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Baseball and Brokering

By Dustan Woodhouse, Special to CMT

Those who know me know I am not a huge sports guy. In fact, I tend to choose late nights in the office over hockey games, and afternoons writing rather than watching football or baseball. Nonetheless, here comes a sports analogy.

Specifically, baseball.

Are you beating yourself up over that file you lost today, the one(s) you lost last week, last month? Still got a name in your head of a file that you lost last year? Or in 2008?

Here are some numbers to help you get over it.

This year my assistant and I have worked ~330 files; 110 of them did not complete in the end. These are not simply applications taken, these are files that went live. The pitcher threw the ball at us.

We struck out due to appraised values, home inspections, income documents, lender guideline changes, etc.

Brokering, as with baseball, is (to some) a slow and tedious process with intermittent bursts of action. Neither baseball nor brokering moves at the pace of basketball, a sport with day-trader-like action. Although, I think many of us wish that some lenders were on a shot clock, and some clients as well. “Approve the file,” “Send me the void Cheque,” “Shoot the ball!”

Of course, brokers have their own shot clocks: subject removal dates and completion dates. But let’s stick to one analogy at a time.

Perhaps the most appropriate baseball comparison is with “big-hitters.” In baseball, the superstars are the ones that actually miss 70% of the time — i.e., a batting average of .300. They get told “no” by the pitcher 7 out of 10 times, yet they keep coming back. And if they get a yes 2 in 10 times, they hang in there; 3 in 10 times, they are considered top of their game; 4 out of 10, well, that’s as near to perfection as one gets.

Context is everything, isn’t it?

Our average this year has been .666. But whether your own average is .200, .500, .700, making a connection X out of 10 times is not the special part. Not at all.

Continuing to come back to the plate time after time, year after year, in front of a huge audience (your clients, referral sources, co-workers, friends and family), knowing that you are going to get shut down 7 out of 10 times — that is a special skill!

The only way you learn to connect with the ball is practice, lots and lots of practice. And even then…five phone calls to the client later, what do you have? Maybe one live file? And of the next 10 applications, maybe half get to “File Complete”?

If so, that’s nothing to get discouraged about when your game is brokering. As they do in the batter’s box, you simply dust yourself off, spit on your hands (optional) and take another swing.


A CMP Top 75 Broker for five years running, Dustan Woodhouse of Dominion Lending Centres is author of the book: Be The Better Broker – Volume One. Dustan can be reached at