Sales Lessons from Bonds and A-Rod

Published on November 20, 2007

News Flash — Barry Bonds is indicted by a federal grand jury on perjury charges; and A-Rod resigns with the Yankees after opting out of his contract despite the Yankees swearing they will not resign him.  How do these events relate to sales? 

In Bonds’ case, he violated one of the common traits you will see in all millionaires (The Millionaire Mind); the ability to get along with people.  Besides lying to a federal grand jury, Barry’s problems go back much farther than that.  He always carried himself with a great deal of arrogance. He was consistently rude to people and seemingly did not care about his fans.  While there are exceptions out there,  most people you speak with do not have something nice to say about Mr. Bonds. 

On the other hand you have Jason Giambi, who was implicated in the same steroids scandal. Jason is free of any court action and is still performing with the support of baseball fans.  He acknowledged and apologized for his role in the scandal.   He knew he was neither above the law nor the court of public opinion.  He knew he had to address the issues with the public and get along with the public in order to move forward. 

All of us have to get along with our customers.  Yes, we may still succeed if we are arrogant and not listening to our customers.  But remember, when you do not get along with others, they just can’t wait for you to slip up. 

As for A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez), his situation brings out two key points.  First, whenever you hear someone say this deal can never happen, remember that everything is negotiable.  When A-Rod opted out, the Yankees said they would never sign him again.  There were other financial implications involved which we will not get into now.  So the question is, what brought the Yankees back to the negotiating table?  That’s where point two comes in….NOTHING REPLACES PERSONAL CONTACT DURING A NEGOTIATION!!!

A short time after opting out of his agreement, A-Rod and his wife decided that they really wanted to remain in New York after all.  So, A-Rod reached out to Warren Buffet, considered by many to be the savviest investor of all time, and one of the richest people in the world.

Buffet’s simple piece of advice to A-Rod was to call the Yankees directly and go meet with them in person.  Once contact was made with the Yankees through an intermediary, the Yankees agreed to meet with him on one condition…that A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, who is known for his ruthless negotiating style, may not be present during the meeting.  So, A-Rod gets on a plane with his wife Cynthia and goes down to Tampa to meet with the Steinbrenner brothers. In one day, they nailed out the parameters of the deal!!! The Yankees felt convinced about A-Rod’s genuine desire to play for the team,and yes, they did offer him a boat load of money.  But wait!  The final offer was the same as the original offer they were going to give him, but never had the chance.  A-Rod was lucky to get a second chance.

You want to increase your success?  Then learn to get along with people.  Remember that nothing is more valuable than a personal relationship and a face- to-face visit.  And finally, never put your needs ahead of your customers.  It will always be received as pure arrogance on your part and create a perception of not caring. 

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