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Sunday, December 12, 2010

First impressions

Last weekend my wife and I took our two kids to a popular department store’s portrait studio to get some photographs done.  Our appointment was at 11:00am but we arrived at 10:50am.  The first words out of the studio’s photographer was “we’re not open yet.”  Not…”Good morning, thanks for showing up early!” or “Good morning, make yourself comfortable while I get things opened up.” Our photographer soon arrived and was great.  The first photographer began to work in another studio with a couple and a child.  Their conversation went like this:
   Customer: We’d like 12 headshots of our daughter.
   Photographer: We can’t do that.
   Customer: You’re a photographer right?
   Photographer: Yes, but we don’t do that here.
   Customer:  But we did that very thing here last year.
   Photographer: We don’t do that here.
The customer and his family walked out shaking their head in anger and amazement.  The photographer then came into our studio and complained to our photographer about how unreasonable her customer was.
Let’s recap.  A customer CHOSE to make an APPOINTMENT at THEIR studio, brought MONEY, WANTED to spend it, and was turned away.  I think it’s safe to assume that the customer will not be back.
So why would I relate this story to you in a baseball blog?  Because much of the scouting in baseball works on the same “first impression” principle.  A scout has to travel over a large territory and cannot stay in one area too long.  You have a short time to make a first impression and if you do not make a good one, you probably will never see that scout again.  
If the associate described above had overwhelmed the customer with service well beyond what was expected, the customer would have spent their money, left happy, and returned in the future - and here’s the key -  even if the photographer was not the most talented!
Here’s the lesson.  Regardless of how much or how little talent you have, you can control your enthusiasm for the game, your hustle, your respect for the game, and so forth.  College coaches and pro scouts evaluate these areas just as they do talent.  If your talent is lacking but you excel in these other areas, a coach or scout just might take a chance on you and come back.  And that’s more than most players will get. 
And by the way...that department store announced that profits would be down quite a bit more than expected this last quarter.  Coincidence?
So the question to players is:  What impression are you making?

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