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Define Your Home Run

Sunday, July 1, 2012

R egardless of how many years I have experienced, and how many times I have fallen and managed to get up again, I amaze myself at just how much I still don’t know, and how much I have forgotten along the way.

This month’s lesson is one you can benefit from at once. Learn from my oversight. It is the painless way to go.

The setting is a conference room; the place where I have been making my living for the past 25 years when not waxing eloquent on the Big Stage.

I completed my program to the sound of a much appreciated applause. Over time speakers have developed a built-in “Applause-Meter” which decides how comfortable the plane-ride home will be. Yes, we have been known to beat ourselves up on more than one occasion after mediocre clap sessions.

In this instance I found myself departing the premises feeling more than just okay. I was feeling good. That is until the appraisal forms arrived a week and half later.

The categories of content, style, delivery, relevance and the like were all satisfactorily marked. There was no cause for alarm there. But the two items that referred to “questions” and “response to questions” were abysmal at best. The reason for this? Because I had left no time for questions. There were no questions. I did not answer any questions.

That is when the old sales lesson popped into my head. Upfront, early in the relationship, find out what the client defines as a “home run.” Establish the criteria from which you will be judged. This is key. Fundamental. Basic procedure, but too often forgotten or overlooked.

If I knew I was going to be judged on questions, or PowerPoint Slides, or the duration of a mid-program coffee break, it would have been easy to adhere to these expectations.

I learned a very important sales lesson last week: Define the home run. Then hit one. I hope you are catching my drift.

Contact Mike at or visit

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