Spring into Golf Season and Grow Your Business

Golf NetworkingWith the warm spring weather around the corner, I am looking forward to getting back on the golf course, both for business and pleasure.

Golf for business isn’t a recreational activity; it is a business development tool. Participating in organized outings, such as a Chamber of Commerce, business organization or nonprofit, can be good for growing your business and marketing yourself. An outing is a way to get quality one-on-one time with someone you’d really like to do business with or meet.

At an outing you are spending a quality four hours or so with three others and it is a great time to get to know them a bit better, both in their business endeavors and personally. This almost one-on-one time should be spent developing a relationship with the person, not selling a deal.

When golfing in an outing, choose you golfing partners wisely; ask whomever is arranging the outing to pair you with someone you are looking to meet and do business with.

Remember this is a business event, so pick up the signals from your partners to set the tone for the day, especially if you are courting clients. Let them decide about pace and level of play; their comfort is more important than yours, especially if you would like to develop a relationship with them.

Start off with small talk for the first few holes and then transition into business topics. Good general rules from Bloomberg Business are never talk business before the third hole, or after the 15th. Preparing to shoot or walking on the green aren’t appropriate times to talk shop either. Try walking the course with fellow players for additional time for business related talk in addition to great exercise.

Take cues from the other players about how far to really dig into the business topics and don’t be too pushy. If you hear something you’d like to learn more about, it gives you a reason to schedule a follow-up meeting after the round and stay in contact with the potential client.

When playing, keep in mind golf virtues mirror business virtues and character: think calmly, strategically and don’t lose your temper over a bad play. Would you want to do business with someone who gets heated over a ball in the rough? Also, never, ever cheat. Wherever the ball lands, play it. It is more important to have ethics and morals than a good golf score. Would you want to do business with someone who fudges the numbers?

Follow up the round a few days later with a thank-you note and a LinkedIn invite to stay in front of that potential customer and suggest a way take the next step with the relationship with a meeting or  lunch.

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