The Mental Side of Sales and Leadership

August 23rd, 2010

The Mental Side of Sales and Leadership

 I read a quote once supposedly by Jack Nicklaus: “golf is 80% above the shoulders” and as a bogey golfer I have come to totally appreciate that comment and admittedly it is a problem for me.  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 ¾ of the book. It’s an easy read with “ah ha’s” throughout the book, with great idea’s, practical suggestions and stories of his client’s of t he Pro’s we see on TV and 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 mind. 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-feeding positives, 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 and goals and the fact there are no unrealistic dreams, only unrealistic timelines.  In sales we must set our dreams, and then specific tactical goals that will help us achieve the dreams. Setting your Target is another chapter, in this work 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 before you putt and then letting the  relax body execute. Having a specific planned objective for every sales call becomes critical and then relaxing to reduce tension allows the professional to achieve meaningful conversations.

As you can see there are so many common elements between sales and golf, other chapters: Planning for Success, Trust, Practicing to Play Great, Setbacks, and Building Rhythm of the Game to simply name a few more… What’s the bottom line?

As professionals we must commit (another chapter) to excellence and 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.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

Acumen Mgmt. provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 


This entry was posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 9:30 am and is filed under Keynote Programs, Sales Kick Off Meeting, sales leadership, Sales Leadership Training, Sales Management, Sales Management Consulting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “The Mental Side of Sales and Leadership”

  1. Robert Rospond Says:

    Nice blog this week, Ken,
    I joined up with Ron Anderson at Allegro-BI and starting today. But please allow me to chime-in on golf. I know Nicklaus’ statement but entirely disagree.
    Golf is a game I play rather well. My secret is I keep my head OUT of the game and stick to the mechanics. In sales I do similar. My prospect has a challenge, I think about it, then I present the solution. Maybe this works only for me, but I try to keep things simple and easy. That’s perhaps why I have a 7 handicap.
    It’s not rocket-science playing golf. It just requires focus and execution. Same as sales. “Get Your Head Straight” is a term I use frequently in both golf and sales. My policy is not to make it complicated. Understand the challenge, then exeute the solution.

    Perhaps you might find this helpful.

    My best,
    Bob Rospond

    3728 N Campbell Rd
    Las Vegas, NV 89129-7029
    702.453.6161 o
    702.324.7837 c