The "can't miss prospect" in life and sports

by nick richardson - director, new business development - texas rangers baseball club | September 04, 2019

I often think about what sets high performers apart from the average or below average performers in various jobs and in life. I relate much of what I do to sales because as a friend once said, “sales skills equal life skills”. I could not agree more. Salespeople often have an uphill battle from the start because of the negative image that most people have of sales. This can be due to negative experiences, stories from friends/family, or the way Hollywood portrays them in virtually every movie. I work to teach those I hire to be results-driven salespeople. No, not salesperson results…client results. Nothing matters if the buyer is not achieving their results and gaining value from working with their sales professional. We do not close sales, we open relationships.

Awhile back in a team meeting, I proposed a question to my staff asking them what makes up a “can’t miss prospect” as an athlete. We were at a point where we were pushing hard to meet our 2019 sales goals and I could see that they had the potential to not only do that, but also exceed the total revenue of any team I have managed in the last five years. This was also an effort to get them to see how they could better serve their current and potential clients. They began to throw out descriptive words that they considered traits of a “can’t miss prospect”. Here’s that list:

consistent | coachable | grit | willingness to learn | resourceful | joyful | desire for personal growth | dependable | team player | does more than asked | leaves a place better than they found it | shows up prepared | arrives early | stays late | leader | honest | courteous | service above self | resilient | fights complacency | self-awareness | self-education | raw talent | quick on their feet | intelligent | self-worth | healthy | humble | confident | classy | technical | listener | clear | good with people | persistent | self-motivated | competitive | tenacious | responsible | determined | belief | giving

Now for some additional context for my question. My role with the Rangers is to hire and train the future reps for our sales teams. In most cases, I am bringing aboard the very “green” individuals and partnering with them to develop their skills. They are coming in at the entry level and working to become promotion ready. There is a ton to learn and a good amount of pressure to perform in this type of role. As most folks who have experienced this would say... the grind is challenging. It can be akin to a player working their way through a minor league system. I wanted to compare their journey to that of a “can’t miss prospect” on the athletic side. I felt this drill would also help them capture a better understanding of the traits their next leader is looking for as they work toward a promotion in life and business.

In evaluating the above words, my team did an outstanding job of describing what they envision when they hear “can’t miss prospect”. Each word above can also be taken and overlaid onto any employee, salesperson or not. Especially ones who are working their way up through an entry-level position striving to make an impact and create value for their company. No matter where you are in your career, it is a good reminder of what we should all strive to be. A standard that we should expect from ourselves, a standard we should drive in our culture, and a standard we should emulate and expect from our employees.

I encourage you to ask yourself if you are a “can’t miss prospect” for your organization, school, community, and family. If you are not, do a deep dive into yourself and take the time to learn where you are falling short. Self-assessment is one of the most difficult things you can do. It is also one of the most rewarding experiences if you follow through and take the steps to grow yourself into the person you were created to be. I also encourage you to ask one of your closest friends, closest coworkers, and your leader to help you in this evaluation. (Do not take their critique negatively) Consistent desire to grow will take you to higher levels and affect your circle of influence in the most positive ways. Go be great!


Nick Richardson is the Director of New Business Development at the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. He started his sports career with the Rangers in 2004 and has been with the team his entire 15-year sports career. His passion and purpose surround the development of people in life and career.