The Dirt Blogs
Welcome to The Dirt Blogs, where staff, members, and guests contribute their wisdom.
Growing up I wasn’t what you would call rich or poor. My family provided food on the table and had enough money to take small vacations and buy a few luxuries. However, by the standards of the town I lived in, we were considered poor by everyone else.
The affluence of the town I lived in afforded many great golf courses. Frequenting the local public course I would occasionally see Danny Edwards, Gil Morgan, and even Bob Tway belt a few on the driving range.
Golf would eventually springboard me out of the lower class in to the upper class via relationships made on the course.
My first high paying executive job came from a member at the country club I worked at as an assistant pro.
Countless other times I have made new contacts that have turned out very prosperous for my companies and ultimately me.
Golf isn’t a leisure sport, but rather a very powerful business tool. I’ve witnessed friendships, business deals, and camaraderie build after four measly hours. Bonds formed during golf are stronger and last longer than any convention intro you will receive.
You should view golf with potential business partners to be a sales call of sorts.
To get ahead in the business world, you need golf more than you need LinkedIn. In fact, once you connect with the golfers in your industry, you can expect greater things to follow.
So what are the best ways to connect with golfers who can help you professionally?
1. Find the Proper Partners
Connecting with the proper golf partners is essential to improving your business. After all, if you aren’t connecting with decision makers, or those who whisper suggestions to decision makers, you’re just golfing. Golfing isn’t bad in itself, but connecting with the proper people will elevate your bank balance.
2. Keep It Classy Planet Earth
Borrowing a line from one of my favorite movies, The Anchorman sums it up. Be gracious, polite, calm, and friendly. No one will want to do business with a hot head tossing his clubs and four letter words around. If your natural tendency is to get angry after a bad shot and behave like John Daly, you will only hurt yourself beyond repair. Your partners will tell everyone in your industry about your poor behavior. So clean up the language and attitude Ron Burgundy.
3. Don’t Make It all About Business
Another movie, another famous line, “Greed is Good.” Gecko finally ended up in prison too. Don’t come on like a hard pressed salesman pitching the entire 4 to 6 hours. This is a huge turn off to anyone and they will hate the rest of the round. Relax and let things happen naturally. There are no set in stone rules on when to sell, but I would suggest a soft sell of YOU. People like doing business with those they like. They do business with their friends. What you are trying to create is not a sale, but a BOND.
I would go so far as to say not to say anything about your product unless you are asked. But even then, keep it light and easy and don’t try and close them out on the course.
4. Take an Interest in Your Playing Partners Personal Lives
During the round is a strategic time to learn about your playing partners. Do they have kids? Do they like high powered European sport sedans? Are they single?
Ask questions, but not too personal. You are getting to know them. After the round, take notes and write all the things you learned about them in a notebook. Put these notes in your contacts information.
Business golf is about studying your partners, learning their personalities, their likes and dislikes. It’s a time to connect with them on a personal level. Connecting in this way and being genuinely interested in them will help you in future business dealings.
Dale Carnegie in his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” suggests taking a sincere interest in people. When you do, people view you differently. More importantly, this will ultimately help you financially. If you haven’t read Dale’s book and are in business, you need to grab a copy and read it!
5. Don’t Get Wasted On The Course
Drinking has its place but it’s not during a business golf outing. A beer is fine but limit it at that. We all know YOU act like an ass when you’ve had too many! So let’s exhibit some self control here. Oh that’s right, you don’t remember that time you got wasted and ran downtown naked?
We saw enough of you being an ass that night, let’s not do a repeat.
6. Setup Another Round
As I mentioned above, there is no reason to force a sale during the round of golf. Follow up with them in a few days and ask them how their family is. You did take notes didn’t you? If not, read step 4 again. Again, we are here to build a relationship, not be a high pressure car salesman.
Christian Henning, NASM-CPT, gfs