Monday, June 19, 2006

Golf and Selling - The Fundamentals of Sales

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I took up Golf last summer so this month marks a year at this frustrating, humiliating, challenging, and surprisingly addictive game. I've made great strides in just a year but I still haven't broken 100, still hit balls with amazing inconsistency and still can't tolerate my performance on the course. That's just the way I am. Saturday, I took my 25th lesson, hoping to "straighten" out my recent woes. It turned out to be a very simple adjustment to get me hitting the ball straight again. I had developed a bad habit with my grip - ironic since that was the very first thing I learned. Back to basics. Isn't sales exactly the same? When salespeople are struggling and even when they're not, why don't they work on and practice the basics? Of course, that requires knowing what the basics are....What do you think? What are the basics that your salespeople should be practicing?
(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.


At 6/20/2006 05:28:00 AM, Anonymous Rick said...

Rather than answer that question, I'd rather take note that you've been in "development" for a year and will probably stay in that phase, being coached, looking for significant improvement, then "tweaking" for quite a while longer. Some salespeople never "break 100" because they stop paying attention and don't practice enough.

At 6/22/2006 01:53:00 AM, Anonymous Conor said...

Dave, Actually Sales has many parallels to Golf.

The course is the market, yesterday I played in 100mph winds -- tough market. Last week 0 Wind and 70degrees sunshine, great. I didn't win on either day because my fellow competitors were better on the day.

Why? They played the conditions and knew how to adjust to the conditions presented. Just like selling the smart sales people understand the conditions presented and adjust their approach accordingly. This flexibility and range of approaches wins. One size, one approach will not suit all markets. We need to "develop" oursleves through training, coaching, practise and exposure to experience.

The wind has calmed today... hopefully I'll have a better day ;-)

At 6/22/2006 08:51:00 AM, Blogger Wes Johnston Director, CBIM RCB GSU said...

I've played golf for over 40 years and come to one simple conclusion - golf is not a game for perfectionists. I have never met anyone that shot an 18. Thats what makes golf a challenge. Golf is about learning and improving your own personal game. What can help is coaching from a pro, practice, and occasionally new equipment. Each of us has a natural swing and the goal is to find it. After that, lessons are not just for when we start hitting too many bad shots. If you study the pros, they too take lessons and work with a coach. What makes the game of golf truly great is that we can always get better. Selling is very much like golf. Coaching from someone more experienced, continuing training programs, new equipment in the form of mobile technology and software all can make you better at selling. Training is not for when your sales start dropping off, but for opening up new product opportunities, new types of customer markets and closing even more business. You'll never close every sale, but then again thats what makes sales a challenge.

Wes Johnston
Director, Center for Business and Industrial Marketing
Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University

At 6/22/2006 09:45:00 AM, Anonymous Rocky LaGrone said...

Up until this year I played golf once a year whether I needed to or not. This year however, I decided to learn to play so I wouldn't be embarassed when I have the opportunity to play with clients. So far each game shows improvemet over the other.

Just like sales, each game has a different set of variables. The fundamentals are just that, fundamental! And each game has lessons that can be learned and applied.

Just like golf, sales and life, we often draw the wrong conclution from the information given. Then that infomation is carried with us to the next experience and often we focus on the incorrect set of vairables.

A great coach always looks at paterns not events. The golf coach wants to see your swing, observe you grip, check your balance and rarely gives advice after one swing. Fixing the symptom instead of the cause never produces long term resutls.

The same is true for sales. As a sales development specialist and a distributor or your Pre and Post sales hiring tools we can accurately identify the cause of sales problems.

And just like golf, it takes time effort and learning the right lesson from failure to improve expponetially.

Thank you for the hard work, effort and development tools you've created.

Rocky LaGrone
The Trianing Group

At 6/26/2006 01:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been playing golf twice as long as I've been selling and I've been in a sales role of one kind or another for 18 years.

Golf and Selling:

Both require practice because if you don’t already have the skill, you won’t “find it” in the middle of the game.
Be polite to the people you play with. You might see them later or meet one of their friends.
The short game is like prospecting. It may not look glamorous but it’s where the top professionals make all the money.
Don’t get upset with your results if you only play once a week.
The less effort required to finish the game, the better.
An intelligently selected shortcut will save you a little, but you still have to perform the rest of the way.
It’s tough to self-analyze your weaknesses. A video camera helps but an assessment from a pro is much better.
You have to pay a lot or at least earn your way to play with a well-known player.
There are good teachers and bad teachers. You usually get what you pay for. 1 in 500 people can figure it all out from just reading a book.
It’s a good idea to scope out the landscape before you start to play.
You only get a mulligan when you’re playing with your buddies.
Sometimes your best results come when you aren’t feeling well.
People get nervous and do stupid things when there’s a lot of money on the line.
Playing with your friends is like calling on existing customers. You won’t make a lot of money unless they have lots of money - and they’re motivated to wager it.
Showing up late is automatic disqualification.
Arriving last at the course means you have less time to warm up than your competitors.
The best professionals have a coach.
Losing control of your emotions is a sure way to lose.
It’s not over until you have 2 signatures on the card and the players committee posts your result.
It always pays to extricate yourself from trouble quickly rather than trying to be a hero and go for the long shot.
Choose a model (or someone successful) to emulate that fits your style.
Keep an eye on your opponent. You might learn what to do or what not to do - You may decide to employ a different strategy than your opponent.
Playing an indirect angle instead of a straight line may improve your possibilities.
Stay in the moment. Focus on your process, not on the outcome.
Be honest with yourself and your playing companions. It pays in the long run.
Don’t expect lucky breaks but take advantage of them when they come your way.
Never try out a technique you haven’t already practiced.
A solid stance is the foundation to a good outcome.
Use the latest technology. It’s far better than the old stuff.
Follow through to the target, not to what’s in front of you.
You should learn something every time you go out.
It’s a good idea to smell the flowers along the way.

Chip Doyle

At 6/26/2006 09:06:00 AM, Anonymous Rush said...

Desire...desire...desire...desire. When the student is ready, the coach will succeed!

At 6/26/2006 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Tom Niesen said...

Golf and success, they are both a journey. The real connection comes when we look at the statistics, something like 75% of people who play golf never break 100, much like 75% of sales people just make a living. In both cases they want to play the game, but not work real hard at it. I have a 7 handicap I have been playing golf since I was a kid. I shoot in the 70's and normaly a couple times a month I shoot in the high 80's or even 90' is normally right after I had a coaching session with my golf coach. Once a month I work with him and mind you I always tell him he will make me mad, because just when I think I have a great swing, he finds something to improve. Only the true sales PROFESSIONAL breaks 100 becasue they are always looking at thier swing and trying to improve it. But just like golf they dont go out in front of a good prospect and practice they find a drving range to practice. and just like golf a lot of people go to training, but never really practice. They just put in time.

At 6/26/2006 09:42:00 AM, Anonymous Pat McManamon said...

Pat said...
Dave I agree that golf and sales has many parellels, it looks easier than it really is--unless you've practiced, distance/working hard is not as important as accuracy/working smart and not allowing previous "shots" to impact the rest of your game determines your level of success.
Pat McManamon
Selling Solutions

At 6/26/2006 10:52:00 AM, Blogger Howard said...

Do not look at the ball, it's like looking at the money.


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