Golf is not a frilly sport or a waste of time leisure activity. It’s really a place where business gets done.
Dave and I have joined forces to do what we can to help golf survive these hard economic times. Our efforts are towards helping all of golf and golfers with a strong focus on the middle section of the golf economy which is held up by the Business Golfer.
So to spearhead our efforts we have developed some basic laws Business Golfers need to follow for everyone to win.
1. Pick Business Golfers Wisely
You want to play business golf with decision-makers, not the company’s top golfers who can shoot the lowest scores. The purpose of playing golf is to get to know the person who influences the decisions that benefit your business. This may not be the CEO..it could be the Shipping and Receiver manager. You may have to play business golf with the sales people first, but stay focused with getting to play golf with the business owners.
2. Don’t Hold back or start loading the Sandbag
Do you play to win, or not to win. The answer is: play to your ability, fair and square. Learn the personality of your partner and determine how intense he or she is about the game. If you decide to play a match, use the REAL handicap system to establish even ground. Make the strokes given or taken are REAL and not arbitrary or changed after the first three holes. An intentional "lose of the round" can be insulting to a potential client. But a flagrant sandbagging can be even worse.
3. Be Patient
Don’t discuss business during the round. Period! Like golf itself, you’re in this for the long haul so make it clear at the beginning of the round business will be talked afterwards. Too many times, the business talk and what is discussed will cause a distraction in the focused of playing golf and enjoying the round. Studies show that only 15% of the rounds of golf where business is discussed during the round actually produce a positive reflection on the person who started the conversation or actually produced a sale. Most discussion of business during a round of golf end in a bad after golf experience.
4. Keep the Pace
Par is less important than pace of play. A six hour round of golf is not a "six-hour sales call". If you are setting 6 hours of business time aside for this round of business golf, make the two hours after the round the business part and the four hours to play the round part of the evaluation of each others personalities.
5. Be Personable
The Golden Rule is to do better unto others more than they would do unto you. Make sure the day is enjoyable for all and treat everyone as they want to be treated. Pay attention to the business golfer’s personality. If they are solemn and serious, act accordingly. The same goes if they are fun going laugh a minute. Remember: the course maybe for golf, but you’re still performing. Just as you get to see them in an casual setting, they get to see you too. Be the cordial host the entire day.
6. No Drinking
Leave the drinking for your weekend outings with your buddies. This is business golf you are playing. Drinking can lead to problems and shows a lack of respect to the purpose of the round. Having a few too many on the golf course could end a business relationship before it gets started. Have a cocktail in moderation afterwards but don’t make the drinking the focus of the after round talk.
7. Keep the End in Mind
Before the round, think about what you hope to get out of the day, outlining your goals and how you plan to meet them. It’s a vital component to business golf and as much a key to good performance as a pre-shot routine.
8. Think of the Follow-Up
Don’t feel like you have to have everything wrapped up by the end of the round. Sign your scorecard before you worry about signing a deal. Your first priority is making sure your playing partner has fun. Spare the formalities, unless they’re called for. Always send a thank you letter afterwards. The privilege you created from the round of business golf was the honor of being able to make a following up business visit.
If you hold close these simples Laws of Business Golf each time you play golf for business you will find you are making more solid business relationships and as a result, doing more business.
Let us know how we can help.
If you are a golfer, a business person interested in learning how to use golf in business or a professional golfer needing to find ways to develop more business, then the Business Golf Country Club is the club to join.