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Golf is a game not everyone can play, but most can relate to. I’d be willing to bet either you or someone you know plays golf. One of the great things about golf is it’s a sport you can learn at ANY time in your life – from preschool to retirement – and you can still enjoy the game whether you’re a scratch golfer or a hacker.

Besides being a lot of fun, golf can also teach valuable lessons – particularly in sales. Here are four specific sales lessons you can learn from the game:

Lesson 1: Play to your strengths.

We all have strengths. For me on the golf course, it’s 150 yards out from the green. For some reason, I’ve become deadly from this particular range. Put me inside of that, and it’s “deadly” for another reason! So, I do what I can to put myself close to 150 yards out whenever possible, in order to take advantage of my strength from that distance.

The same is true for sales. While we always want to improve on our weaknesses, we know where we shine. Some are strong online; others are great face-to-face communicators; while others are good at networking or cold calling. Once you know what your strengths are, focus on them. We’re often pushed to overcome our fear of cold calling and “just do it;” but, if you’re like me, the time spent in other areas is much more effective and efficient. So, I choose not to make cold calls, but rather focus on blogging, speaking to groups, and networking online.

Lesson 2: Discipline always wins.

If you’ve ever heard the story of Tiger Woods’ training program, you know what I mean when I say “discipline wins.” There are stories out there of his extremely specific daily routine. This article from 2009 sheds light on his workout regimen. The reason Tiger has won so often is not just because he started at an early age or because his father pushed him to perform; it’s because his discipline has been called “insane.”

Discipline in sales means having a plan and sticking to the plan; then evaluating the results of that plan and adjusting as necessary. With discipline, you should be able to predict exactly the outcome of a particular set of behaviors. In Sandler Sales Training, we call this our “cookbook” – a detailed list of behaviors or activities, that, when accomplished, will result in an expected outcome.

Lesson 3: Learn to choose the right tool for the situation.

Professional golfers often rely on a caddy, but most of us recreational golfers have to figure out which club to hit on our own. If you’re not a golfer, the general idea is that higher numbered clubs hit the ball shorter distances. But, each golfer uses a different club to hit a particular distance.

As I mentioned before, I’m pretty consistent from 150 yards out. For that shot, I use a 5-wood; while someone else may hit a 5-wood 220 yards or hit a 9-iron 150 yards. (I think Tiger Woods uses a sand wedge to hit from that distance!) In sales, the takeaway here is to know what tool works best in what situation. When it comes to specific techniques, you have a variety of “tools” at your disposal. Sharing third-party stories may work great in one scenario; and bracketing may be a perfect tool in another. This goes back to knowing and playing to your strengths, but must also take into account the personality of the prospect.

Lesson 4: You can always overcome a bad shot.

It always amazes me to see a professional golfer completely duff a shot into the woods, and then miraculously nail the next shot within feet of the hole. What they realize is the last shot is in the past, and the one they have in front of them is all that matters. They don’t dwell on past failures; they simply deal with it and move on.

As salespeople, it’s easy to get down on yourself – you’ve had a bad week, a bad month or even a bad quarter, and you feel like there’s no way out of the funk. But, when you wake up tomorrow, it’s a brand new day. Nothing in the past matters anymore. It’s time to deal with it and move on!

Whether you love to golf or have never picked up a club in your life, the four lessons are invaluable to sales success. Keep these in mind as you head out on your next sales call.

Time to Take Action!

If you’re looking to put these lessons into action – both on the golf course and in sales, join us on Monday, August 29, for our 2016 Sandler Training Charity Golf Outing. Or give us a call at (330) 929-9449 to learn more.


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