We’re in Michigan. Except for a few yahoos, not too many of us are playing golf. So in the spirit of wishing it were spring, I decided to create a piece on linking golf and the sales process. We’ll equate 18 holes of golf and the 18 steps it could take to create a sales process.
You know those flip books that PGA golfers get out of their back pocket every shot? I think they’re officially called yardage books. They provide a layout of each hole showing where the bunkers are located, how far to the water, which way the green slopes, etc. It got me thinking…What does sales put in their “yardage book”?
To me, golf and sales are very much the same. For starters, you have to practice your craft. There’s a good chance you have a coach. And in both cases, there is course management, which is where the yardage book comes into play.
Course management in golf is understanding what’s in front of you and knowing what shot to play. For those that don’t play golf, a golfer will prepare by understanding the makeup of the course, play certain shots a certain way because of weather conditions, or concede by playing a less aggressive shots at certain times.
Some of you reading this, may not agree. Stop reading then.
Let’s talk about the preparation to do well. A lot of golfers will go to the range before playing a round. I’m not referring to the majority of amateur golfers. The pros go to the range, then the putting green before going to the first tee. They mentally prepare for the round, practice their pre-shot routine, and practice certain shots required by that course among other things. They’ll remind themselves to be patient. Patience is important. If you play enough golf, you’ll hear, “Let the course come to you.” Same in sales. Ask questions. Listen. Listen more. Each course is like a different client. Let the deal come to you.
In sales, we prepare by doing our homework on the company and contacts. The weather elements in business are the way the prospect does business or manages their buying process; so we’ll ask questions or say certain things based on the conversation at hand. Just like a round of golf, it’s never exactly the same. That’s why we practice and prepare. Sometime we’ll be less assertive or aggressive because of the person we’re talking to. Each client is a different course. It’s all how you manage your process.
To stick with the golf theme, we’ll create a front nine of questions and topics. Now before we get into creating a process, let’s acknowledge that where the lead came from, may determine a different process. For example, the way you talk to a referral is probably a little different than when you cold call a company, right? And the number of meetings has an impact. We’ll get into that another time, but for now, let’s focus on the questions and steps that will help us create a sales process.
So we’re on the first tee…or we’re about to talk to a prospect…it starts with:
- How do you initiate a conversation with a prospect?
- How do you find out if it’s a good time to talk? And if they have enough time for you.
- How do deliver your elevator pitch? How do you describe your business to a new prospect?
- If a prospect is interested, which questions do you ask to determine whether your product or services are relevant in their world?
- If you determine there should be a next step, what do you say to the prospect?
- In assuming that the next step is another meeting, what should your prospect do on their end to prepare for that second meeting? And how do you ask them?
- How do you ask your prospect what they want from the next meeting and is there anything they would like you to do in between meetings? How do you find out what your “homework” is?
- What question do you ask to make sure the decision makers come to the next meeting?
- How do you discuss the goals of the next meeting? Essentially, how do you layout the agenda for the next meeting?
By answering these questions, there’s a good chance you’ve created a playbook to qualify your prospect. What we didn’t cover are the operational steps that are part of your sales process. You might have specific emails that go out after talking with the prospect for the first time…thank you, marketing collateral, whitepaper, etc.
It’s also possible that this line of thinking isn’t for your business or isn’t common for your sector or industry.
In part 2, we’ll cover the back nine, how to apply your process in your practice rounds, and reflect on those practice rounds and tournaments. One last thing…
Other reasons why they are the same:
- Talking to people you don’t like
P.S. Sign-up for TrackLeft to start building playbooks using steps 1 thru 9. Let us know if you have any questions.