Put Me In, Coach, I’m Ready to Sell

June 19, 2007

The Colorado Rockies are on a roll lately – and the All-Star game is less than a month away. I’ve been watching more baseball than selling – and that’s a problem. But, what if I could combine my love for baseball with my fear and loathing of selling in order to become a better salesman in the process?


That’s why I’ve been reading Dave Kurlan’s Baseline Selling: How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball. He uses the metaphor of baseball to help minor leaguers like me move up to the major leagues of selling. Too often, when I step up to the sales plate I feel like a grade-schooler facing Roger Clemens.

I blame Arthur Miller. Yes, I have to blame someone for my hesitations and indecisions when it comes to selling. Miller’s classic, Death of a Salesman, captured a record six Tony Awards in 1949 is still going strong in productions around the world.

It’s hard to overestimate how much of our culture – literary and otherwise – works to convince us that being a “salesman” is a questionable pursuit, at best, and a sleazy one at worst. Many of us buy into this stereotypical portrait of the selling profession and it becomes the last thing on earth we’d want to become.

Problem is, unless we’re able to write the great American novel, hit a golf ball like Tiger Woods or act like Helen Mirren, we’re often likely to end up in sales. Whether we run our own business or work for a large corporation, our success often comes down to our ability to sell.

Sales expert Don Cooper teaches the art of selling and tells his entrepreneurial audiences, “You love what you do, right? Well, you better learn to love selling, because if you don’t love selling you’ll never get the chance to do what you love most.”

Yeah, well, easy for him to say. Learning to love selling is like learning to love organic chemistry or calculus. You try hard, but the words just don’t stick, your mind wanders and you just can’t retain the concepts.

And that’s why Dave Kurlan’s Baseline Selling is such a breath of fresh air. I can still recite Willie Mays’ batting averages and Sandy Koufax’s ERA’s, but for the life of me I can’t seem to remember what the heck to do when I put on my sales uniform.

Dave Kurlan is the founder of Objective Management Group Inc. and the CEO of David Kurlan & Associates Inc. He’s an expert on helping companies hire the right sales professionals, as well as assess and develop their current sales force.

But, more importantly, in this book, he’s the Miller Huggins, Tony LaRussa and Leo Durocher of selling. He will coach you through every step of the sales process with baseball analogies that work – and stick.

For instance, the psychology of selling and making sales cold calls is “Getting to First Base.” Dave describes 7 challenges that could be blocking your way to getting a hit in the world of selling. Pretty sure I face all seven!

In our selling career, Sheryl and I have been toiling away in the minors longer than most of Coach Kurlan’s other players. If you’ve got even a little bit of experience in selling, you’ll be off to second base, third base and even touching home plate very soon after picking up his book.

We can’t wait to get to up to the major leagues. That’s when we can get to the really good stuff in the book, like the “The Hidden Ball Trick,” the “Pick-off Attempt” and, who knows, I might even hit a “Grand Slam.”

Until then, we’re down here in Double AA ball. But, believe me, with the help of Dave Kurlan’s Baseline Selling, the PA announcer will soon be booming out:

“Batting third and playing shortstop, Sheryl Kay.
Batting fourth and playing left field, Michael Benidt.”

See you in the major leagues of selling soon.



  1. Thanks for the nice words guys! By the way, your readers might like the archive of selling tips that have piled up at BaselineSelling.com where they can subscribe to have them delivered each week. You make the book sound almost as fun to read as it was to write. One of the concepts of Baseline Selling that many people don’t immediately grasp is that the four bases, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Home are not as much steps in the process, as they are points in time. They represent the evolution of an opportunity, as it progresses from suspect to prospect to qualified to closed. Enjoy the book!

  2. Thanks so much, Michael and Sheryl, for continuing to broaden my horizons about sales! Anything that mentions “sell” and “coach” in the same sentence gets my attention! I find this concept of Baseline Selling and the link to sports to be a great complement to the mindsets of sales that I talked about in my book, Seal the Deal! Nice work, Dave.


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