If you’re reading this to get some tips on your swing, you’ll be disappointed. In fact, that’s the underlying theme of this article. I really enjoy golf, although I’m not great at it. They say that deals are made on the golf course, yet it seems to be falling out of favor lately in the sales community. This is likely due to budget cuts and cultural changes, but does golf still matter in sales? Yes, it absolutely does.
I only began golfing a few years ago. I am both a late and slow learner of this sport, but it is highly addicting. I’m not, however, advocating for the sport so much as I am positioning this as a selling strategy. Nor do I suggest that a salesperson spend 4 out of 5 days on the golf course (I recommend 1 game a week if you can manage it). But owners, managers, and salespeople should stop ignoring this powerful sales tool. Here are 5 perspectives on why you should get out your golf clubs, call up your prospects and clients and get them on the course.
Don’t worry if you’re not a great golfer – This was the biggest thing holding me back. I’ve come to terms that bogey for me is acceptable, I will make embarrassing swings in front of clients, and I will lose some golf balls. Guess what, so will your client. In fact, I’ve come to learn that most people I golf with are average at best. Just have fun and they will as well.
Invest in your clients – Golf is an investment without a doubt and can get costly, but good investments tend to be that way. I strongly recommend that this be added to the sales and marketing budget. This investment will pay the company back very well.
It builds relationships – I can’t say that a deal is made every time I go golfing, but relationships get stronger and opportunities are uncovered. It takes approximately 4 ½ hours to get through 18 holes. That is a lot of intimate time with someone and you’ll be surprised what you talk about during that time.
It uncovers opportunities – Yup, lots of stuff can be talked about in 4 ½ hours, and it should never be all business, but it will come up naturally. What’s even better is when someone you never met before is invited and you get to make a new relationship. I’ve started several business relationships this way and continue to do so as do many other golfing salespeople.
Pick up the bill – Here’s the rule; you invite, you pay. Simple. They are your guest and treat them as such. Please don’t be cheap either. Offer to pick up lunch or dinner as part of the game. Customers appreciate being courted and treated as important. No, this does not obligate them to increase their orders from you or do any business with you at all, but it is a huge step in the right direction.
Want to talk about golfing and sales? Then let’s go golfing. Send me a message if you’d like to do a couple of holes on the course with me. My treat, of course.