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Statistically speaking, if a runner is on third base, they have a much better chance of scoring in a baseball game than if they are on first base. I have attached a table of some statistics at the end of this post to further illustrate this point. However, isn’t this concept a matter of common sense? No matter how many outs there are, if you are on third base, you don’t need a chart to tell you it’s more likely you will score than if you are on first, or even second, base.

So why would the CEO of an ad agency write about baseball? It’s because our clients, and even my team, need to think in these terms more often. The biggest problem I see in today’s business culture is “the guy standing on third who thinks he hit a triple.” I heard that quote the other day and it really resonated with me. You see, I have spent nearly 25 years training to “run the bases” properly in order to earn a sale and close a deal. I have, in many other ways, said exactly what I heard the other day, but this one hit me:

“Nothing worse than a guy who is standing on third base and thinks he is the one who hit the triple.”  I broke down the bases into a simple analogy for automotive sales:
First Base – building value with a walk around.  Second Base – doing a demo of the product, which, in this case, is a demo drive.  Third Base – showing the service department and talking warranties.
I have preached this over 1000 times in my life.  “Just like a 12 year old kid who missed touching second base in a little league game, if you did not do the demo drive, your chances of scoring go way down.  Period.”

In that little league game example, as you are rounding third and headed home to score, the umpire will tell you to run back and touch second base because you missed it. In most cases, you will be thrown out and not score at all. In sales, if you rounded third and tried to close a deal without doing a great demo, the customer will ask you to back track and actually do the demo. They want to understand and fall in love with the product a little more, so again, you will probably get thrown out. Skipping second based (the demo) is not the natural progression of a sale and going back to it gives the customer time to feel the pressure of you trying to steal home.  Bottom line: your chances of scoring go down. This is undisputable.

As an agency that drives traffic and opportunities to businesses, we follow the rules of sales. We want you on third base with a customer. We do not want you on third base without first hitting the other bases. We want you in a position to score more easily and more often.  How does this translate into advertising? First, we have to establish what third base is in this case. We have to determine which level of the advertising and sales funnel equates to being on third base with no outs in terms of raising your chances of scoring with a customer.

I will tell you how we gauge this. To us, a lead is third base. As a Google Certified partner and a full service agency that handles both traditional and digital media, we do things a bit differently. It’s easy for many companies like us to get caught up in the metrics and analytics game. If your agency is talking to you about your web sessions, tell them to get off first base. If they move on to conversions and a low bounce rate, tell them to get off second base. You can’t sell a car to a guy who visited your website if you never had his name, number and email to follow up with. Your chances of scoring are horrific and worse than being on first.  That’s like striking out and never even getting on base.

Once you have a customer’s name and contact information, you can take control and set the score. No, you won’t score every time, but you will score more often, and that is the name of the game. At Dealer World, my team concentrates on putting our customers on third base as often as possible. We are the lead off hitter, if you will.

Here are the only ways to count leads that are the equivalent of third base.
A walk in
A phone call
A lead form filled out and submitted
A text lead
Web platform chat

These are your only plays. These are where you can score from. Take the time to evaluate all your marketing—from your ads, both offline and online, to your website and whether or not it is set up to convert. Be sure that all of your efforts are centered around earning the right to be on third base, i.e., getting a lead. I promise, you will sell more, score more and make more money by being the best player on the field.

Just for fun, take a look and you will see it’s all about the percentages of scoring.  Everything you do should be positioning to score.

Outs Runners Expected Prob > 0 Count Total Runs Shutout
0 Bases are empty 0.49 0.275 377390 186702 273565
0 Runner at 1st 0.88 0.435 97684 85966 55235
0 Runner at 2nd 1.13 0.633 29342 33131 10768
0 Runners at 1st & 2nd 1.50 0.636 21978 32895 7994
0 Runner at 3rd 1.37 0.837 5360 7333 871
0 Runners at 1st & 3rd 1.75 0.870 9845 17210 1284
0 Runners at 2nd & 3rd 1.98 0.860 5571 11011 781
0 Bases are loaded 2.37 0.882 5233 12419 617
1 Bases are empty 0.26 0.159 270279 70996 227329
1 Runner at 1st 0.52 0.276 112521 58731 81420
1 Runner at 2nd 0.69 0.414 52502 36227 30789
1 Runners at 1st & 2nd 0.92 0.425 39375 36031 22649
1 Runner at 3rd 0.96 0.667 18798 18020 6257
1 Runners at 1st & 3rd 1.17 0.653 19988 23348 6942
1 Runners at 2nd & 3rd 1.40 0.686 14152 19800 4443
1 Bases are loaded 1.57 0.678 13474 21175 4339
2 bases are empty 0.10 0.067 215735 21306 201378
2 Runner at 1st 0.23 0.128 113013 25469 98497
2 Runner at 2nd 0.33 0.224 64639 21275 50176
2 Runners at 1st & 2nd 0.44 0.231 50463 22358 38792
2 Runner at 3rd 0.38 0.275 27006 10272 19583
2 Runners at 1st & 3rd 0.50 0.286 25826 13007 18447
2 Runners at 2nd & 3rd 0.61 0.277 15357 9304 11100
2 Bases are loaded 0.76 0.321 16281 12332 11060



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