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A Shark, A Tiger and a Birdie – Oh My!


I had dozens of different jobs as a kid, as I detailed in this blog post, including the summer I spent as a 16-year old caddying at a golf course on weekdays and doing maintenance at a tennis club on weekends.

It was hard, manual labor for a scrawny teenager, having to carry a heavy golf bag around an entire golf course all day in the heat of summer. And the pay was pure tips. Many days about half of us who showed up bright and early at the course didn’t get picked to work that day, and headed home after a few fruitless hours of waiting — with zero cash in our pockets.

Caddying at a local golf course is back-breaking, low-paying work.

Caddying for a professional golfer, however, can be fun, exciting and extremely financially rewarding.

Especially if you “catch a Big Fish” and become the regular caddy for a star player (pro tour caddies usually receive a small salary of $1,000 or $1,500 per week, plus commissions). According to Wikipedia: “A common pay scale is 5% for making the cut, 7% for a top 10, and 10% for a win.”

There can be no disputing the fact that the world’s top caddy right now is New Zealander Steve Williams. Williams caddied for his first pro golfer at the age of 13, and is believed to have earned over $12,000,000 so far in his career. He has caddied for several of the world’s best golfers, including Greg “The Shark” Norman (1988-1989) and Eldrick “Tiger” Woods (1999-2011). He currently caddies for Adam Scott, who just this past Sunday sank a birdie putt on the second sudden-death hole to win the most prestigious tournament in all of golf, The Masters.

You could say that Williams has “caught a Big Fish” several times in his career. You could also say that golfers who have hired Williams to be their caddy have “caught a Big Fish” as well.

Over those four days last week, for example, a 10% commission for Williams would mean that he earned the tidy sum of $144,000. (That’s almost two-and-a-half times the $60,480 he would have earned had Scott finished in second place. No wonder Williams was jumping for joy when that final putt dropped into the cup.)

What’s that you say? “Good for him — but I’m not a professional golf caddy. What’s all of this got to do with me?”

I’m glad you asked.

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you have a choice: You can plod along, going after “average” customers, clients or patients (or just taking whatever business comes along), or you can choose to do everything you can to attract and secure clients who can make a major difference in your success. Those are what I call “Big Fish.”

This is the fifth in a seven-part series where I’m teaching you how to catch your own Big Fish. That’s something you can choose to do just one time, or, like golf caddy Steve Williams has done, over and over again.

Two weeks ago, I taught you how to make a positive impression during your all-important first contact with your prospective Big Fish. Today, I’m going to teach you how to assign the right salesperson to each of your prospective Big Fish.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile the personalities of your salespeople
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish

There are essentially three different selling personalities:

I. The Sage

This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort and trust. He or she knows how to make a concerned customer feel at ease. In order to be successful, he or she needs to be armed with plenty of information, a demo of the product or service, excellent references and illustrative case studies, if possible.

II. The Pal

As the name implies, this is a salesperson who excels at building relationships. He or she can instantly relate to your prospective clients and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients who are looking for friendship and information and are in a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can mean anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, make sure your “Pal” salesperson always keeps things professional and dignified.

The resources this personality type needs are: help being paired with the right client, an adequate entertainment/schmoozing budget and the right information to help the client believe your solution can meet their needs.

III. The Pit Bull

Obviously, salespeople with this personality trait are a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to a lot of people, there are plenty of business people out there that want this type of straight-forward, no-nonsense approach, and respect someone who can get right down to business. These salespeople will need to be trusted with a little authority, as they will likely be closing plenty of deals right on the spot. they will need plenty of resources and access to products and services, and are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion and seal deals quickly.

Each of these three types of salesperson can be successful when used in the right selling environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson to each prospective client can secure more Big Fish for your company — and for a longer period of time.

If you need help figuring out which of your salespeople fit into these three areas, take advantage of my FREE test drive of The World’s Most Powerful Client Attraction Program Ever Created to get the support and help you need with this strategy, plus dozens more:


6 Responses to A Shark, A Tiger and a Birdie – Oh My!

  1. Phil Brakefield Reply

    April 17, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Steve, great post.

    On a personal level, I never analyzed my own sales traits brought to bear with clients. I just instinctively acted/reacted with potential or established customers and fortunately, was successful more often than not. For me, I seem to be equal parts Sage and Pal, but (especially as I grow older) can become a Pit Bull of frightening proportion…albeit AFTER the business relationship has been forged. (As the woman who has worked for me for over twenty years has voiced MANY times, “Phil, you can be stubborn to the point of stupidity!”) My arguments that integrity can easily be taken for being stubborn fall on deaf ears.

    I suspect you would agree that at any given point, a salesperson would be well-served to have elements of all three traits in his/her DNA, but there is probably one trait dominant that should be matched to the client at the inception of the sales process.

    Thanks for making me THINK about what works for me in sales endeavors.

    Soooooo, Steve, you wanna buy a watch that has been recognized as the best in the world, ol’ Buddy? If not, you are stupid for passing up the opportunity! 🙂

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      April 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

      You get it, Phil.

      Top salespeople can “turn on” whatever style they need in order to deal with every different situation and client. This is especially important when selling to a Big Fish that has multiple layers and decision-makers in the process.

      The more someone sells and studies top salespeople, the better chance one has of becoming a top salesperson his or herself.

      Glad to hear you value your integrity so highly, Phil, and that you recognize where your strengths and weaknesses are.

  2. Ace Reply

    April 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Steve, as always you hit the nail on the head.
    As a top-performing salesperson, each of us has a certain area that we gravitate towards…
    But the best are both thieves and chameleons.
    I remember when I once asked the yet-as-undiscovered top salesperson in our office (after being directed to the entirely wrong person, I might add), “What do you put in your presentation book?”

    The answer-

    “I have no idea, but it’s over there somewhere if you want to look at it. I never use it.”
    I took a lot of your, I mean, “That guy’s” ideas and modified them to fit my style and personality to unheard of levels of success.
    I find that, especially at the higher levels you need to be very different with different levels of the organization- Schmoozy-friendly with the lower levels, all business with the higher-ups.

    More great advice that should be followed by all.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      April 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks, Ace. Those were some crazy and fun times we had dealing with all the corporate B.S. at my one-and-only foray into working for a “big, dumb company,” weren’t they?

      The good news is that even though we had to put up with a ton of corporate politics, foot-dragging, general-not-getting-it and other nonsense on the inside, we were actually able to help a lot of business owners improve their marketing and thus their incomes and lifestyles once we were able to consult with our clients.

  3. David T Fagan Reply

    April 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Al Pacino doesn’t audition.

    Al Pacino is an Icon in his industry and if you want to offer him a role then you offer him a role and he says yes or no. It’s that simple. He has earned that right.

    I have built my career and my businesses like around that philosophy. The more successful we are, the more accomplishments we have, and the more social proof (awards, testimonials, endorsements, etc) the more we don’t really have to sell all that hard.

    When I speak on stage or write a book that’s my job interview and job application. I work hard to earn the right to not really have to overly audition for work.

    Dan Kennedy is the same.

    My approach is laid back and friendly as I let my accomplishments speak for themselves.

    Hope this answers the question and helps.

    PS I thought this might be too intense and bold of an answer but then I remembered I’m talking to Steve Sipress the most in your face guy I know, he can take it.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      April 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      I love it, David! You’re 100% correct that no answer could be too intense or bold for me!

      I hope I didn’t imply anywhere in this post that one should waste their time, energy or money “auditioning” or “doing proposals” or any other such nonsense.

      As you pointed out, top performers don’t do that. Not Al Pacino, not Steve Williams (word is that Tiger Woods hired him within minutes of first meeting him), not David T. Fagan, and not me.

      I hope that’s the same for all of my readers.

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