11 Famous Golf Quotes to Improve Your Sales Game

11 Famous Golf Quotes to Improve your Sales Game

In movies, sales is the ideal career for anyone who would rather play golf. However, Forbes notes 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf. Also, CEOs who regularly play golf earn 17 percent more. Most of all, however, 80 percent of executives say playing golf establishes business relationships.

Perhaps therein lies the connection. Afterall, sales and golf have much in common. The more you practice, the more there is to learn. And like golf, salespeople keep score and track metrics and KPIs. 

But most importantly, sales is about relationships. And a round of golf is the perfect environment. It’s certainly better than a stuffy boardroom. In golf, we bond over an interest. We walk and talk, compete and collaborate. With that, let’s examine how some famous golf quotes can improve your sales game. 

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.”
Ben Hogan

Sales Meaning: In sales, a “one call, one client” approach is best. This means, no matter where you are in the sales process, focus on your prospect or client. This includes: 

  • Preparing notes 
  • Eliminating distractions 
  • Offering value 

Notes include information from your research, such as data about their industry. This provides essential talking points to guide conversation and build rapport. It’s vital to show clients your investment in them and their needs.   

On calls, distraction manifests in a myriad of ways. These include notification dings, glancing at one’s watch, zoning out. Also, thinking about another client or your tee time means you’re not present. Always note your body language. Whether in-person or virtual, maintain eye contact. Sit up straight.  

In sales, every interaction should provide value based on the stage of the process. This includes presenting content, insights, or solutions. Relate these to this specific client at this specific time. 

Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.
Arnold Palmer

Sales Meaning: Selling requires confidence and hunger. Some call it a drive to succeed. Whatever you call it, concentration is key. 

In golf, we set our stance, firm our grip, and focus on the target. In sales, concentration starts with preparation. This includes: 

  • Knowing the players 
  • Understanding their problem 
  • Evaluating your competition 
  • Differentiating your solutions 

In addition to who’s who in a deal, know their buying personas. Understanding their drives and motivations arms sellers with the confidence to fulfill their clients’ needs. 

As each deal is different, let experience guide customization. Leverage your experience to tailor specific solutions to address multiple needs. 

When sellers understand their competition, they can better differentiate their solutions. Let honest assessment highlight your solutions and provide additional value.  

I never learned anything from a match that I won.
Bobby Jones

Sales Meaning: Losing a sale is an opportunity to grow. You often question everything you said and did. This self-assessment is key to improving sales outcomes. For sellers, this includes: 

  • Reflecting on past deals 
  • Understanding why a deal was won or lost 
  • Asking what you could’ve done differently 

In a win/loss analysis, organizations examine why they won or lost a deal. In addition to these essential performance reviews, top salespeople should conduct their own internal evaluations. What did you do? What did you say? What would you do differently? 

This sort of sales postmortem is not always easy. It requires honesty. However, it’s critical for growth and turning yesterday’s loss into tomorrow’s win.

A good golfer has the determination to win and the patience to wait for the breaks.
Gary Player

Sales Meaning: Patience is not often associated with selling. After all, time is money. But rushing to agreement, failing to gain consensus, or lowering your price leaves money on the table. There are profits in patience. This starts with not rushing the close and should include: 

  • Aligning decision makers 
  • Gaining consensus 
  • Confirming agreements 

In complex sales, there is often more than one decision maker. Top sellers note their individual needs and seek common ground. 

There will always be skeptics and holdouts. However, as your note objections, stress common goals. A singular solution might not be perfect, but a suite can do the trick. 

Always confirm, reiterate, and ask questions. Never move forward without ensuring agreement.  

Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.
Jack Nicklaus

Sales Meaning: When Jack Nicklaus values continuous learning, sellers should take note. As professionals, we should all strive to improve. This includes: 

  • Coachability 
  • Continuous learning 
  • Sales training 

All sellers, no matter their rank or title, should remain coachable. Regardless of how many deals one’s closed or how much they bring in, there’s room to grow. This marks a real pro.  

In golf and sales, you’re only as great as your last best shot. Top performers know learning never ends. Being the best starts by beating your own best score. 

Sales training should never be a mundane required task. Top sellers embrace training. If it’s good enough for Jack, it’s good enough for you. 

Every shot counts. The three-foot putt is as important as the 300-yard drive.
Henry Cotton

Sales Meaning: Dreaming big is nice. But every deal can’t be a million dollars. Instead, sellers must maximize every engagement. This starts with: 

  • Thinking each prospect/client counts 
  • Prioritizing customer service  
  • Recognizing opportunity 

Salespeople who only think of million-dollar accounts are selfish. Selling isn’t about you. It’s about the client.  

More than big deals, selling is solving problems, meeting needs, and helping people. When this is your priority, you’re doing it right.  

Satisfied customers are the best reward. However, see the forest through the trees. Seek new ways to help. Keep an eye on opportunities. Today’s mom-and-pop could be next year’s chain.

If you focus only on the target, you’ll play darn good golf.”
Dr. Bob Rotella

Sales Meaning: In sales, you can’t control the economy. You also can’t control outcomes or results. You can control your actions, your process, and your goals. This starts with one’s: 

  • Mindset 
  • Attitude 
  • Behavior 

The client’s needs are paramount. But they’re out of your control. You can control your approach, dedication, and actions. The heart of selling is doing in service of the client. 

If you believe you can and will help this client, the client will follow. If you are a trusted advisor, they will see you as one. If you trust yourself, they will trust you. 

Regularly, check in, remember the client’s birthday, and post insights on social media. Always follow up. Clients may not remember what you said. They will remember what you do.

The greatest thing about tomorrow is I will be better than I am today.”
Tiger Woods

Sales Meaning: Even if we are the Tiger Woods of sales, we can improve. Over time, a little improvement yields big results. Don’t look for big gains. Instead, do something each day, such as: 

  • Read a sales book 
  • Listen to a podcast 
  • Follow a mentor  
  • Practice something from coaching or training 

Golf is 90 percent inspiration and 10 percent perspiration.”
Johnny Miller

Sales Meaning: Playing golf, the amount of time spent hitting the ball is limited. That is the perspiration. The rest is preparation. In sales, traveling, training, and coffee breaks are all non-sales activities. How you handle these either builds momentum or cuts into opportunity creation.

Forget your opponents. Always play against par.”
Sam Snead

Sales Meaning: In sales, your goals should be the guiding force behind your actions, not your opponents. Giving too much mental focus to your opponents can create sales anxiety. This does not mean ignoring your competitors. Do your research and know the market. But if you are obsessed with your opponents, you are not focused on customers. 

Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.”
David Forgan

Sales Meaning: No seller plans to fail. All want to succeed. But those who struggle often don’t know how to achieve. Like golf, selling is a series of repeatable best practices. It follows the laws of cause and effect. At Janek, we’ve dedicated ourselves to teaching the science of sales. Without knowing this, sellers can exhaust themselves and their prospects.   

In Conclusion

You don’t need to be a PGA golfer to recognize the similarities between golf and sales. The focus, drive, and mindset to succeed on the course help salespeople improve. If you want to be the best, you need to train and work. In both golf and sales, there’s no maintenance. You are either getting better or falling behind. 

Editor’s Note: This article, first published in April 2022, was revised to improve its clarity and relevance.


Forbes. Golfers Make Better Business Executives. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristidosh/2016/05/16/golfers-make-better-business-executives/

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