I was reading an article about Tiger Woods in Golf Digest. The article explored whether Tiger would be better or worse after he returned from surgery and rehabilitation on his knee. It went on to detail how effectively he played while injured and in great pain, and how much potential he had to be even better when he could move weight to his left leg. It also went on to describe his many potential distractions. Finally, I read a part of the article that talked about how prepared Tiger is for adversity.
When Tiger was a small boy, his father, Earl, took a very structured approach with Tiger. He would simply say, “There’s trouble left and trouble right – where do you want your ball to land?” Tiger would tell him where the ball should land, Earl would tell him to hit it there and Tiger hit it there. I imagine they must have repeated that process thousands and thousands of times. Today, regardless of his previous shot, the lie, the trouble or the odds, Tiger simply asks himself, “where do I want the ball to land?” and he hits it there. Easy.
It is this combination of mental and physical preparation that has made Tiger the greatest golfer of our era and perhaps any era. As the money list shows, even while missing half of last year, Tiger out earned his closest rival by two to one.
So how can you model Tiger Woods’ experiences and translate them into sales success?
- Foundation – professional training/coaching – all of the golf pros not only started with a coach, they all continue to be coached. Sales is no different. My clients continue to learn lessons and nuances well into their fifth year of sales coaching!
- Practice – professional golfers spend entire days at the range and on the putting green to sharpen and perfect their games. If they can do that, then certainly you can spend a half hour each day practicing.
- Execute – for professional golfers it is all about executing each shot. For you that means executing each question – having and knowing the questions, when to ask them, how to ask them, inspecting the answers and asking follow up questions. It means identifying those compelling reasons to buy from you – now – to take action. It means qualifying your opportunities and making compelling presentations that are both needs and cost appropriate. And it means flawlessly and patiently closing.
- Review – like all pro athletes, you must review – debrief – each sales call to identify what you did right and what you did wrong – and correct it – so you can execute on the next call.
- Set Expectations – as in pro sports, your goals change from year to year. With all pro athletes, the goals get bigger each year because their capabilities improve each year. It should be the same for you! How can you measure whether you are getting better at selling or if you are simply continuing to do what you learned your first two years?
- Accountability – The great Bobby Jones once called a penalty shot on himself – the ultimate in accountability. For you it means no more excuses, no pointing fingers, no blaming the economy, no blaming your pricing, etc. It’s about taking responsibility for not being effective enough when you don’t get the business.
- Endorsements – Tiger made something like $7 million playing golf and over $100 million in endorsements last year. You can earn endorsement money too by getting your customers and clients to endorse you! Testimonials, introductions, referrals, and events. Turn your customers and clients into evangelists!
- Advice Columns – Most of the top pro golfers write advice columns for magazines, web sites and blogs. You can do that too. Be a source of expertise, information and resources in your industry.