How Golf Lessons Can Help Your Sales Career

Aug 15, 2022

When I was a lot younger, I was a pretty good tennis player.  Had a pro serve but a weak backhand. Before having children, a friend of mine and I used to play tennis several times a week.  Then one day, as we were starting off in our business careers, I got the brilliant idea that we should take up golf.  My thought was that golf would be good to develop business relationships. A lot of networking and sales leads can happen while on the course.  

Fast forward forty years later and I now have only begun to understand golf and its correlation to my career in sales.  Tennis and Golf have very similar attributes in that you are competing first with yourself and second against your opponent.  In either sport, your ultimate success is tied to your individual performance.

In sales, the same applies. You first compete with yourself, then your fellow salespeople for the top deal.  Any successful salesperson is competitive. It’s just in their nature.   

Recently, I subscribed to a golf app program called Imagine Golf. Each morning, I listen to a three-minute lesson, not about improving my technique, but about improving my mental state during a game. 

What I’ve quickly learned is that the psychology of being a successful golfer is the same psychology needed to become a successful salesperson.  Approaching a game of golf with the proper mental discipline is key to your success. Equally, the same applies to being a great salesperson.  Exercise practices in the app include focusing on one spot on the golf course, keeping your mind from wandering, recognizing the hazards that potentially could create challenges, and mentally seeing yourself hit the ball directly to that spot.  As a salesperson, one of our biggest obstacles to success is our inability to focus and concentrate on one thing.  We are naturally drawn to multitasking and have a difficult time focusing. Yet, without focus, you can easily waste time and miss that “shot to hit your spot.”

The ability to control your stress when something bad happens.  In golf and sales, things can go wrong very quickly and without notice.  You could be having a great golf game and all of sudden you lose control of your club and hit bad shots into bad places. Similarly, in sales, you could lose a client or have a bad thing happen that threatens your relationship with your client, all of which can create stress and harm your ability to succeed.  To avoid that, you need to remember that once something bad happens, you need to concentrate on making a new shot or in sales concentrate on moving on.  You must accept that bad things will happen and that you can always find ways to avoid falling into the trap of sinking.  This mentality is key to success in playing golf or selling. 

The ability to laugh and shake things off is also important.  Golf is a leisure sport and should bring you relaxation and peace, not heartache and stress. Equally in sales, sales will bring you excitement and competitiveness that keeps you going, yet failures can add up and derail you.  

Focus your mind on the fact that you are doing what you love and that bad things are going to happen. Accept that as part of the beauty of golf and sales, allow yourself to relax, change the direction of your mind, and focus on what matters most in that moment.

Image via Pexels

Written by: Hans Hansson

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Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,