Building Credibility: How's Your Golf Swing? - Gene Moran

Looking to build your credibility?

When I was a teenager, I thought I learned to play golf. I had a few lessons at the municipal course and my father occasionally took me to the driving range or to play a 9-hole course. I could get around the course, but my game was never particularly pretty to watch. For those who play golf, most acknowledge it is tougher than it looks. Many never master the game, but enjoy the overall experience and settle for mediocre play and results. I loosely, and somewhat charitably, fit the category of what’s known in the golf community as a “high handicapper.” So do most amateur golfers.

Professional golfers, and amateurs who have mastered the game, often have two things in common. They learned the game well from a professional at their start, and they continue to engage with a coach regularly, sometimes daily or weekly.

I see a similar phenomenon in those attempting to sell their product or service to the federal government. There are clear categories of sellers: those who learned by on-the-job-training (OJT) or by trial and error, and those who have mastered the playing field and continue to use professional help. The government customer, agency official, or Congressional staff can instantly identify the category in which you fit. Are you needlessly giving away credibility by performing the steps incorrectly or with inappropriate timing?

Credibility Vs. The Amateur:

    • Swings from over the top. They are making a swing, but the form is incorrect. They don’t connect squarely with the ball.
      • Does your message look basically correct but fails to connect?
    • Positions their feet, then shifts weight incorrectly.
      • Do you respond appropriately when your idea faces serious scrutiny? Or do you begin to tap dance and massage your answer?
    • Swings hard with the arms to generate clubhead speed, resulting in an unbalanced finish and poor contact with the ball.
      • Do you spend more than 8-minutes making your points in a 30-minute meeting?
    • Wears all the right brands and logos on their clothing and gear, reflecting events they’ve attended.
      • Are you humble about why you are in front of the audience?
      • Does your audience feel like it’s about them and their responsibility or about you making your number?
      • Are you an empty suit?

It is often the case that those in business don’t make the effort to learn the real process into which they are selling. OJT or trial and error are expensive teachers. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Need help engaging with the federal government for policy or access to funding for your product? If you need help with this, schedule a call with Gene.

To get a copy of Gene Moran’s book Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring Circus of Federal Sales or for more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.