Drive for Show, Putt for Dough

My wife is a heck of a golfer. She’s the
poster child for the power of golf lessons and practice. About 10 years ago she
was a very average golfer, shooting between 100 and 110. After years of
lessons, practice and consistent play she’s transformed her game to the point
where she consistently shoots in the low 80s and occasionally the upper 70s.
Last year she had a pressure match and had the best round of the year. Her
pressure was playing 18 holes with rock legend Alice Cooper who happens to be a
scratch golfer. That day Cooper shot a 75 and Jane had a season best 78.
Needless to say, he was impressed!
There’s an old saying in golf – “Drive for
show, putt for dough.” Crushing a drive off of the tee is impressive but to be
a great golfer it comes down to play around the green, particularly putting.
That’s so because putting accounts for approximately 40%-50% of a golfer’s
score. For example, a par four hole may be anywhere from 400-475 yards. A good
golfer will reach the green in two shots then most likely take two more strokes
to putt the ball 20-30 feet into the hole.
Persuasion is a lot like putting. It doesn’t
seem like something that should take too much time or practice because it
usually comes at the end of a long process. However, when viewed as critical as
putting, it deserves a tremendous amount of time and attention.
Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human, cited a study where more than 7,000
businesspeople were asked how much of their time was spent in non-sales selling
(i.e., persuading). The answer was 40%! That’s right, apart from selling,
businesspeople estimate they spend 40% of their time, or 3.2 hours a day,
trying to persuade other people to do things.
If you spent 40% of your day (or more for
salespeople and leaders) engaged in a particular activity wouldn’t it make
sense to devote time and effort to improving in that area? Of course it would!
Great golfers spend an inordinate amount of
time on the putting green because tournaments are usually won and lost on
crucial putts. If your job requires you to sell, work with
others or work through others, then you’re like the pro golfer. You should be
working on your putting (persuading). 
  • Leaders – Whether you’re a supervisor, manager
    or senior level executive, your success depends on the performance of your
    team. Your ability to get them to buy into your vision and execute it
    enthusiastically is vital to your success.
  • Salespeople – Success for you culminates in a
    “Yes” from prospects and current clients. Understanding how to communicate in a
    way that makes “Yes” come easier and faster will impact your income via
    commissions earned.
  • Not in sales or management – Undoubtedly you
    still need assistance and cooperation. You may need coworkers, suppliers,
    vendors or even your boss to do certain things. Knowing how to ethically
    influence these groups can make your days much, much easier.
  • At home – Life is much nicer and pleasant at
    home when your spouse, roommates, children and neighbors more willingly go
    along with what you propose. 

Whether you’re looking for professional
success or personal happiness, I believe understanding how to ethically
persuade others will go a long way – longer than any drive off the tee – to
help you achieve that success and happiness.
Drive for show but persuade for dough!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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