The Coaching Effect Blog

Keep Your Eye On The "Prospecting" Ball

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

March 5, 2012

Today's guest blog post is written by our good friend and Pillar Partner, Tony Cole, president of Anthony Cole Training Group. Tony is a retired collegiate coach turned sales management coaching consultant.  Tony shares a story about the importance of "keeping your eye on the ball" in sales.  Tony will be conducting a keynote session and breakout titled "The Evolution of Coaching in the New Era of Sales Management" at our upcoming Sales Coaching Summit in Austin, TX in April.  


When I played sports, having sales success was the farthest thing from my mind.  I wasTony Cole sale coach sales prospecting convinced that I was going to do one of three things when I grew up:  Be a doctor, be a writer or be a professional athlete.

I hated needles as a kid so there went the medical practice.  I am a lifetime straight 'c' student in english so being an author is a challenge.  I loved sports, I was good at sports, I went to college to play football but found one thing that kept me from being pro -  You can't coach BIG.

I've participated in sports since I was 9 years old.  Football, basketball and track were my sports as a young boy and in college.  Hand eye coordination was required in basketball, not so much in track.  I took up golf much later in life and recently tennis.  There seems to be a common theme in these sports and probably all sports where the object is to hit something else with something in your hand and that is - keep your eye on the ball.

Golf - small ball, not moving, small striking implement

Tennis - bigger ball, moving, bigger striking implement

Both require different skills and accuracy in terms of how you go about striking the ball but in the end the key is to keep your eye on the ball.

As I've been practicing my serve I notice that when I do three things:

  • Have  a good, out front, high toss
  • Brush the back of my head with my left (serving) hand
  • Keep my eye on the ball

I usually hit a good serve.  Any one of those out of whack and the ball goes into the net or over the service line in the opposite court.  But what I noticed one day is that I could be awesome in two of the three but still miss the serve.  By the same token I noticed that I could be awful at the same two but as long as I was awesome at the one, more times than not, the serve landed where it was supposed to be.  The determining variable seems to be:

Keeping my eye on the ball

There I am hitting serves, I pause, and think about blogging this message about selling.

You can do lots of things really well but still not hit your personal sales goals if you miss just this one thing.  The one thing, the ball so to speak, in selling is this:


You mess that up and no matter how good you are at everything else, it won’t work. if you don't have someone to talk to, then you won’t hit your goals.

Keep your eye on the "prospecting" ball!


Enjoy these related articles:

"How To Build A High Throughput Sales Process"

"Hope Is Not a Sales Strategy"

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