Or, how are you getting to First Base?
Scout: “Why do you like him?”
[Billy Beane points to Peter Brand.]
Peter Brand: “Because he gets on base.” (Moneyball)
Is client relationship building like baseball? I didn’t think so until during the pandemic I watched the 2011 film Moneyball. The film is based on Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball: The Art Of Winning an Unfair Game.
In the movie, Brad Pitt portrays Billy Beane, the general manager for the Oakland Athletics. The year was 2002. Beane was regarded as an excellent general manager but the Oakland Athletics’ budget was $39,722,689 compared to the New York Yankees budget of $174,457,768*. He simply couldn’t financially compete with the other major league teams bidding for talent and Beane hated to lose.
“I hate losing more than I want to win.” Billy Beane
Moneyball highlights how one person’s drive changed the baseball industry forever. He didn’t do it by himself, but he realized that
“No matter how successful you are, change is always good.” Billy Beane
The Bases are Loaded
So, how is client relationship building like baseball?
When building a relationship, a consultant (or freelancer) needs to get on base if they want clients. They don’t need to have all the money in the world, the best website or the slickest looking brochure to get on first base but they do need to connect, get to know, and build trust with people.
They can’t assume that the first time they connect with a person, they will hit a home run and the person becomes a client. I wish that was the case but it rarely happens.
To build relationships, a consultant needs to concentrate on getting on first base because if they don’t get to first base, they never get to second base and they don’t win.
“You get on base, we win. You don’t, we lose. Billy Beane (Moneyball)
In the Dug Out
It is your turn at bat. You take a deep breathe, evaluate the field, and picture yourself at the plate. You know that if you can get to first base, you’ll be able to get to second base, third base, and finally home. In your mind, you walk through your STRATEGY and GAME PLAN. You’re ready to hit the ball.
Home Plate: The Connect Stage
Connecting can be one of the hardest consultant activities when building relationships because the consultant needs to decide with whom and how to connect. How will the ball and bat connect? The best way for consultants to connect and help people get to know them is with one-on-one strategies such as strategic networking, referrals, and reaching out in a personalized manner.
Can you connect by writing, speaking, podcasts and videos? Yes, but it is like standing still with a bat, not swinging it, and hoping the pitcher throws the ball directly at the bat and they connect. The ball needs to find you and that may never happen.
Here is a link to the entire article.