Don’t Miss the Layups

Jeffrey Gitomer, in his Sales Bible, tells the story of asking for advice from a basketball coach.

The coach walked out onto the court, dribbled a couple of times, and threw a basic, easy layup.

Then he turned to Gitomer and said, “95% of basketball games are won with that shot. Don’t miss it.” And left.

At first, Gitomer says, he felt kind of ripped off. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized how fantastic the advice was.

The Pareto Principle Strikes Again

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts (and, contrariwise, 80% of your efforts contribute only 20% of your results).

But we often get caught up in improving the 80% of our work that doesn’t contribute as much: practicing bank shots, 3-point shots, and so on. And if you get the opportunity to make those shots, it’s great that you’ve improved them.

But most of what life is going to offer you is layups. Following up with clients to ensure they’re happy. Doing the same installation job you did last week, and that you’re going to do tomorrow. Writing an article. Making a bacon cheeseburger. And because those things are “boring” and “overdone”, we don’t practice them. And we screw them up.

That’s where most of your business is. It’s where your money comes from. And when you mess it up, your customer says to themselves (and all of their twitter followers) “Really? You can’t handle the most basic, fundamental part of your business?”

Don’t miss the layups.

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