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Ten Ways Golf Improved My Sales

November 12, 2012

“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” – Arnold Palmer



 “You should take up golf; it will help your sales.” Anyone in sales has heard this famous line.  I have heard it many times throughout my sales career. Apparently I had trouble believing it; I didn’t take up golf until I was 50.   Of course, most people were referring to building relationships on the golf course.  Relationships aside, here are a few of the golf lessons I’ve learned that have also improved my sales techniques.



  1. Always try to get better-One of the greatest things about golf is, no matter what your age, you always feel that you can get better.  People will buy better golf clubs or work on their short game or go to the practice range.  LESSON LEARNED: In sales, never stop learning; there is a variety of fun new tools like Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Linked-In) and CRMs (i.e. that make sales enjoyable.
  2. Know your strengths and weaknesses– This is so important in golf.  You should not try shots that have a very low percentage success rate and countless times I have heard, “Play within your abilities.”  LESSON LEARNED: Stay on target, and don’t shoot for targets that are NOT achievable.
  3. Take your best shot and move on-One of my major faults is getting too emotional about winning and losing sales.  In golf, you think about what you did wrong or could have done better, but move quickly to the next shot.  The key is staying calm and focused.  Getting tense and upset only guarantees a poor swing next time. LESSON LEARNEDDo not wallow in the sale you did not get.  Learn from it, move on and there will be another shot at it.
  4. Best ways to improve your score– Pros will tell you that two of the best ways to improve your score is course management and improving your short game.  Know the course well, preview your target, and plan two or three shots before you take your swing.  LESSON LEARNED: Know your market and your competition, preview your prospects, and be prepared with two or three simple plans.
  5. Stop Thinking and Swing – you should know what you want to do before you stand next to the ball.  The worst thing you can do is stand there thinking about it, tense up, and hit a lousy shot.  Take a very relaxed confident swing, and commit yourself to the shot.  LESSON LEARNED: Getting in front of a customer is a risk.  Take it.  Sometimes you do not have all the answers; sometimes you will do it wrong.  You only get better when you swing at it
  6. Golf is not just about the Driver – You have to use other clubs in the bag.  You can have a great drive and blow the second shot when you use the wrong club. LESSON LEARNEDDon’t rely on just one tool.  There are many sales tools in your sales bag.  Make sure that you know which tool to use in which situation.  You would not use a driver, when you need a putter. 
  7. Top Performers do not make excuses– Ever listen to PGA player who has had a bad day?  They only blame themselves and are totally accountable.  No one wants to listen to excuses.  LESSON LEARNED: If you want to be a top performer, be accountable for your sales.
  8. Know the obstacles before you take your shot – In golf you look at the sand traps, the water, the desert, and whatever obstacles there are before you take your shot.  You know the risk/reward.  Sometimes you take the chance and go for it, and sometimes you lie up and play it safe.  In any case you have to take a shot or you quit playing.  LESSON LEARNED:   You have to keep playing.  Know the objections and what the risk/ rewards are before you engage the customer.  Trying with confidence is better than not trying at all.  
  9. Follow ThroughIf you want to have an executive swing that is consistent, you must learn to follow through properly.  LESSON LEARNED: You can have a great presentation, have all the potential benefits outlined for a customer, but having good follow-through is a must; it builds trust and confidence for you customer.
  10. Practicing the wrong thing does not improve your game – Practice is important.  However, in golf, you can be practicing the wrong things.  No matter how much I listen to tapes or read to improve, unless a golf pro sees what I am doing, my improvement is minimal.  If Tiger Woods has a coach, why shouldn’t I?   LESSON LEARNED: A great coach or mentor is a tremendous value.  No matter how great you think you are you can always learn from someone that has a different perspective. 

Developmental Editing by Christine Kerr –


Scratch Golf Ball Rocket

Scratch Golf Ball Rocket (Photo credit: jurvetson)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2012 2:31 pm

    Great thoughts, Allan – thanks! One more thought is that golf teaches some to stay positive and professional even when the golf gods don’t shine down on any given hole or day. That humbling experience, and knowing that the next hole or day will be better, is a good lesson for sales, too. Oh golf and sales, gotta love ’em. Thanks again.

  2. December 18, 2012 7:12 am

    Who knew Golf was more than a game? Great thoughts, strategic planning and thinking always worked for me!

  3. January 4, 2013 2:51 pm

    Great lessons for golf, sales, and life in general. Glad you shared!

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