There’s No (Crying or) Whining in Selling

Robert Terson

My dear friend Kelly Riggs wrote what I believe is one of the best sales books ever penned—Quit Whining and Start Selling! – A Step-by-Step Guide to a Hall of Fame Career in Sales. I want you to pay particularly close attention to the word “Whining,” because when salespeople call me for help (it happens almost every day), I invariably hear a string of complaints/excuses that can only be described as WHINING!!! After I verbally kick their asses, let them know what I think of their sorry excuse of a mental attitude, they thank me, promise to clean up their acts. I’m usually less than convinced they’re actually going to do it. Alas, wallowing in self-pity, WHINING, seems to be the international pastime of too many salespeople.

Tamara Schenk of Miller Heiman is also a dear friend of mine. When she was in Chicago for a conference and we had dinner together. Somehow we got onto this subject of whining, and I wound up telling her about the movie A League of Their Own. It’s a story about a women’s baseball league during World War II; Tom Hanks portrays the manager of one of the teams, Jimmy Dugan. There comes a point in the film when Dugan questions the play of one of his players, Evelyn Gardner. The dialog goes like this:

Jimmy Dugan: “Evelyn, could you come here for a second? Which team do you play for?”

Evelyn Gardner: “Well, I’m a Peach.”

Jimmy Dugan: “Well I was just wonderin’ why you would throw home when we got a two-run lead. You let the tying run get on second base and we lost the lead because of you. Start using your head. That’s the lump that’s three feet above your ass.” 

[Evelyn starts to cry]

Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!” 

Doris Murphy: “Why don’t you give her a break, Jimmy…”

Jimmy Dugan: “Oh, you zip it, Doris! Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?” 

Evelyn Gardner: “No, no, no.” 

Jimmy Dugan: “Yeah! NO. And do you know why?”

Evelyn Gardner: “No…” 

Jimmy Dugan: “Because there’s no crying in baseball. THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! No crying!”

And then I gave Tamara the connecting punch line, which caused both of us to breakup in fitful laughter:

THERE’S NO WHINING IN SELLING!!!

Make a point of that, my friends: THERE’S NO WHINING IN SELLING!!!

 

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