Main Article—How Strong Is Your Game?

Published on June 30, 2007

Lanny Bassham won a gold medal in shooting at the 1976 Summer Olympics.  Now,  golfers are flocking to him for help!  What in the world can a rifle shooter who has never played golf and does not have a degree in psychology offer professional golfers?  He offers them the ability to strengthen their game.

One’s game does not only involve skills.  It involves the mental aspect of handling all the issues that pop up during the game.  In involves your reactions to these issues and how you move forward.

After failing himself at the 1972 Olympics, Bassham interviewed several Olympians and started collecting data on the strategies they used to win. His major observation was the champions were not focused on outcomes; they were focused on the execution of the process.  For those of you have heard me speak, you are probably thinking this goes against my belief that sales people have to be outcome oriented.  Not at all!  You need know the outcomes you are after and be dedicated towards achieving them.  Once you have them identified, the emphasis must be on the process and execution.  If you have no strategy and if you don’t execute, you probably will not achieve the outcomes you are after.

According to Bassham, the key to execution in golf is concentrating on each hole, one stroke at a time.  Have your mind stay in balance and focus on the process and strategy of how you are going to address the next shot, not your score.  By focusing on your score, other things start creeping into your mind and before you know it, you start swinging too hard, you take your eye off the ball and probably start doing all the things you know you should not be doing.  By focusing on the process and keeping your mental game strong, you tend to improve your performance significantly.  The reason Bassham is becoming a cult figure among professional golfers is the fact that after working with Bassham, they have all seen significant improvement which has led to championships and higher rankings.

So how do you apply this to sales?  After you have figured out the outcomes your customer is after and the outcomes that are desirable to you, how well do you focus on the execution?  Below are 7 scenarios.  See if you can relate to them and ask yourself how well you would handle them and execute the process of making the sale.

  1. Customer says they are not interested:  Are you focused on the prospect of losing the sale and you start blabbering about all the reasons he should be interested; or do you find out why he is not interested?
  2. Customer throws you an objection:  Is there fear of a possible loss resulting in your telling the customer why the objection isn’t valid; or do you find out what is behind the objection?
  3. Customer wants a lower price:  Are you focused on closing the deal just to get the deal; or do you restate and enhance your value proposition to get the “right” price?
  4. Customer says he likes your competition better:  Do you focus in trying to outsell your competitor on features; or do you find out what is missing for the customer and provide a solution they are not currently getting?
  5. Customer says he has no need:  Do you focus on selling your features to get your outcome, the sale; or do you find out what where your customer is going and the challenges they are facing which will open up new opportunities for you?
  6. Customer is angry because of failed expectations:  Do you concentrate on explaining to your customer how it wasn’t your fault; or do you find out on a scale of 0-10 where you customer’s satisfaction is, where he wants it to be and what you need to do to reach his satisfaction level?
  7. Customer is not returning your voice mail or e-mail:  Are focused on getting the appointment and leave another voice mail with your name, phone number and request for a meeting ; or do you leave a voice mail with your request and the outcomes  they can expect from meeting with you.

The above scenarios are very common, yet only a represent a fraction of the situations a sales executive will likely run into over the course of his career.  The bottom line is:  Asking questions, listening and the ability to negotiate are all critical skills one needs to excel in.  Equally, if not more important, is your mental game.   How do you respond to the actions of the customer and your market?   Identify the results you are after, but then shift your concentration to execution and process.  The key to flawless execution is taking it one step at a time and always remembering the customer comes first.   Their perception is what counts and your actions better be good enough to handle the task at hand.  You cannot do this if you are always thinking about the score.  It will only force you to work harder, listen less and fall short of relating to the customer.

There is one guarantee in sales:  Exceed the expectations of your customer every step of the way and the desired results will appear!

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