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The Mental Side of Sales and Leadership

I once read a quote supposedly by Jack Nicklaus: "Golf is 80 percent above the shoulders." As a bogey golfer, I have come to totally appreciate that comment. I asked Jim West, our Director of Golf, what his recommendation would be for a book or video on the mental side of golf. He quickly suggested The Golfer's Mind, Play To Play Great, by Dr. Bob Rotella. I found it on Barnes & Noble and four days later it arrived.  On the plane to Seattle Sunday morning I read about 75 percent of the book. It's an easy read with "ah ha's" throughout the book, with great ideas, practical suggestions and stories of his pro clients, including quips about the battles they face and philosophies they use to maintain their mental focus for 72 holes.

In reflecting on the Dr. Bob's recommendations, it is easy to translate the same thoughts to our world of sales and sales leadership. There are 29 short chapters in his book. The first chapter is:  "A Golfing Philosophy." What is your sales philosophy?  "If it isn't fun, it isn't selling" has been mine. The author describes the need to relax and enjoy the challenges golf brings, and the importance of controlling the mind at all times. In sales, we have peaks and valleys, successes and failures, as professionals. You must work to control your subconscious mind and not becoming distracted on the golf course or during a sales process.

"Goals and Dreams" is another chapter. Dr. Bob breaks down the reality of goals vs. dreams -- they are actually different elements to success. In my keynote, I speak to the concept of dreams andgoals and the fact there are no unrealistic dreams -- only unrealistic timelines.  In sales, we must  first set our dreams and define specific tactical goals that will help us achieve those dreams. "Setting your Target" is another chapter in which he describes clearly focusing on where you want the ball to land -- finding a very specific detailed spot, a tree, a 3 foot spot of fairway, the back of the hole, etc. -- before you putt and then letting the  relaxed body execute. Having a specific planned objective for every sales call becomes critical, and relaxing to reduce tension allows the professional to achieve meaningful conversations.

As professionals we must commit (another chapter) to excellence.  One important aspect is being mentally strong and prepared to win. What will you do this week to improve your professional success?  Buy the book for each person on you sales team? It will improve your golf game as well.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 24, 2010