How’s Pickleball Like Sales?
Last week I played pickleball for the first time. A friend suggested the activity instead of a lunch or happy hour to catch up so we met up in the afternoon to play.
The day before, I watched a couple of youtube videos and felt pretty good about not being embarrassed (it’s pickleball after all). As we started, he showed me the right way to grip the paddle and said we should do some close to the net soft hit practice. It was pretty easy.
I thought we’d get to playing next, but he wanted me to practice my serves from both sides of the court. I saw a bunch of less athletic people than me having a good time on the courts around us and I just wanted to start playing.
Just as I thought we were ready, he brought up a few more fundamentals and insisted I practice a few drills on EACH one. We FINALLY got to playing a game, and I had a lot of different things I was trying to keep in mind. He was a patient coach as I got into the groove.
Another twosome (who admitted they’ve been playing for a year) asked if we wanted to play against them. The nicest way I can put it is that we crushed them.
It hit me that pickleball is like sales. There are lots of people out there hitting the ball back and forth and having fun. It’s easy to just “be there”. But most don’t know what they don’t know, and never got trained well on the fundamentals.
It’s absolutely fine to remain at a “rec player” level in pickleball. But sales is about people’s careers and lives, and companies hitting or missing their goals.
Since people can generally have a conversation and try to persuade a prospect, we consider them competent salespeople. Just like you’ll win some points and games by being on the court, you’ll close some sales by being in the role and trying.
But the result is a vast level of mediocrity that prevails. It’s far below what’s possible for salespeople and companies, and we’re driven to help show that it’s not too difficult to get from that rec level to the pros.