This past Saturday night my wife Vicki and I were invited to the First-Tee Gala, part of the SAS Champions Tour Event. Both events were held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, NC, where our family lives.
The First-Tee put on a fantastic event with over 300 people in attendance. A handful of the Champions Tour members competing in the SAS championship were gracious enough to take time out of their schedule and join us for the evening.
PGA Champions Tour Players Mark Wiebe, Kirk Triplett, Kenny Perry, Craig Stadler, Tom Pernice Jr., & Hale Irwin all came up on stage and took questions from a few of the kids from the First-Tee. 5-year old Andy dressed in his old navy pants, plaid button down shirt, and cool red tie, confidently walked up to the stage, microphone in hand, and asked the first question.
Despite his 65-pound stature (and that’s after he ate his chicken fingers) Andy’s cute 5-year old vocal cords boomed over the PA system. Little Andy asked the panel of champion golfers, “What’s the best shot that you’ve ever hit?”
Up on the stage the tour players sat high on stools in a semi-circle looking out at the audience with little Andy up on stage with them. One by one the tour pro’s answered the question. Mark Weibe talked about his best shot, Kirk Triplett did the same and added in that it was high soft fading 2-iron into a back right pin, avoiding water just a few yards away from the “sucker pin” that allowed him to first earn his tour card and make a living on the PGA tour. Craig Stadler, aka “The Walrus” beautifully descried his cut punch shot from under a tree at TPC Sawgrass many years ago.
These guys all did a nice job. Hale Irwin went last and when he finished his story, he said to this cute little guy, “Andy, let me ask you, what was your best shot?”
Facing the 6 PGA Champions Tour legends, Andy slowly turned around, raised the microphone (which looked like it was too heavy for him to hold), looked up for a quick second, back down and then confidently made direct eye contact with what seemed like every member of the audience. Andy started talking and the words just flowed from this amazing little golfer…
“So it was a team event. I was playing with my fellow First-Tee participants. The match was all tied up and it was all up to me. We really (pronounced “weally”) wanted to win! My teammates all putted from the fringe of the green 60-feet away from the hole but couldn’t get it very close. The hill we were putting over made this shot tough. I wanted to chip it, they wanted me to putt it. I knew I had to chip it…
It was getting dark and there would be no time for a play-off because our mom’s were waiting to take us home and I have to take a bath (pronounced “baff”) before I go to bed. I took out my 9-iron chipped it over the slope and the ball started down towards the hole and I knew it was going to be a good shot.
The ball got right up to the lip (few second Pause…dang, Andy has us all on the edge of our seat waiting for the outcome) and it dropped in the center of the hole. We WON!”
The audience of over 300 went nuts! It was the loudest applause of the night and Andy raised his hand fist pumping as if he was reliving the moment all over again.
The six, multi-million dollar tour players were so blown away by Andy’a story-telling skills, that after the high-fives stopped, Kirk Triplett picked up Andy and sat him down in his seat as if to say, “I’m out of here, this kid can have my spot…he’s a rock star!”
Little Andy was indeed a rock star. He truly made his audience feel what he was feeling when he hit that shot. We felt as if we were right there on the edge of the green with him. The Tour Players did a fine job telling their stories, but the audience really was part of just one story that night. Andy’s eye contact, body language, tonality, and confidence – heck even his strategic pauses – had us all completely entertained.
I enjoyed a chat with Andy’s very proud parents after the event and they both said that they had never heard him speak like that before either. I joked that I wanted to hire him in 20 years! Andy didn’t seem interested until I told him I’d pay him in new Titleist golf balls because he was used to playing used balls he found in the lakes. “I like the neon-yellow ones the best, he said.”
The best communicators in the world understand that when you have an audience, you have a responsibly to entertain them. Facts & figures alone just don’t cut it.
If you’re in sales, the next time a prospect or client asks you a question or gives you an objection, don’t just try to answer the question or “be right” with a response. Consider first if the situation may be right for a story. Turn your prospect into a client with the power of stories!
You’ll move your audience, you’ll win more friends, and you’ll earn more business!
More about New Velocity: www.mynewvelocity.com
PS – If you’re interested in learning more about how to find, create and tell a stories with strategic intent (SWSI’s) to improve your sales, leadership, and persuasive skills, contact us and we’ll be glad to invite you as a guest to one of our webcasts covering this topic or even give you trial access to our virtual training platform where you can train and become certified on SWSI’s.