Sales Lessons from a Golfer’s Mind

There’s a great book by famed golf performance psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella, called The Golfer’s Mind. I’ve been rereading it, as I do occasionally, and keep observing so many parallels to sales and the emotional discipline it takes to truly be the best one can be.

The book is all about how to stay in the moment and focus on the target. In general, it is a handbook to enable golfers, both professional and amateur alike, to improve their mental game so that their mind doesn’t get in the way of their performance.

90% of This Game is Half Mental

Yogi Berra’s quote was about baseball. It really can apply to golf, too. The sport is different from most others in that the golfer alone initiates the shot. The game does not depend on the interaction of other players. There is also a lot of downtime in between shots which allows the player’s mind to enter into the game. Thoughts of past or future play can impact the golfer’s current round, preventing them from staying focused in the moment.

The mind can be dangerous when it comes to wrong thoughts. If a golfer remembers previous bad shots and what happened the last time they were in that situation, they may do the same thing in the present situation. If they think into the future, inevitably counting their score or focusing on making par or bogey on the next hole, they lose sight of the present.

 The only thing that really matters is the next shot. What happened in the past or could happen in the future is irrelevant.

Yogi Berra’s quote is equally relevant for salespeople. Sales is all about the mental game.

Sales Lesson – Stay in the Moment

In sales, it’s critical to stay in the moment. When a salesperson dwells on the past – thinking about the last time they were in a similar situation and what that prospect said or did, or when they think into the future – about the commission they are going to make, or how “they’ve got this one” and what they will tell their boss – they are skipping over the here and now. They’re no longer in the moment.

Sales Lesson – Focus on the Immediate

As with golf, the salesperson has a lot of time to listen to these internal thoughts rather than focus on the customer in front of them right now with their problems, thoughts, hopes, and aspirations.

When we get inside our own head too much, either in golf or in sales, we take our focus off the most important thing, which is external to our own head. In golf, it’s the next shot and where it needs to go. In sales, it’s our customers and where they need to go.

Sales Lesson – Practice a repeatable Routine

As golfers, we’re taught to establish a repeatable pre-shot routine. The idea is to train the brain to stay focused in the present by repeating something that doesn’t require thinking, thus closing the door on distracting thoughts. The physical component of the pre-shot routine helps re-establish muscle memory to execute the correct swing. If you’re not a golfer, just check out any televised tournament and you’ll see this in action with every player.

I would suggest the same need for a repeatable process in sales. Establish a pre-call routine and go through it before every call. Make sure to focus on the present, the customer right in front of you, and that customer’s attitudes, goals, and problems.

So … what mind tricks have you discovered to master your mental game and stay in the moment, focus on your immediate target and practice a repeatable pre-call routine?

Article thanks to Gretchen Gordon.

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