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A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.

GolferStuff happens in golf and sales. You can shank it, hit into all the traps, and miss every green but that one sweet under-par hole can change the game for you. Just like that one sweet sale can change your outlook on sales.

The same can be said for salespeople and sales leads. Salespeople have to be taught to play through when all of the hot leads turn cold; when the prospect says, “Call me,” and then disappears for weeks; and when a sure-fire-guaranteed client says, “We love your proposal,” and then doesn’t return your calls (and you were stupid enough to brag about the “done deal” to the sales manager).

A friend of mine, Phil Nasser said, “The most important 5 inches in golf are the ones between your ears (not that short putt).”

This is true for all of us in our sales and lead management roles. Our perceptions, expectations and approach dictate the outcomes we receive equally as much as does the situation in which we find ourselves.

I have a client who says he never quits…anything. When met with rejection or is rebuffed in any of his business dealings (or other life situations), he just finds another way to make it work. He knows in advance that he may be required to “flex” and come up with other, creative solutions. He builds this into his approach.  Thomas Edison said he didn't view failure as failure, but rather as “learning one way that won’t work.” Cleaning up our perceptions, setting proper expectations and being flexible in our approach are game-winners for us all.

Playing “client golf” teaches great business lessons as well. Instead of concentrating on your game, you focus on the client. This requires you to: help him with your course knowledge (assuming you’ve played the course before; follow the flight of his ball; go into the woods to get his ball if necessary; defer to him whenever necessary; help line up his putts; run to get his sandwich and beer…just generally look after him and take care of his needs. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in business?

Good thoughts Phil. And this translates into what we are supposed to do for prospects. A sales rep can’t give up on the follow-up. The winner is the one with the best, more persistent follow-through.

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