If you’re a golfer and a sales person, you know there’s plenty of selling done on a golf course. Although I haven’t come across any statistics, I’d speculate the majority of deals closed outside the boardroom are done on a golf course. I’ll also propose that the strategic sales process is akin to playing a game of golf. If you play both of them well, you’re likely to have your best sales year and game yet.
Although you may tee off in a foursome, golf is an individual sport where you’re playing your own game. Therefore, if you focus on how your competition is doing, you’ll lose sight on what’s important—the hole in front of you or in the case of business your customer. Your best game drives solidly on you and your customer, their needs, and what you can deliver. Successful sales people share some common strategies in how they approach and gather information about their customers and lead the sales process. These steps are similar in how a golfer strategizes in how to place the ball in the hole.
- Successful sales leaders study the company they want to sell to and learn about its vision, mission, size, growth, culture, products, products, strategic partnerships, locations, and key players. What they can’t find from their research, they’re prepared to ask during the initial meeting. They want to know what the goals and objectives of the organization are, who are the key decision-makers, and how purchasing decisions are made. It’s like the golfer studying the hole standing on the tee box—how it doglegs, pin placement, etc.
- They also learn of the customer’s purchasing process and what motivates each decision-maker. Sometimes manufacturing wants the more expensive solution, because it eases daily operations. Finance wants the cheapest, and the business leader wants the most cost effective. This process is like the golfer evaluating the clubs in his bag to determine which ones will get his ball over the sand traps, around the trees, and out of the tall grass to land in the cup with the least number of strokes.
- Most people consider sales a solo sport with most of the responsibility and accountability on the shoulders of the sales person. Just like a golfer who consults with his caddy, a seasoned sales person utilizes the skills and experience of the entire sales team. Successful sales people know how to leverage the strengths and perspectives of the other team members.
- After several meetings, a sales person has enough information about the company, what it needs, who makes the decisions, and what the decision-makers value to create a compelling story proposal. This mirrors the golfer who selects the club, takes a stance, addresses the ball, and swings the club while factoring in the wind speed, wind direction, and the brakes in the green to land his last shot onto the green and into the hole.
Sometimes your competition takes home the trophy by scoring a lucky double eagle, even when you’ve played your best game. When you consistently drive on these sales strategies, you’ll find you win far more customers than you lose, and you’ll be saying it’s better to be good than lucky.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com