Friday, October 5, 2018

"Golf" is a Four-Letter Word

There is an old joke that asks: Why did they name the game “golf”?

Because all of the other four letter words were taken.

If you listen to a frustrated golfer, there are other words they use to express their emotions that could have been used as the game’s name. Rarely does a golfer miss a putt and yell, “Golf!”

Similarly, while called “sales people,” the reality is that the best of us don’t actually think of what we do as “selling.” The concept of “selling” has with it a connotation of convincing someone to buy something they don’t really need. Yes, someone may be successful at that, once, but the purchaser will soon realize they don’t need it and won’t work with that salesperson again.

For me, the goal is not to “sell” to a client, but to turn the client into a “buyer” of my firm’s services once they recognize the value of the solution we are proposing. That requires more than “selling.” I have to ask questions, listen, understand the nuances of the client’s challenges (maybe even more than they do themselves), make suggestions and listen some more. When I suggest a potential path forward, I want the client to trust me that I will do all I can to make them successful in this engagement so they ask for my help. They become a buyer.

Though “sales” may not be the ideal word for what so many of us do, I guess, like golf, we’re stuck with the word. It would be difficult and confusing, instead of telling people I am in “sales,” to say I am in “buys.”