y husband and I recently took our son, Brett, to a Storm’s minor league baseball game. To our surprise, Brett was chosen to participate in an event called “Beat Thunder to Home Plate.” (Thunder is the Storm’s mascot.) My husband and I were so proud our son was chosen and all three of us were excited as we sat in the stands waiting for Brett’s upcoming contest against Thunder. We waited anxiously… then it was finally the fifth inning – time for the race! So the plan was for Brett stand on first base while Thunder was on second. All Brett had to do was beat Thunder to home. The announcer introduced Brett as “Skeeter” and said, “Ready, set, GO!” And they’re off! Brett was running his little legs off…going the wrong way…straight to home plate… It was over in a matter of seconds. Mortified, my husband and I sat together in stunned silence while the crowd cheered for Brett. We looked at each other with terror in our eyes, each of us thinking, “What was he doing? He knows how to play baseball. He knows the rules of the game.” And maaaaybe we were also secretly thinking, “Thank God they didn’t use his real name! Maybe we should we leave before he gets back to the seats…”
Brett – uhh, I mean Skeeter – came back to his seat with a huge grin saying, “I WON! I beat Thunder!” I looked at him and said, “But Brett, why did you run straight to home plate when you know you’re supposed to go to second, third and then home?” His answer was, “Well Mom, they didn’t say I had to do that. They just told me I had to beat him to home plate, so I did!”
Now I have to admit, we did leave the game early (letting Brett walk way in front of us) and it took the entire drive home to really let that sink in. But it made me think… You know, bookstores are loaded with “how to” marketing guides on how to sell. Some people talk about ‘typing’ the person you are selling to. Some talk about building relationships. Others go into great detail on body language, negotiating, using reverse psychology, and so on. The bottom line is sometimes we get stuck in how to charm, read, and woo the buyer instead of focusing in the end result – to make the sale – or in this case, to reach home plate first. Don’t get me wrong, you have to do a little charming, reading and wooing along the way, but don’t lose sight of your goal. Brett didn’t exhaust himself coming up with a plan of action – he knew exactly what he was going to do and he did it. When we get lost in the details and rules and wait for just the right moment, the next thing we know, someone like Brett has already swooped in and won the sale.
So although others may be in awe over your unusual tactics, there’s a really good chance you’ll leave the game with a t-shirt that says you beat Thunder to home plate.