets botched, three unearned runs come in and you’re going back to the dugout. Do you say anything to the short stop who might have caused that error?
Mike O’Connor: If they’re unearned, it’s all right but if they give it, that’s not… No. I couldn’t agree more with Geoff as far as, as a pitcher, you’ve got to keep the game moving. Keep the tempo so these guys aren’t back on their heels, not letting that stuff affect you. The thing that was always taught to me in pro ball that always stuck with me, you have to be able to get four outs in an inning if you have to.
One thing can’t let the game fall apart, you’ve got to stay away from that big inning and just try to pick those guys up. Errors happen, but I think keeping things simple as a pitcher, your job is just to hit the glove. Hit the glove, execute your pitch, throw the right pitches, keep the hitters off balance and things will usually take care of themselves.
Allowing your mind to go somewhere that it shouldn’t go during the game is when you lose focus and your emotions get out of control. For me, it was always just staying present in that one pitch and getting back to that and trying to execute that one pitch. That’s all I could do.
Fred Diamond: I mentioned I’m a Phillies fan. When I grew up in Philly there was this big trade, a guy named Von Hayes was traded to the Phillies for five players, and he was known as the one-for-five guys. It’s a legendary thing in Philly and it was a hard one for him to maintain.
We have a question here from Dan and this is to Geoff specifically. Geoff, you were traded as part of a trade with an all-star Hall of Famer. You mentioned Mike Piazza a couple of times when I’ve spoken to you, you’ve brought it up. How much extra pressure did that put on you at the time, being part of a very, very well-known trade?
Geoff Goetz: At the age that I was going through that, when I first was drafted by the Mets, a question that my agent and my father who was helping to represent on my behalf asked the Mets, “What are the chances that Geoff ever gets traded?” I was 18 years old. They said, “The only way we would trade him away is if he’s in a blockbuster trade.” I remember it like it was yesterday.
Sure enough, I would say that that’s probably the case. Ultimately, I was the player to be named later in that trade which was a whole store in itself. If we have a part two of this, I’ll share more. It’s a fascinating story how I found out about this trade, because when the trade went through, I wasn’t even legally able to be traded at the time frame, the statute of what that limitation would be was still intact.
But once I actually went from the Mets to the Marlins, most people were trying to coddle and say, “Oh, Geoff, it’s okay, don’t beat down on yourself.” I’m like, I’m not down on myself at all. I love the Mets organization, they were great to me and I was on a good streak but this guy’s a future Hall of Famer. I was like, this is awesome, I feel pretty good. But I was fearful, and the pressure that now went over to the Marlins…
At the time, I think it was Dan maybe that asked that question, Fred, they were dumping all of their older talent on to bring in myself, A. J. Burnett, Josh Beckett was just drafted, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis. There was a certain level of pressure because they’re bringing in all this talent to make up this Marlins, that ultimately won the 2003 World Series.
But it was a different type of pressure. The loving that I got from the Marlins wasn’t quite as much as the Mets because the Mets invested in me and then I was traded to the Marlins. That was just one little extra piece there, but it was a very fascinating time for me.
Fred Diamond: I want to ask you a question, Mike. We have a question here that comes in from Joseph. Joseph says, “What does the catcher say to you when he comes to the mound?” We’ll talk about that for a second, and we’re going to talk about coaching in a second.
Just talk about that for a second. When the catcher comes out to talk to you, I’m curious. Is it, hey, you missed the signal here or bear down, buddy? I’m sure it’s probably a whole bunch of different things. Of course, in the move Bull Durham they’re talking about what to get somebody for their wedding, but what goes on during those little conversations when the catcher comes out to talk to you?
Mike O’Connor: It could be a lot of things. Usually, it’s not anything good but I the catchers that I worked with for a while, I think the only time they would really come out if we weren’t on the same page with signs. Maybe talk about a pitch in a really big situation, second and third, one out or something like that when you might want to try to pitch around a guy, or something where you really want to make sure you’re on the same page in a big situation where it could be the game. As a pitcher, you always have to be on the same page with the catcher.
Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about coaching a little more in detail. We interview a lot of sales leaders, every Wednesday specifically on the Sales Game Changers Live. People who are leading big organizations, sometimes managing thousands of sales professionals.
Talk about being coached, that’s something that we spend a lot of time talking about is not just how to coach the sales professionals on your team, but how to be coachable. That’s probably a huge thing. Talk about that a little bit, Geoff, let’s start with you. Then Mike, I’m interested in your thoughts. Talk about how you can be better coached so that you can take your career to the next level, and a little bit of your examples from the baseball field.
Geoff Goetz: We’re in the world of coaching, Fred. To a large degree, our focus is on performance and we now take that into businesses. There’s a few different scopes there so I want to make sure I answer the question the right way. You’re talking about the person being coached or the leader that’s coaching a person they’re trying to make better, which would you prefer that I lean towards on that?
Fred Diamond: I prefer that you lean towards the person being coached. One of the big things that we talk about a lot on the Sales Game Changers podcast is how to be coached. There’s so many people out there who want to help you with your career. There’s companies like yours, of course, but there’s your manager, there’s the VP of sales, there’s the CRO sometimes. One thing we hear a lot is that people aren’t willing to be coached, and there’s so many people who’d want to coach them.
Geoff Goetz: My mind immediately goes literally to little league when we learn that there’s only a small percentage of players that are ever going to make it to the Big Leagues. But all of us, this is a microcosm for things that can help us the rest of our lives, no matter what we do. That’s one of the big ones.
It’s not always easy to be coachable. Plus, there’s a lot of coaches out there that aren’t very good, we’ve got to own that as well. But the ability to be open to learn, to listen, starts with wanting to get better and being vulnerable enough to say that I don’t know everything as the person being coached.
As you get older, and this is one thing I learned extremely well, at one point I listened to everybody. That isn’t necessarily great either, but it’s taking being true to myself if I’m talking personally and saying, what’s really going to help me get better? But being open to everything. Then you get to go sift through what’s valuable or not.
That does take practice, and this is just my opinion. Mike may have different thoughts on this. But at certain point, you’ve got to take what works best for you, but giving the respect and being open gives you the opportunity to say what does and doesn’t work, versus being standoff there saying, “I’ve got this all figured out.” It just puts a limitation on your capabilities and really anything that you do if you’re not learning from others.
Fred Diamond: Mike, how about your thoughts? We’ve talked about this a little bit, you’ve been coached by some professional baseball players, you’ve worked for a couple different organizations. Talk about the ability to accept coaching because they’re committed to making you successful, right?
Mike O’Connor: For the most part, I think that’s definitely true. I’ve worked with a lot of coaches during my career. I think what Geoff said that stuck with me is not listening to everybody. You want to be open-minded, but you need to figure out what works for you. At the end of the day, you need to be your own coach. I think that’s part of it, but you do need somebody that’s going to push you.
I think the coaches that were the most successful for me were the ones that knew when you were ready for certain advice and weren’t always trying to tell you that you needed to correct certain things, even if they thought you did, but understanding what your strengths were. In my career I worked with a lot of coaches.
One that made a big difference, he was really honest with me in a point early in my career and told me what I was doing was not going to get me to the Big Leagues, and this is what I needed to do. I trusted him, I worked with him for three or four years and he told me, “You need to add this pitch, you need to do this.”
At that point I was repeating in high A. I really didn’t have any choice but to listen to him at that point. If I wouldn’t have listened, they probably would have just moved on. I think just a time when somebody comes to you with certain advice is critical, just understanding your personality is huge. Talking to you the way that you’ll best take their advice.
Fred Diamond: We got some more questions coming in here. I want to talk about preparation, that comes up a lot. There’s a lot of words that our listeners know come up frequently. Again, we’re doing a webinar every single day.
One of the big ones is preparation and right now, of course, in 2021 there’s all the sabermetrics and there’s all these analytics out there. Every team has a data analysis team so they know. You watch the pitchers take off their cap sometimes about what pitch to throw a certain batter in what situation.
Let’s talk about preparation. We talked about the sales process, it’s understanding what the customer’s trying to achieve, working to figure out what their goals are. How are they looking to come out of the pandemic? How are they looking to provide value to their customers and then their customer’s customers?
Talk a little bit about some of the things that you did to prepare to be most effective when it’s your turn out on the mound. Mike, why don’t you go first? And we have a couple more questions coming in so let’s keep the answers concise.
Mike O’Connor: As a starting pitcher, you have a routine, a set, set days that you’re doing certain things with your workouts, your throwing, your bull pens and everything’s built to get you ready to start that, that fifth day. I think that prep is huge and makes you feel confident when you go into that next game watching video, reading the scouting reports, watching the game.
If you’re pitching against the team, you’re flying right then, just focusing on watching the batters and all that. I think there’s a lot that you can take from that that builds your confidence and I don’t think that’s any different in sales.
When I get in front of somebody, I want to understand what they do, how I can help them, what areas that I might be able to provide value outside of just our products and how I can help them grow their business, grow their network and provide additional value. The more I can prepare for something, the better off I’m always going to be.
Fred Diamond: Geoff, I want to ask you a slightly different question. We have a question from Rich and Rich says, “How do you handle a really tough batter?” Just curiously, do you recall the toughest guy you ever faced? Is there a guy who had your number?
Geoff Goetz: There was a few of them. A couple guys that had my number no one had ever heard of, but I got to face Gary Sheffield who I actually grew up working out with. He’s older than I but he’s from Tampa so we got to work out together. Some other Hall of Famers, Piazza I got to pitch against and things along those lines.
Sheffield went deep off of me so that’s one thing. But some other players definitely had my number, so I usually just walked them. No, I’m just joking. It’s actually just the ability to execute pitches.
One of the things that when I was early in my career, and I was pretty young for my whole professional career, was I went away from my strengths because I started doubting my own stuff against people that seemed to have my number. Versus acknowledging that I really just didn’t execute my pitches. I had to learn that as well, that personally was huge for me because it was like, oh, gosh, this guy hit a fast ball that happened to be right down in the middle, 93 miles per hour, but it was not in location.
I learned later that no, this guy has my number because you keep missing your location or you’re not getting ahead in the count. That’s one of the things hugely valuable for me when I look back on the ability to execute and the ability to then say, do I have to course correct? Maybe this person just does see the ball out of your hand the same way that other really great players, for some reason.
Jimmy Rollins never saw the ball out of my hand ever since we were 16 years old all the way through the time I faced him in pro ball, where other guys squared every ball up I felt like I threw. The ability to just course-correct but also be confident in your own execution, your own strengths was helpful for me.
Fred Diamond: Mike, have you ever been intimidated? Let’s say you’re in sales and you’re presenting to the CIO of a large corporation. When you were in the mound, were you ever intimidated by someone that you were facing or you just kept looking at the glove?
Mike O’Connor: I think there’s always a little intimidation of something, what could go wrong? But then at the end of the day you just have to put your best effort forward and let what happens, happens. If you’re intimidated by somebody, as a pitcher, a lot of times you’re going to put yourself on a bad spot.
In a meeting, we meet with people all the time that maybe we don’t know them well and they’re with a big company. Sometimes that can be a little outside of your comfort zone sometimes, but just making sure you’re prepared for those meetings and doing the best you can, and hope things work out for the best.
Fred Diamond: We’ve got time for one more question before I ask you for your action step. I just have a quick question here. You guys played in the pros, you mentioned a lot of names throughout this conversation. I’m just curious, was there anybody that you’ve met that you were in awe of? Did you ever go to a Florida thing and Willie Mays showed up or something like that? I’m just curious. Geoff, why don’t you go first? Is there anybody you were really in awe of that you met through the baseball world? Then Mike, I’m interested in your answer as well.
Geoff Goetz: I wish I would have thought through this. There are several of them, I got to meet Sandy Koufax. What’s interesting is when I started playing, I was drafted, I still have this amazing level of respect of the top players of the game, but really of everybody. But when I was a kid, being able to go to spring training, I remember even meeting Kenny Lofton from the Cleveland Indians.
The list goes on and on of people when I met, but even when I first got to work out with Dwight Gooden and I first got to work out with Sheffield and they got to bring me in and they treated me like a peer even though I was only 18 years old. Fred McGriff, all Tampa guys, that was the neatest thing because I was starstruck, but then they made me feel part of the group even though they were all heading probably towards the Hall of Fame. That’s not exactly the starstruck question, but it started off that way and it’s more how welcome they made me feel.
Fred Diamond: Mike, how about you? Anybody that you were in awe that you’ve come across?
Mike O’Connor: Definitely. I grew up a huge baseball fan, I think that’s why I love the game so much and it’s always been a big part of my life. Starting my career, when I got called up to the Big Leagues, Frank Robinson was the manager of the Washington Nationals. Growing up in Baltimore, he’s a Hall of Fame player, legend, he was the manager of the team when I was younger. Walking into the clubhouse first time, I didn’t go to Big League camp before I got called up so I’d never met him. Walked into the office, get to meet him. That was definitely one of those moments.
The other moment that probably stands out just going to Big League camp with the Mets and Yankees. The Yankees in 2012, the roster still had Derek Jeter, A. Rod, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera. You walk into the clubhouse, Yogi Berra is standing in the middle of the room, Reggie Jackson’s walking around, it’s just unreal to go into that environment every day during spring training.
Fred Diamond: Before I ask you for your final action step, we have one last question here. Translate some of this into sales. Translate some of the things that we’ve been talking about that you’ve experienced as a professional baseball pitcher. All your experiences, the mindset that we’ve been talking about for the last hour. Before I ask you for your final action bit of advice, talk a little bit about how people listening to today’s Sales Game Changers podcast can translate this to sales success.
Geoff, why don’t you go first? And again, you’re doing this today. You’re working with a lot of companies to help them take their sales and business career and corporate strategy to the next level. Give us a couple insights on that, then Mike, you go. Then we’ll ask you for your final action item.
Geoff Goetz: I want to reference something that Mike said in the very first question relating to confidence. One of the things that everything hinges on to a certain degree, even the preparation question, all the things that we go through as a professional athlete but even relative pressure in high school and any sport. Big Leagues is the ultimate pressure in baseball, but you still come up with a lot of very common emotions that people have.
There’s resilience, I’ve got to be resilient, am I able to course-correct? Am I able to identify what success looks like in this moment here? Am I able to prepare and then show up as strong as possible, especially when the pressure is on? Those are some of the key things that you take from baseball but that’s also, you want to translate.
If you could go and show up into every single sales interaction and you’re ready for resilience, you’re ready to pivot if needed, you’re confident, you’re well spoken, you’re a listener and you know your tool, you know whatever product that may be, now you’re showing up and there’s a parallel right there. It’s just a matter of, can I bring that same level of expertise and emotion to what I’m currently doing in sales? The same way as we were doing when we were playing.
Fred Diamond: Mike, how about you? How can you apply what we just talked about for the last half hour to your sales career?
Mike O’Connor: When I played and when I first finished and got into sales, I didn’t realize how many things that I had learned from baseball correlated to this. A lot of it is the time and dedication it really takes to master something. If you want to be the best of the best, one of the top performers in any industry, baseball, you have a limited time physically that you can perform at that level.
In sales, people can work their whole life. There’s no length of time that you’re limited by so it’s just as competitive. I work in a super competitive industry, people have a lot of options to purchase a product, we’re a broker. Finding ways to differentiate ourselves. There’s so many products out there, just continue and try to improve each day.
Fred Diamond: I want to thank Geoff Goetz, I want to thank Mike O’Connor. You guys have reached levels that a lot of us can dream about. I still drive around with my baseball glove in the car, I still get to games at 6 o’clock to watch batting practice. I used to keep score when I used to go to the games and I was looking at it from some of my old Philly’s programs from back then. A lot of my fondest moments are related to baseball.
We’re getting some comments here, Terry says thank you so much, Geoff and Mike. A comment here from Susan, she’s a frequent listener who says this was fantastic. First of all, I want to acknowledge you both for the great insights you shared today. Mike, again, I’ve known you for a number of years at National Association for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs meetings. Jerry Beatley told me that you were his son’s favorite player, which is how he first met you. I want to thank you for all the support over the years.
Looking forward, Geoff, to working with you and Chris to help connect you with some of the great leaders we have at the Institute for Excellence in Sales. I’m going to ask you both for your final action step, something specific. You’ve given us so many great insights, but something specific the listeners can do today to take their sales career to the next level. Geoff, why don’t you go first? Then Mike O’Connor, bring us home.
Geoff Goetz: The last piece I’ll leave with, and this will maybe really resonate, maybe it won’t as much. I’m at the Achieve Institute and our job is to help people have tools to look at things from a new perspective to maximize, let’s just say sales in this particular situation.
One piece that I would leave the listeners with is if you’re in a sales interaction, you’re going into one or you’re preparing for one, really connect to what right looks like. What does success look like for this if it really went well? If I showed up strong, what would that look like? Start building the future you want for how you’re going to show up, so when you get there, you’re mentally prepared for anything that could come your way.
By the way, just by creating the future that you want versus the one you don’t want actually starts bringing a stronger version of yourself and you’re ready for other things. If you’re not ready to do them, then you’re not connected to that strong future and you can actually get derailed quite easily. But we need to be prepared for anything and be at our best, just connecting to that will really help as you’re going into sales engagements.
Fred Diamond: Mike O’Connor, bring us home.
Mike O’Connor: I would just say for me, the biggest thing is being persistent, staying with something. If you’re not where you’re want to be, stay with it. I know sales can be a mental grind sometimes, much like baseball. For me, I think being realistic with the time and the work that’s necessary to be the best in a sales career.
Fred Diamond: Once again, gentlemen, Geoff Goetz, Mike O’Connor, thank you all so much. To all our listeners, thank you so much. Tomorrow is our Creativity in Sales, we’re going to keep the baseball theme. We have the great Dave Kurlan who’s the author of Baseline Selling and we’re going to be talking about some of the habits that you need to have as a sales professional to be successful. Gentlemen, thank you so much.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo