I can't help but compare Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to selling. Tiger Woods came in second place at the Tour Championship, yet walked away with $10 million as the FedEx Cup champion and $800,000 for his second-place finish. Phil Mickelson walked away with $3 million for the FedEx Cup and $1.35 million for winning the tournament. The comment by Phil was "Let me get this straight. I shoot a 65 and win $1.3 million and Tiger shoots a 70 and wins $10 million?" That's right. Tiger was consistent over time. Phil had a great day.

How many Tigers do you have in your organization? How many Phil’s? How many struggle to make the cut?

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Tiger was consistent throughout the playoffs and throughout the year. Phil was not. Tiger Woods, the consummate in consistency, work ethic, and diligence, plus a lot of skill, stays the course. He works golf as a process, continues to get coaching, and continues to come in usually first or second, and always within the top 10. On the other hand, Phil Mickelson has a ton of skill, but not overly diligent in his work ethic, and just within the past two years has embraced coaching. Tiger produces every time he plays. Phil has moments of greatness, and then ends up down in the pack at other times. In all fairness to Phil he did have personal problems this year. However, over the long run he's just not that consistent yet Tiger is.

Think about your salespeople, (or yourself, if you're a salesperson). Does your salesperson, or you, close the sale, 7/10 times, or do they score big every once in a while? Which would you rather have? What are you willing to invest, if anything, to get it?

Selling is a process and like golf, it requires training, practice, coaching, and reinforcement. Unlike golf, there is no reward for a second or lower place, which makes selling effectiveness even more critical.

The process of selling may sound simple -- prospecting, presenting, addressing objections, and closing. However each of these is as complex as driving, hitting long irons, pitching, chipping and putting -- and for those of you tried it, you know just how complex it is. The big difference between professional golfer and professional salespeople is that in golf every person that makes money was trained and practiced long and hard before he or she made a time. Most salespeople learn to sell on the job and unlike golfers, rarely get on-going coaching.

So consider these:
• Which of your salespeople are Tigers? Which are Phils?
• Are you satisfied with each of their performances?
• Do you have a selling process that can be managed to and structured to make both salespeople and sales managers accountable?
• Have your people, or you, been trained to sell effectively or were they "experienced" when you hire them?
• Do you have an on-going coaching program?
• Are you willing to invest to improve your sales team?

Success is not an accident. There are many golfers with the talent of a Tiger or Phil that can not get on any money Tour. In addition to having skill, Tiger and Phil work extremely hard to stay where they are. They train, practice, pursue coaching and compete aggressively. Likewise, your salespeople, or you, must do the same to be successful in selling -- train, practice, pursued coaching and learn to compete aggressively.

And now I invite you to learn more.

Bonus Tip: Free Book – “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$”– The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling - hardback version. Network, get past gatekeepers, interact with leaders and top executives, secure commitments and sell more than you ever thought possible. Click this C-Level Selling Book Link to learn more about this fantastic offer.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is an expert sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, a book that gets C-Level and other influential decision-makers to meet with you and return voicemails. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate tons of quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Sign-Up for Sam’s FREE Advanced Sales Training Tips and Articles at http://www.clevelselling.com