August 15, 2016

Sales & Golf: The Strategy Behind the Game

When I started playing golf at six years old, I never would have thought it was a game built on strategy.  Growing up, I thought golf was all about who could keep their head down and hit the ball the farthest. I was very wrong.

I thought the same principle applied to sales: Of course there isn’t strategy in sales. It’s all about calling on as many people as possible and seeing how many conversations come from it. Once again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both sales and golf are tied to strategy and execution of that strategy. 

Golf is a game that requires careful planning and attention. Golfers have to worry about how hard the wind is blowing, from what direction, and which club is best for each shot based on these external factors. Golf is played on a different golf course almost every single round. If the game is being played on an unfamiliar course, a golfer may not realize the value of hitting an iron off the tee instead of aggressively hitting the ball with a driver in attempt to get it to a higher-risk area. When I’ve played a golf course several times, I start to feel comfortable and shoot the scores I know I am capable of. I’ve learned how each green slopes and developed a strategy that works best for each hole.

The same applies with sales: the first time reaching out to contacts, similar to the first time playing a golf course, will be a learning experience. After having multiple conversations with HR professionals, commercial leaders, and C-level executives, I am able to begin adjusting my strategy in order to cater to a specific audience. The conversation starter I use depends on which contact within an organization I am speaking to, just as which club I use depends on the specifics of a hole.

The final thing I have learned from both golf and sales is that sometimes there’s a great strategy and it is executed flawlessly, but the results still are not what was expected. Time, effort, and careful thought can be put in, but sometimes the results just don’t rise to the surface.

Both are competitive and strategic. When you love what you do, the process and planning can be just as exciting as the end result. 

Tags: sales & marketing, sports

Drew Thompson

Drew is a Business Development Associate at TSP, supporting the sales team with creation of target strategy , prospective client outreach, and development of new client relationships. Outside of work, Drew enjoys spending time with his family, watching any sporting event, and playing golf. A graduate of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, he studied Business Administration and Sports Administration

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