by Becky Morris
Golf is a game that I love to hate yet can’t help loving. For some unexplained reason, I joined a league this year. It was an opportunity to reconnect with some previous co-workers and get me out on the course at least once a week. There is a wide range of ages and experience in my golf league, but all of the women are very enjoyable to be around and it gives us an opportunity to visit while trying to hone our skills.
One particular lady on our league is affectionately called “Aunt Beck”, who just happens to be 90 years old. You will see her on the golf course three times a week, which by itself is amazing to me. Though I had seen her every week, there had never been an opportunity to be in her foursome until a couple of weeks ago. I relished that opportunity and, in my true nature, took advantage of the 2+ hours I was in a golf cart with her to find out what it must be like to have lived 90 years.
Following is the first of several articles to come about the lessons I learned in my two-hour “course” of observation and conversation with Aunt Beck.
Lesson #1 – Don’t always go for the long ball.
I really love golf and I love watching golf on TV. The professionals make it look so easy. They stand up to the tee and crank that ball and it sails somewhere between 250-300 yards. It is easy to see this from someone who makes it look so easy and think, “heck, I can do that”. I usually forget that, perhaps, these pro golfers have spent most of their winter lifting weights, taking swings and conditioning their body to allow such a performance.
Though not a professional, Aunt Beck approaches the tee in much the same manner. She lines up, doesn’t take a practice swing, hits the ball and while it doesn’t go far, it does go straight. Interesting…Every time I approach the ball on the tee box, I am trying to hammer that thing as far as possible. When I manage to hit it long, it goes to the right – not my desired result. I am then hitting out of tall grass without a direct shot to the green, and my score grows with each swing of the club.
As I continued to watch Aunt Beck’s approach to the game I began realizing a longer shot is not always the best shot. There was value in her shorter straight shots – great value in comparison to my results. Oh trust me, I have golfed with some people who can hit the ball for miles, but in the end, there is not a significant difference in our scores because they haven’t mastered the short game. Of course, Aunt Beck has a good short game, so straight shots off the tee usually lead to low scores.
So what about my sales game?
When I think of my sales goal for the year I determine a number that I would like to achieve. With that number determined I make appointments and begin meeting with people. I have a long range goal with a target date for success that is measurable. It seems to have all of the defining criteria of a WAY SMART goal (Written, Aligned, Yours, Specific, Achievable, Realistically high, Time-dated). However, I am missing HUGE steps if I do not identify all of the obstacles and break my goal plan down to action steps. One of those obstacles can be unreasonable expectations about each appointment – the equivalent of trying to hit long balls with every tee shot.
To develop an effective plan to achieve my goal I answer questions like this:
- How many appointments do I need to have a week to make steady progress toward my goal?
- How will I get those appointments?
- What will happen if by June I am not at least half way to my goal?
- What is the purpose and intended outcomes from those appointments?
- How will I stay motivated?
- Who will I be accountable to?
- How will I measure my activity and its effectiveness?
- Do I really know what I need to do to hit my sales goal?
Staying out of the rough
There is a lot of green to cover to make par on a 450-yard golf hole. I have a lot of time to cover to reach my annual sales goal. Aunt Beck meets and exceeds her goals by breaking her game into steady, consistent performance and by hitting straight each time. That’s how she reached the wise old age of 90; that’s how she wins in golf.
If I’m going to reach my goals of getting the ball into the cup on fewer strokes, or of hitting my revenue goal in fewer months, the same rules apply:
- approach the tee with confidence (understand and practice the Buying/Selling Process)
- take one shot at a time (take my appointments one at a time)
- hit straight (measure my key activities)
- know the results I want and how to get them before I approach the ball (have my annual revenue goal in mind, as well WHY I want to reach my goal and WHAT I need to reach it.)
Thanks, Aunt Beck.