The Sales Lesson of Cy Young

The most successful pitcher in Major League Baseball History is Cy Young. He is known as the best, not because he was the most likely to win any single game, but because he has the most wins. Cy Young won 511 games in his career, and the pitcher with second-most only won 417 games!

There is one definitive reason to explain why Cy Young was more successful than any other pitcher: he was the starting pitcher in more games than any other pitcher in history. Cy was the best because he put himself out there more than anyone else.

As a result, Cy was willing to and also failed more than anyone else in baseball history. He holds the career record for losses, hits given up and runs scored against him.

If Cy was in sales, he would set himself up for success by doing what he did on the mound. He would put himself out there more than anyone else. This does not mean to “pitch” your product more to anyone that will take your call or email. It means to attempt to start more sales processes than anyone else. For Cy to win 511 games, he most likely had a process and a plan and then he executed it.  Use this time to develop a process and a plan and repeat it over and over again. The more you do it, the more you will be successful.

What does it mean to start more games in sales? It means to make sure you understand your customers and potential customers’ needs and goals right now AND to make sure they know  and feel the excitement and benefits in and around your product.

As we have heard countless times, we are in “uncharted waters” and there is no playbook that has all the answers. However, I’m confident that if anyone  wrote a playbook, the winning formula will start with being willing to fail more and putting yourself out there more than you ever have before.

P.S. For those who are baseball stat fans, here are some other fun numbers/names of the all-time greats who were great because they were willing to lose more than anyone else and a list of pitchers who are not all-time greats because they didn’t put themselves out there enough. If you’re not a baseball stat fan, there is no need to read below.

Pitchers with a better winning % than Cy Young that are not all-time great pitchers:

#8 Don Gullett
#12 Babe Ruth
#28 Ron Guidry
#37 Johan Santana
#43 Jon Lester
#50 Dwight Gooden…I feel like he was undefeated against the Cubs in those early years.
#52 Mark Mulder
#59 Corey Kluber
#65 Tim Hudson
#80 John Tudor
#82 Cy Young

Only 7 of top 20 in winning % who are eligible for Hall of Fame, are in the Hall of Fame, however:
13 of the top 20 in losses are in the HOF
14 of top 20 in HR allowed who are eligible for HOF are in the HOF
16 of top 20 in games started are in the HOF