Master the Spares and The Strikes Will Come by Themselves

By Bob Burg

The fundamentals are always the key to success in any area, whether baking a cake, building a business, playing a sport or…. Winning Without Intimidation.

While “out-of-the-box” thinking, creative ideas and smartly spoken words and phrases can often be the difference between good and great, consistent success is typically based on doing “the little things right” time after time, again and again and again.

Coach Vince Lombardi’s dynastic Green Bay Packer football teams of the 1960′s mastered blocking and tackling, the most fundamental aspects of football. They used to run a very basic play called the “Power Sweep.”

The defense pretty much always knew when they were going to run it. It didn’t matter. “The Pack” ran it so well, it was practically unstoppable.

On the other hand, there are master chefs who can create gastronomical masterpieces bound to tantalize most anyone’s culinary desires (what’s with the fancy words today?) :-)yet, you can be sure they base their expertise on knowing, understanding and applying the most fundamental aspects of their craft.

My friend, Thom Scott, creates long-copy sales ads and marketing campaigns that absolutely floor me, yet when I go through them I notice they veer not one single bit from the basic premises he has learned and now teaches regarding the “fundamental” elements that are foundational for successful advertisements and campaigns.

And, it’s the same with “Winning Without Intimidation” or mastering the art of positive persuasion. The fanciest, most effective “lines, words and phrases” that will cause people to do for you those things they will rarely do for most others simply will not work… if not based on the fundamentals of the craft.

And, what are those fundamentals? There are five that I see. Very briefly, they are:

#1 Attitude – The mindset that the universe is friendly to your desires and that people are generally good people who want to be helpful, if just given the chance to deal with a nice person such as yourself who has (and this is where the next one comes in)…

#2 Positive Expectancy – You expect that the other person is going to go out of their way to help you; to be “solution- oriented.”

Doing this is not naive. It’s understanding that with this type of expectation, you’re not changing this person; you are changing yourself, you are changing your mindset. Thus, you are looking at this person in a much different way. As such, he or she will now respond differently to you than they otherwise would have.

#3 Politeness – It’s separating yourself from 95 percent of the others who approach the person with an “entitlement” mentality that he or she “owes” you their help.

Well, whether they do or not, they are not necessarily playing the game correctly. It’s up to you to approach them in a way that elicits their wanting; their desiring to help you. Politeness is definitely a fine start.

#4 Patience – The understanding that, since most people are not used to “living in the solution” it might take a while (even “minutes” qualifies as “a while” when you want what you want “right now”) to re-teach this person. That’s okay.

#5 Persistence – Or, as Zig Ziglar would say, “courteous persistence.” This is a mindset you have where you retain your great attitude and positive expectancy of this person and their motives, remaining polite and patient, while you still demonstrate that you’re willing to stay with this situation until you get the right results.”

Any fancy words and phrases you utilize, such as what I call “The Eight Key Words That Will Instantly Move A Person to Your Side of The Issue Practically Every Time” (these words are, “If you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand”) will only work if first set up correctly by your utilizing the basics, the fundamentals we just discussed.

After all, imagine just walking up to someone and coldly spewing out those words without there being any context for this person to relate. There’s very little chance it’s going to get you the results you want.

On the other hand, if you’ll master the five fundamentals we discussed, you’ll find good things and great results happening more often, and more quickly, than you can ever imagine.

I remember, as a young kid, watching an older boy (probably 16 or 17) bowling. He was excellent, nailing strike after strike after strike. I said, “Greg you must love getting so many strikes.” He replied, “I sure do.”

I then said, “In fact, you must really practice mastering those strikes.” His reply was, “Not at all; I never practice mastering the strikes. I practice mastering the spares.”

Sensing my confusion, he then added a sage piece of wisdom I’ve taken with me since that time. He said, “When you master the spares, the strikes will come by themselves.”


So, master those spares, perfect the basics. Often quick – and genuinely long-lasting – results will come your way in abundance.