Growing up in Louisville as a 10 year old boy in 1959, I discovered a device called a crystal rocket radio, named ‘rocket’ because of its shape. As a Kentucky boy I was naturally drawn to basketball, and began an interest in the UK Wildcats. I began to check the sports section of the Courier-Journal regularly to see if the ‘Cats won.
When I learned how the crystal radio worked, and that I would be able to listen to WHAS AM 840 and hear Cawood Ledford call the games, I HAD to have one. It took me a while to cobble together the $1.69 from doing chores at home and “picking up sticks” in my grandpa’s back yard to be able to buy one. When I got up the money, I walked to Lintner’s drug store, about a mile from my house, and made my purchase.
The radio had three components; a metal clip, one earpiece, and the rocket body with the plunger on top. I don’t know how it worked, but when I attached the clip to anything metal (lamp over my bed), and stuck the earpiece in my ear, while slowly moving the plunger, I could pick up radio stations. I fiddled with the plunger until AM 840 came through loud and clear. Once I heard his voice it felt like I was court side in Lexington nearly 100 miles away.
As I listened to game after game over the next several seasons I found myself paying the most attention to the names I heard Cawood call out most often. Naturally these were the top scorers each season; Vernon Hatton, Bill Lickert, Cotton Nash, Larry Purciful, Charles Ishmael, Larry Conley. That’s when I decided I wanted to play basketball for my school. I began to practice regularly at a grade school basketball court very near my house. Whether alone or with a couple of like-minded buddies I would shoot baskets for hours, over days, weeks, and months on end. I became proficient shooting the ball, from the top of the key, out on the wing and from the corner.
When freshman basketball team tryouts came around in the fall of 1963 I was excited… initially. I quickly discovered that being able to shoot the ball well was only one component of a well-rounded player. By spending all my time practicing shooting, I neglected to master dribbling, passing, picking, rebounding, and playing defense. I was abruptly cut from the team by Coach Cooksey at the end of the second day of tryouts.
Then and Now
60 Years Later
Why have I blabbered so much about this long ago personal failure? Very simply, I was a one-trick pony on the basketball court like you may be on the sales court. It’s not good enough to be a “good talker” who is able to sit down with prospects and present products and services. In order for you to make a really good living in this profession don’t overlook your need to be good in all key categories of selling.
My book, containing 116 different selling-related topics (none longer than 3 pages), could be a big help to your career. It’s titled Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word and can be ordered with FREE SHIPPING right here. Prospecting is explained in Chapter 3 and maintaining a great attitude in Chapter 1. Questioning, listening and uncovering pain points are found in Chapter 4. Chapter 6 focuses on handling customer concerns and objections. Chapter 8 teaches how to expand your business among your existing customer base, including networking. Closing sales calls and gaining new customers through solid follow-up, is detailed in Chapter 7. Altogether, there are 274 pages of relevant strategies!
Hall of Fame basketball great Rick Barry has a great quote. “You must be great at a few things and good at all the rest” to make it to the top. Salespeople, begin that journey today if you haven’t already!
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