BSE Insights – Sales and Baseball

BSE Insights – Sales and Baseball

BSE Insights – Sales and Baseball

In the movie Moneyball, the character Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) tentatively explains to Billy Bean (Brad Pitt), “There’s an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening, and this leaves people who run major league baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams.”


Peter Brand continues to explain the fundamental misunderstanding; wins come from players getting on base and not buying players. I think the same misconception happens in dealerships. Dealers search for the 20 car salesperson instead of counting customer visits to their showroom. Let me explain.

The Problem

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with dealer operators, and they share a common goal of finding more qualified salespeople who can produce 20 plus units a month. Dealers who only look at this data point misunderstand the source of their sales. The dealer’s focus shouldn’t be on finding salespeople that can sell 20 plus vehicles a month. They should be focusing their attention on where sales come from. Dealerships, just like baseball, calculate and measure all kinds of statistics. They use CRM’s, desk logs, phone systems, and many other tools to measure activity and productivity. The problem dealers face isn’t sufficient data; it’s the capacity to comprehend what the data represents. The solution is to identify one essential statistic and amplify it.

I’ve spent thousands of hours in dealerships, listening to their morning motivation sales meetings, getting their staff ready for the day. These meetings usually center around a story about a salesperson overcoming a customer objection, and then the meeting turns toward how many appointments the dealership has for the day. Finally, the motivation meeting ends with an overview of how the store is tracking for the month. These are great discussions to have with your staff and provide value to the sales team. But, what happens at the end of the day is where our problem begins. When appointments don’t show up, floor traffic was slow, and another day’s performance just didn’t reach the potential. What statistic isn’t considered? What isn’t measured after the sales day closes?

The Data Set

Sales managers should measure how many visitors each salesperson had at the dealership like baseball managers measure how many at-bats each player has in a game. Visits are salespeople’s at-bats. At the end of the day (and ongoing) sales managers should calculate their salespeople batting percentages.

Don’t limit the calculation to only, did they sell a vehicle or not. It goes deeper, how far in the process did they get, is there a visit scheduled at another time. How many times were they at-bat todayIf you begin to genuinely measure visits, the salesperson’s performance takes on a new appearance. Let’s be realistic for a moment, many sales managers have a bias who they think are their best salespeople. So, those salespeople get additional leads, customers that managers have in their pipelines or the all too famous house deal. Managers do this because they want the best salesperson up at-bat. The transcendent characteristic of data is it’s unbiased. Visits are the key statistic we should use to help measure our sales teams.

Study And Manage The Data

You just might be surprised to find out who your most productive salespeople are when weighing customer visits. The data may reveal one group of salespeople is getting precious little at-bats (visits) while others are getting a tremendous portion of the customer visits. But when breaking down data points, those with very few visits may have a better visit percentage. But you will never know if you don’t start to measure the visit statistic. Measuring the units sold is just keeping score. Start measuring your sales teams at-bats and discover the changes that happen in your sales staff and on your sales floor.

 Customers are the pitchers and salespeople are the batters, pitchers throw everything they have in their arsenal at a batter and it’s the salesperson’s job to hit the pitches the customers throw their way. Did your salesperson hit a homerun and sell are car or did the customer leave without scheduling another visit, if so your salesperson just struck out?


Jim Brennan

Managing Partner BSE-USA, Inc.

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  • Patty May 11, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Great analogy, Jim. Well said!

  • prsch3259 May 11, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Thank you Patty! I really appreciate your comments.

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