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Prospecting is Like Golf
Do you play golf? Well if you ever have, you may have experienced what an incredibly frustrating and hard game it is. Strangely though it is the fact that it is hard that makes it so addictive to so many people. Ask any golfer and they will remember that one beautiful shot they hit. It’s that one great shot (out of on average 100 other poor to average ones that keeps people coming back).
My experience is that prospecting is like golf in this way. It’s very hard (and often frustrating). But that one sale you make is like that one beautiful golf shot. It feels really great. There’s something about the thrill of that one “yes” in amongst those 100 “no’s” that is addictive — to me at least. It keeps me coming back.
Be Positive but Set Obtainable Goals
Now one of the things I notice about many golfers is that they are overly optimistic. They remember that one good shot and they suddenly think all their shots will be like that. It’s not realistic. We are not all “Tiger”. If you understand what really happens with your average golf shot, you actually end up playing better golf. Don’t plan to hit a 250-yard drive when you average 180 yards. Some of playing better golf is about understanding the actual way you play not the way you dream the world should be. You should feel good when you drive the ball 190 yards (and really good if that happens to be a straight shot).
Similarly in prospecting, we sales people get sucked into a fantasy of thinking every call we make is going to be a sale. Sure having a positive attitude is great thing but setting yourself unrealistic goals will not keep you feeling positive (“stretch goals” are good but not crazy goals). Unrealistic goal setting will tear you down quickly. If in your normal prospecting campaigns you make one sale for every 100 calls, you should feel great if you make 50 calls and make a sale — you are way ahead of your average. Feel great about that!
Go into your prospecting campaigns knowing how they really work — not how they might work for “the world’s greatest sales person with the world’s greatest product” (aka Tiger Woods of sales – if there is such a fellow).
If you adopt a positive attitude based on reasonable goals and commend yourself every time you beat your average, I believe you will find prospecting more fun. You’ll know what the “par” is for the tough course you are playing and you should pat-yourself-on-the-back every time you “hit a fairway” or sink a “four foot putt”.
PS Apologies to all non-golfers: from my experience skiing works as a decent analogy here too or anything else that takes buckets of skill and practice to master…