so much can go wrongThis fall, while playing a round of golf and taking in the fabulous foliage in the Northeast, it hit me how much golf is like sales. You have your “mantra” or mental checklist to follow ¾ your grip, your stance, your swing and follow-through, and for Pete’s sake keep your head down. And with so many moving parts, so much can go wrong. But if you have your mind in the game, so much can go right, too. It’s the same in sales.

In golf:

  • There’s a great deal to think about – your grip, your swing, club selection, good and bad lies, etc. – as you go from the tee to the green
  • You need to anticipate anything that can go wrong so you don’t get blindsided
  • Golf lessons can be like drinking from a fire hose, so your take-aways must be focused on the areas with which you need the most help – your “golf mantra” as you stand over the ball to hit it
  • You have to plan for and visualize the outcome – where you want to be and how you’ll get there
  • Your golf instructor is there to help you see the forest through the trees and provide insights that may not be so obvious when you’re in the weeds – literally!

In sales:

  • There are many steps in the sales process to go through, from finding the right lead to closing the deal
  • A million things can go wrong and you need to anticipate obstacles so you don’t get blindsided
  • Sales training can be like drinking from a fire hose, so your take-aways have to be focused on the areas with which you need the most help
  • You must plan for and visualize the outcome – where you want to be and how you’ll get there
  • A coach (i.e. your sales manager) can help you see the forest through the trees and provide insights that may not be as obvious when you’re “in the weeds”

Here are a few tips to manage those moving parts:

  1. Focus on what’s important and anticipate potential roadblocks, since so much can go wrong
  2. Plan for and visualize the outcome of the deal and for every call/meeting that gets you there
  3. If you’re in the weeds, get the insights you need from your sales manager to guide you
  4. And, when the weather gets cool, you can always go to warm parts of the world so you can continue to hit that little round ball to your heart’s content

So hopefully you can see why golf is like sales. It’s a journey through a process, riddled with so many moving parts, obstacles and challenges. It begs for you to visualize and nurture the best outcome, and to anticipate problems and solve them before the game gets away from you. Do you agree? For those of you who play golf, go out and play a round with this in mind, and see if the golf-sales analogy resonates with you!


Janice MarsJanice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter