Trending This Week: Tackling a Tough Course

With the U.S. Open underway at Erin Hills, we tee up sales tips for conquering a challenging course through preparation and perseverance.

June 16, 2017

  • golfer

For golf fans, this is a sacred holiday weekend. The U.S. Open is underway. Many of us will spend Saturday and Sunday lounging on the couch, listening to the sweet music of drivers smashing balls followed by politely subdued applause.

This year, the tournament visits Wisconsin for the first time, with intense action playing out just north of Milwaukee at Erin Hills. This course is considered a punishing one, with distances described as ridiculously long and deep roughs that brutally penalize errant drives.

U.S. Open courses always tend to be tricky, but Erin Hills presents an unusually vexing proposition for newbies and seasoned veterans alike. In assessing how top golfers tackle these laborious links, we can draw out a few sales tips that apply to anyone facing a tough task, whether you’re just teeing up a deal or looking to close it out with a long putt.

How does someone like Dustin Johnson or Jordan Spieth overcome Erin Hills and walk away with the big purse? There are two underlying characteristics that define any U.S. Open champion as well as almost any elite seller: preparation and perseverance.

Mapping Out Your Course

A golfer knows well in advance where any major championship is going to be played, giving him ample opportunity to do his research. This is particularly important with a setting like Erin Hills, which lacks the universal familiarity of a Pebble Beach or Pinehurst.

Practice rounds are invaluable. Spieth credits arriving early and acclimating to the speedy greens with aiding his victory in 2015 at Chambers Bay.

But there are plenty of other ways to gain a deeper understanding of the challenge that lies ahead. Talking to others who have played through the course in the past is a critical preparatory step. These players can provide deep insights that you might never glean from a cursory round or two. Which clubs will provide a sneaky edge on certain holes? Which bunkers and traps should be avoided at all costs? How to adapt in the event of treacherous winds?

Similarly, salespeople can equip themselves for a daunting deal by getting a lay of the land beforehand. Utilize the vast resources at your disposal to research a prospect and his or her industry well ahead of the first meeting. Prep yourself for questions likely to arise, and have responses at the ready. View social profiles to learn about areas of interest and professional concentration. Check for any mutual connections, then reach out to those individuals for details that might prove helpful in developing a strong early rapport.

There is no feeling quite like a hole in one. But much like a breezy closed sale requiring almost no effort on your end, such instances are exceedingly rare. Most often, you will need to deliver on a tough chip shot or navigate an uneven green to sink a 15-foot putt. Knowing the ins and outs of the course ahead of time will provide a crucial advantage, especially when you run into the unexpected.

Overcoming Adversity

One of the great tales of determination in U.S. Open history came in 2008, when Tiger Woods further solidified his legend by beating out Rocco Mediate in a sudden death playoff to claim his 14th major title.

Fresh off arthroscopic surgery and battling through a variety of ailments that included chronic cartilage issues, a damaged knee ligament, and two stress fractures in his leg (unrevealed at the time), Woods fought his way through five rounds and then some. At times, he limped. At times, he winced in obvious pain. There were setbacks, double-bogeys, and moments of doubt. But at the end of the day, he came away with the win.

This is but one of many stories illustrating the vital importance of persevering through turmoil in pursuit of the ultimate prize. Golf is a game that tests the will of anyone who participates. Selling is no different.

Those who give up when the going gets tough are surely letting winnable deals slip away. Sometimes, an especially arduous sale requires a level of tenacity and spunk that separates qualifiers from finalists. If you feel it slipping away, get creative and find ways to return to the fairway. Maintain fortitude and allow things to play out, recognizing what you can control and what you cannot.

As nine-time major champion Gary Player once said, “A good golfer has the determination to win and the patience to wait for the breaks.”

The breaks will come. Especially if you set yourself up for them.

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