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One of the most recent innovations in major league baseball is the greatly expanded us of shifting the defensive players. This is the result of “big data.” Every at bat, every pitch is tracked in a computer. When teams find that hitters hit the ball to one side of the field a vast majority of the time they shift their fielders to better defense the hitter.

There are predicted to be over 14,000 shifts used this year (they are typically not used or not used as much with runners on base). This is nine times more than just three years ago.

So what are hitters doing to counteract this? Shifts are usually used against dead pull-hitters (they usually hit to side of the field from which they are batting) and those hitters are working on hitting the other way and bunting. Once enough of them change their habits the shifting will change again.

The analogy here is that business is very similar to sports. In this case, we have to constantly shift, shift back and shift again. What generated customers 40-50 years ago – hard nosed, high pressure, make ‘em hurt sales tactics – doesn’t work very well today.

There is so much information out there (think “The Internet”) that customers are often more educated on products than the salesperson (based on my research I actually told my car salesperson some things he didn’t know about the car I bought).

More than ever we have to be “on the top of our game.” My clients who want to buy a business have (supposedly) read my book. With my new book out I expect clients looking to prepare their business for sale will have read my book. Knowledge is power and we all have more knowledge than ever before.

For a lot more on this read Daniel Pink’s book To Sell Is Human.

“What trophy do you want on your mantle?” Marcy Massura, MSL Group

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