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What Small Businesses can Learn from The Masters Golf

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It’s that time of year when the sun comes out and golfers across the world dust off their clubs and start their annual quest to improve their handicap. We’ve also just seen the first major of the year and armchair golfers were glued to their tv screens watching Jordan Spieth’s triumph.

But what has that got to do with business development? And what can small businesses learn from The Masters? On the surface, it seems an absurd reference but there are quite a lot of things SME’s can learn.


Do you think that the top sports performers just turn up and play? That’s unlikely to be an effective approach. They typically spend significant amounts of time preparing for a tournament. That could be fitness training. It could be learning about the course. That might include playing similar courses to become more accustomed to the conditions. A top player gets to know the course and its challenges. They make sure they are properly prepared.

How do you prepare your business for growth? What steps have you taken? Have you assessed market conditions for your service or product? What do you know about the particular requirements of your marketplace? Do you know where you might struggle to compete and what you can do to compensate for that?


Tournament preparation will inevitably include practice rounds. Time on the driving range is essential.  Top sportspeople spend years going over and over their technique and approach. Success doesn’t happen by chance. They refine where necessary. They make sure they do what’s right and continue to do it that way while it’s working. But they also make changes to correct their swing or putting technique if things aren’t progressing the way they’d like.

What are you doing in terms of practice? Have you refined your approach to lead generation? Are you consistent with the methods you use? Or do you chop and change? How have you developed your approach?  And have you tweaked where necessary to get it right?

Have the best tools for the job

A bad workman blames his tools or so it’s said. That may be true for elite performance but perhaps it’s less valid lower down the scale. However, in terms of lead generation, it’s certainly the case. What marketing tools are you using to deliver growth? What are the most appropriate methods for reaching your potential prospects? Where do they hang out? What do they respond to? What support mechanisms are you using? A top golfer uses a caddy that knows the course and knows his game. Who or what are you using to support your efforts?

If a top golfer selects the wrong club, he’ll overshoot or the ball won’t reach the green. It’s no different with sales. If you aren’t using the right tools for the job, you won’t reach your target audience and put your business in a position to win. So, work out where your customers hang out and use methods of marketing with which they’re most likely to engage.

Overcoming failures

Sports history is littered with comebacks alongside failures. They are surprising results all the time. There are inevitably top players and top teams that win more than they lose. In golf, it’s rare that one person will totally dominate and win every tournament. That’s even true for the greats like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. They’ve had their bad rounds and bad days. It’s the same in most sports. Generally, there is more than one competitor or team that can claim success.

Players at every level experience losing sequences that seem like they will never end. In business too, we need to deal with and learn to overcome failure. In telemarketing and lead generation, on any given day, you’ll most likely hear more objections and hit more roadblocks than successes. Fewer telemarketing calls will result in an opportunity than those where you don’t achieve a positive result. But it’s how you handle these that’s key. You only need a few successes to deliver the results you need. Deliver more of these than your closest competitor and you will be top of the leaderboard and grow your business.

Maintaining Focus

Jordan Spieth’s did not lose focus from the first tee to the last. He came under pressure when it got to 3 shots between him and his closest rival. He must have had his own demons at such a young age. But regardless of the challenges, his focus was clear and he held his nerve. Is your business development focus clear? Are you clear on your objectives and the path to achieving these? There is lots of pressure with which we have to deal in every working day. So, how do you deal with that? How much time do you devote to new business development and is your focus on generating opportunities every day? What can you do to ensure that everyday distractions don’t push you off course and reduce the likelihood of you taking the prize?

Maintain a positive attitude

We talked earlier about overcoming failures and objections. There’s an old Henry Ford saying that is ‘“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Winners aren’t negative. Good things come to those that remain positive. That’s the same in business as it is in sport. People don’t buy from people they don’t trust and like. It’s like a magnet. If you exude positive energy, it’s more likely that you will generate more new business and keep your clients longer.


Success isn’t down to luck. We emphasized the importance of practice earlier. But practicing the wrong techniques won’t help. Every successful performer needs guidance as to what works best. Refining those techniques is vital. That may mean coaching and training. Whatever field you’re in, it’s important to perfect the approach whether that’s sales skills, skills on how to build rapport, objection handling, closing, or some other method of winning more business. Success is dependent on the application of the right techniques. Jordan Spieth did that to perfection.

If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business or book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.


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