If we’ve ever met or you’ve ever watched any of our weekly videos, you know that I love baseball.  For those of you who think it’s boring or slow — we should chat. But stick with me through the analogy.  Ty Cobb ended his baseball career in 1928 with a career batting average of .366 over 24 seasons.  That’s the highest career batting average of any baseball player in the games history.  Other players, like Ted Williams have had single seasons that were higher (Ted Williams — .406 in 1941) but you get my point.  The absolute best professionals in the field were successful less than 50% of the time.  Because it’s hard to hit a tiny little ball that is being hurled at you at 90 MPH.  It’s equally hard for agencies to win new clients.

Ted or Ty would have been a rec softball team’s dream player.  And they would have ruled the league because they were too good to play there. If you tell me (which many of you do) “if we can get in the room, we always walk away with the business,” I’m going to suggest you set your sites higher.   You are playing rec softball and you’re good enough to play in the big leagues. (It could be the client is too small, your prices are too low or some other factor).

But if you’re in the middle of a losing streak (which every single agency experiences sooner or later)  the way to get out of that slump is to keep getting up to bat. I say that flippantly but I want you to know (because my agency has been through slumps too) that I get how difficult that is. But, agency new business is a numbers game. I am NOT suggesting you chase after anything or everything. You know we advocate you niching down and being very clear about who you can serve best. But if you only have three biz dev meetings a year, it’s tough to turn the tide. You need to target the right prospects but then go after them relentlessly and get yourself more opportunities.

A baseball player will study video and make adjustments. They might change their grip or their stance. They might adjust the timing of their swing. But they study their losses and tweak accordingly.  And they practice even more.  Instead of letting the discouragement shut them down, they use it to level up.  First, they acknowledge that no one gets a hit every time.  Why is it easier for a baseball player to accept that than for agency folks?  

But, they know to get a higher percentage of hits, they need to increase their at bats.  So you need to study why you are losing, make some adjustments and get back to the plate.

I’m doing some one-on-one coaching with an AMI agency that has been hearing “no” a lot lately. This was not a brief slump. It had been many months.  The owner has been so frustrated, even questioning whether or not she can compete anymore.  As you all know, it’s hard to walk back up to the plate if you’ve struck out the last eight at bats. We worked on better defining their target audience and she kept approaching the plate.  You know the end of this story. I got a text a couple days ago with a lot of explanation points.  A huge win for her agency.  A day later — another text with explanation points.  Another win.

Because she kept going up to the plate. Because she kept learning, listening, and tweaking.

Expect to lose some.  If you don’t — you really are playing in the wrong league and you are capable of so much more.

This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter.  To subscribe, click here.