As a business owner or sales leader, being able to play golf gives you a serious opportunity to talk business, build relationships, and close deals. The type of relationship-building you do on the golf course allows you to get to know your client or customer on a personal level, and really connect with them. Maybe you don’t close a deal during that round, that day, or even that month, and that’s ok.
The art of doing business on the golf course is a long game but is a great way to build up a client relationship and be more successful in the long run.
Here are our top 3 tips for networking and relationship building out on the golf course to help you win new business and maintain awesome client relationships!
Focus on Building Relationships First
The worst way to approach a professional relationship on the golf course is to make it all about money. Above all else, you want to make a good impression and be a real human being. This is why our most important tip is to focus on building relationships first. When you have an opportunity to take a new or existing client out like this, get to know them and understand them on a personal level and find that common ground. Being friendly like this is a great approach to get to know a client. Can you talk shop? Of course! Just don’t make it all about business, or you likely won’t get a callback.
Practice the Right Golf Etiquette
If you’re out with a client on the golf course, they’ll notice a lot about you and how you operate. Make sure you observe proper golf etiquette to give them a good impression of you that will transcend your time golf course. It’s important to know the basics; fix your ball marks, mark your golf ball on the green, don’t step on your playing partners’ putting line, etc. If you’re not sure what to do in a certain situation, just ask! Golfers are happy to share their knowledge with you but want their game to be respected. Understanding the rules goes a long way on the golf course when you’re out with a client.
This is an important one, and this is another action your client will notice, which is your honesty on the course. You need to be honest with your scores and your actions. If you lost your ball, it’s a cardinal sin to drop one and say you’ve found it. When your ball is in a bad lie, you can’t move it. If you have a tree in your way, don’t move the ball. Staying honest and counting all of your strokes is something that people notice and judge on the golf course. If you cut corners, your prospective client will be turned off immediately. Keeping honest and playing fair will pay dividends for you and your relationship.
Doing business on the golf course isn’t a new concept by any means. Business has been hand in hand with golf for decades and will be for many more. No matter your skill level on the course, you can go out there with clients and build relationships outside the office. Make sure you keep it about building relationships first and foremost. While you’re playing, stay honest with your score and keep good etiquette on the course. Following these tips will allow you to win business and build lifelong relationships.
Brandon runs a golf website called Fairway Approach, focused on helping golfers take a smarter approach to golf by offering game improvement guides and equipment reviews. He’s been playing amateur golf for over 15 years and is originally from Syracuse, NY. During the day he’s a Recruitment Leader within the financial industry managing client and candidate relationships on a daily basis.