“If you are a golf fan, you may have watched the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament this past Sunday. Sean O’Hair entered the final day of the tournament with a five stroke lead, but in the final round, O’Hair was teamed with Tiger Woods. Do I need to say more?
In typical Tiger fashion, O’Hair appeared to be sufficiently intimidated by the very presence of Woods that he made mistake after mistake until the five stroke lead vanished and Woods made a difficult putt on the 18th hole to win the tournament. Don’t get me wrong, Woods is a powerhouse. He is the toughest man on the course, which is how he stands up to so much pressure without bending, pressure that few athletes can withstand. In the end, though, O’Hair simply couldn’t close the deal.
In the sales world, we might say that he had a great product, made a killer presentation and came into the final negotiation with a substantial lead, but simply could not get the customer to sign the PO. He got beat out by a tougher, better prepared competitor.
What is the source of mental toughness? In the case of Tiger, his father is given much of the credit for making Tiger tough. He put him through rigorous practice sessions under the most adverse of conditions, which convinced Tiger that he could overcome insurmountable odds to win.
Controversial basketball coach Bobby Knight said this about preparation: “The will to practice is more important than the will to win.”
In golfing circles there is an expression that has made its way around the Internet. Hank Haney used this expression when he accepted the challenge to help Charles Barkley change his golf swing. Haney told Barkley, “You need a Tiger Day.”
A Tiger Day is a day that goes something like this: a grueling physical workout, nine holes of golf, hitting a few hundred golf balls on the practice range, a healthy lunch, nine more holes of golf, hitting a few hundred more golf balls on the practice range and finishing up the day with an hour or so of practice on the putting green. Tiger takes his profession very seriously.
As salespeople, we must take our profession just as seriously if we expect to consistently win the order. Woods “closes the deal” because of his skill at the game of golf, but when you add his willingness to practice shot after shot, his physical conditioning and his mental toughness, he’s difficult to beat. Salespeople can be just as difficult to beat, but to be a superstar at sales, you have to make preparation a priority. How effective are you at closing the sale? How hard do you work at preparing yourself for the questions and obstacles you are likely to face during the final negotiation?
Zig Ziglar used to ask this question: “How much commission do you earn on a sale that you just barely missed versus a sale that you just barely made?” The answer is easy. Just barely miss a sale equals no commission. Just barely make a sale equals full commission.
Salespeople who wish to improve the percentage of sales they are able to close must invest in two critical elements: education and practice. When you have prepared yourself to answer even the most challenging questions and overcome even the most difficult obstacles, you will close more sales. That’s a fact.
When you can recognize a negotiating technique before your prospect gets it out of his mouth, and you are prepared with the best possible response, you’ll feel a level of confidence that will enable you to beat out even your toughest competitor.”
So practice and education create success. No matter your job, no matter your current pay or rank, go HAVE A TIGER DAY!