Baseball vs. Selling

by Jacques Werth

It is very difficult to hit a baseball, thrown at over 80 miles per hour, with a regulation sized bat.  You get to swing the bat at the ball up to three times, each time you get up to bat.  If you get a hit one out of every four times at bat, that’s up to twelve attempts to hit the ball.  Almost any team will pay you $2,000,000 a year to do that.  You also get a three month vacation and free coaching.  If you can get a hit one out of every three times you go to bat, you can make upwards of $5,000,000 per year.  That is the sports entertainment business.

In most other businesses, salespeople only make about $165,000 per year to sell one out of four prospects.  On average they get about 4 attempts to sell each prospect.   Salespeople who sell three out of four prospects and only need to make 2 attempts per prospect, often make upwards of $700,000 – and they have to pay for their own coaching.  However, it’s a lot easier than hitting a baseball.

Baseball vs. Selling

3 thoughts on “Baseball vs. Selling

  1. Mike Les says:

    C’mon now. Where do these huge earnings numbers come from? The U.S. Dept of Labor reports median pay for sales reps across business sectors is $45,000 to $80,000 a year. Even that seems high. I know plenty of salespeople from a wide variety of industries. Most of them would need four or five years total to earn $165,000. Being a salesman quite often means having a prepaid cellphone, junky old car, and a mailbox full of overdue bills.
    Tossing out huge pay numbers like these induces desperate souls to continue to sell themselves into wage slavery and cling to self-delusion, which, by the way, customers can sense.


  2. Mike – By definition, “Median pay” indicates what average salespeople earn. They don’t get many appointments and don’t even close 10% of their prospects.

    The numbers I “tossed around” in my article are for exceptional salespeople. You can find the numbers in Selling Power Magazine’s annual report of sales compensation. CSO Insights’ compensation reports show similar earnings.


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