You step up to the 5th tee box which is appropriately a long par 5. The lush, striped fairway teases you from ahead while your feet below are separated by a bubbly creek. The long hole is lined with colorful trees and does about a 60 degree dogleg left at about a 190 yards out. The safe play is an iron shot and then transition to your most trusty fairway wood.
Usually you’d reach for your iron, but you’re feeling spunky today.
For a moment, you free yourself from years of golf lessons and you just decide to grip-it and rip-it right over the colorful tree line.
With a repositioning of your stance and a mighty swing, the ball explodes off the head of the driver and carries over the trees like it has wings and will never land. These are the type of shots that keep you coming back to this frustrating game.
As you approach your ball you’re delighted to see that you’re dead center of the fairway. It’s not every day you’re hitting a long iron at the green on your second shot of a par 5.
You grab your 4 iron and try to keep out the negative thoughts busy yelling, “Don’t screw up the best drive of your life!” You take a deep breath, find your center, and let your body do the rest.
The impact feels smooth, and as you look up, you see your ball flying dead center towards the dance floor. With a couple of pleasant bounces, your ball rolls right onto the green.
Holy Guac! You’re putting for eagle!
You’ve got plenty of time to think about the putt as the rest of your foursome takes extra strokes to join you on the green.
You’re about 50 feet out from the cup and you’ve done all the things you would never do on a double bogey putt. You’ve removed that tiny twig, you’ve read your line from multiple angles, and you finally feel ready for the putt.
Your heart beat quickens a half pace as you approach your ball. Your friends haven’t said a word to you on the green and it’s peacefully quiet.
You relax your grip and let the muscle memory take over. Your ball begins to roll and has the perfect line as it breaks towards the hole.
Your once quiet friends are yelling like High School cheerleaders in support of your cause.
You start to walk towards the hole as you can visualize the ball dropping, and then it happens.
The ball slows up right before the hole and is 2 inches short of your first eagle in a very… very… long time. A birdie has never felt so bad.
Your desired outcome was you sinking that 50 foot putt for eagle.
The reality is that you came within inches on that 50 foot putt but had to settle for birdie.
The desired outcome (making that eagle putt) becomes what is known as a counterfactual. That is the alternative reality that you now judge your current situation against.
In this case, the counterfactual creates a high amount of regret and what if’s.
If I only gave it a little bit more… If the ball hadn’t bounced a little bit and lost some speed… If that green played a little bit faster… If they hadn’t just aerated the greens I would’ve made it…
The fact you missed the putt by a few inches instead of 10 feet actually intensifies the regret you experience. This is because the closer we come to a desirable outcome without achieving it, the higher the amount of regret you feel.
When you miss a putt by 10 feet, the regret isn’t nearly as devastating as missing it by a hair.
This is true in other instances as well.
You experience more regret when you miss your flight by two minutes compared to two hours. You’re left thinking about how close you came and all of the things you could’ve done to make your flight.
Let’s add another layer to your par 5 story.
Jimmy was one of the golfers in your foursome. He played the hole tactfully and on his third shot landed an arching wedge within six feet of the pin. Jimmy was able to able sink the more manageable putt and marked a birdie on the scorecard.
At the 6th tee box, Jimmy is left feeling happy while you’re still thinking about the 50 foot putt.
The reality is that both of you scored a very respectful birdie on the hole. You just had two different stories of how you got there with two very different emotional outcomes.
It really comes down to expectations and execution. Jimmy created reasonable expectations and set himself up for a makable putt. In your story, expectations are sky high (crush this drive, smash this 4 iron, sink this 50 foot putt) and the end result is a disappointing birdie.
Now, think of your business. You can deliver the same service to two different customers, yet have them left feeling very different with the end result. The question is how do you create more birdie love and less eagle regret?
You can start by creating a persona (or a customer avatar). This will help put yourself in the customers shoes. What is their name, buying style, and possible objections?
Then, you want to build a story around that persona that delivers an experience worth smiling about while approaching the 6th tee box.
Here is a free resource to accomplish this… it’s called a Buyer Legend.
A Buyer Legend is a clever yet simple tool you use to build stories around your customer. These are Taylor Made for increasing your customer satisfaction and improving your sales conversion. The Buyer Legend helps you proactively find the weak spots in your current process so you can improve the process and experience for your customer overall.