Whatever You Say

Golf salespeople are the some of the best in retail. They are smooth. They think they can sell you just about anything. Because they do.

I noticed this when I set out to find a new driver. The salesperson disappeared into the storeroom and brought back the biggest driver I’d ever seen- 58 inches. Most drivers are around 46 inches. I told him I don’t need a driver that is 58 inches long. He said this was the most exciting new driver on the market. He said with this driver I would be able to drive the ball 350 yards. I said if I could drive the ball 350 yards I wouldn’t be in a golf store talking to him. I would be on the golf tour making big money and getting massages from my Swedish caddie named Helga.

The problem is that to use a 58 inch driver you would have to be nine feet tall. I’m 5′- 10". I need a 46 inch driver like a normal person. Swinging a driver that is a FOOT longer than normal would be like wearing shoes with 12 inch heels. You’d walk around like you were the fifth member of KISS.

He said "Oh, you just need to slow down your back swing." I told him that to swing a 58 inch driver I would have to swing so slow they would call me for slow play.

One of the basic characteristics of a good golf salesperson is the ability to agree with anything you say. In addition to a driver I wanted to examine different pitching wedges. The salesperson gave me two to try. I stepped up to the demo area where you can smack balls into a net.

I hit both wedges and then held the second one and said, "This one is a little bit heavier than the first one."

He said, "Yes, a heavier club is the way to go because it helps you get out of the rough better."

I tried the lighter club a few more times.

"I think I like the lighter one better."

He did not flinch as he responded, "Yes, a lighter club is the way to go because you can get more club head speed with the lighter club."

I could have just as easily have said, "I like clubs that are colored green."

"Yes, a green club is the way to go because they blend into the surroundings."

He changed his point of view based on the last thing I said. The beauty of it was the total conviction in his voice even if he contradicted something he just said.

It’s like when you watch football on TV. The announcers always act like they knew what was going to happen AS IT HAPPENS. For example, if Michigan is ahead of Ohio State they’ll say, "we said in the pregame that this Michigan team CAME TO PLAY". Then after Ohio State takes the lead in the closing minutes of the game they act like they knew it was going to turn out like that. They say, "we said you cannot give up on this Ohio State team. Their trademark is to come back in the closing minutes. THEY NEVER GIVE UP."

Often a golf salesperson has limited golf knowledge. But, they know a lot of golf terminology- just enough to agree with anything you say to move the merchandise out the door. For example, I asked, "What is perimeter weighted technology?"

"Well, perimeter weighting is used to help you stay prone on the back swing and get the club on an inside path. When released, this allows the lower body to come through the ball which will keep the club on plane, allowing you to swing naturally and hit 10 to 15 yards further." In other words he has no clue.

The most important thing is that he has an answer. Any answer. Just as long as it sounds plausible to every question the customer might have. The golf salesperson consults his own inner database and formulates his response based on what sounds like the best answer to the question. You ask about graphite shafts and he fills in the blanks from several choices. It is the mix and match answer method:

You: How will these graphite shafts help me?

Salesperson: These clubs are made using the ______________(forged/ triplefired/ hotbaked) technology. The shaft has the exclusive ______________(kick flex/ rifle/ thickbutt) design. This allows you to swing easy and still achieve maximum____________(trajectory/ gear effect/ stopping power).

You: Huh?

About Joe Ditzel

Joe Ditzel is a keynote speaker, humor writer, and really bad golfer. You can reach him via email at [email protected] as well as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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