Practice Makes Perfect! Just Ask The Pros… Unexpected Sales Lessons From The US Open Says Chuck Gallagher

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Preparing to enter Long Island University on a golf scholarship, my son suggested that we volunteer at the US Open so he could get a taste of what a major tournament was like. “Pretty creative,” I thought. So we signed up and not long thereafter we were headed to New York for what turned out to be an interesting learning experience.

One the second day of the practice round I began to notice something that started me thinking. It seemed that there were two types of professional golfers. One group (of course professionals – as they were at the US Open) seemed to enjoy the crowd. They were the ones who took the time to sign autographs and chat with the spectators. Sure they practiced, but their minds seemed to be more on the folks around, the adoration they received and the 19th hole, than it was in the game.

The second group – well – they were different. They were hard to catch up to and seemed to be aloof – to ignore the crowd. They were focused and intense. In fact, one was Tiger Woods. Each hole of the practice round he studied intensely and, of course, a crowd followed hoping to get a nod or autograph of the great – Tiger. But no, Tiger didn’t see them. To him the crowd was the same as trees…just something there but of no consequence.

I’ll never forget one man who broke away from the crowd in disgust saying, “That Tiger, he’s just an… (well I won’t mention the words he used, but they weren’t nice).

O.K. Chuck – nice little golf story, but how does that relate to sales? Ahhh….good question.

Well, the first group of golfers were good, at least good enough to play or attempt to make the cut. However, they weren’t and never will be the best or real contenders to win. They are in it for the show, for the endorsements, but they are committed to win – they didn’t take the time to truly practice.

On the other hand, that select group that focused on true practice – the ones who generally ignored the crowd – they were the ones to watch, cause they were the ones who truly had a chance at winning.

It’s much like that in sales. The sales person who goes to training, makes the cut and sells, will do alright. Likely, however, they will never be the best. They won’t be the ones getting the annual reward for top achiever. They’ll just make a basic living selling something from time to time.

On the other hand, the top performers understand that in order to be the best you have to be sharp – you have to be at the top of your game to win. Practice does make perfect. When Tiger Woods steps up to receive his reward for winning a major tournament, it isn’t because of his natural abilities, it’s the result of lots of practice.

Are you taking the time out daily to practice – to hone your selling skills so that when the time comes to present you’ll be ready to close the sale?

Most people don’t or won’t take the time out to practice – to prepare – will you?

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