What can Jean Van de Velde teach salespeople about emotional discipline?
I had lunch the other day with the Regional President of a very successful company. He has a long history of success as a salesperson, sales manager and business leader. He is also a golfer. In his words he is a “volatile” golfer. He sometimes loses his temper on the golf course. It got me thinking about the similarities between salespeople and golfers. Those that execute emotional discipline in both categories tend to fare better. For example:
Salespeople, who stay emotionally disciplined, generally focus on the information they need so outcomes are better.
Golfers, who stay emotionally disciplined, tend to focus on executing the next golf shot so outcomes are better.
Salespeople, who lose emotional control, tend to lose control of the sales conversation.
Golfers, who lose emotional control, tend to lose control of their score.
Salespeople, who have a hard time staying emotionally disciplined, have a hard time staying in the moment with the prospect and tend to make false assumptions. They assume they know why the prospect just asked a certain question so they fail to remain inquisitive and tend to miss out on the real story going on behind the scenes. They fail to develop a deep intimate relationship with the prospect and, therefore the prospect doesn’t view them as valuable.
Golfers who have a hard time staying emotionally disciplined, have a hard time staying in the moment and their mind sees all sorts of outcomes which causes them to lose focus on executing the next shot. They see themselves holding the trophy so they get too emotionally amped up and then fail to execute. Or they see their ball slicing into the pond, so it does and they lose the match.
When our salespeople let their mind wander and fail to stay in the moment they are just like so many golfers out there who think about the “what ifs” instead of the here and now. Don’t let your salespeople become Jean Van de Velde, known for the 2nd biggest choke in golf when he lost the 1999 British Open Championship with a 3-shot lead going into 18. He was trying to become the first Frenchman to win since 1907. Do you think his emotions were out of control? I will discuss Jason Dufner and his emotional control during the 2013 PGA Championship next time.
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