It’s no exaggeration to say that business and golf often go hand in hand.
This sport is one of the most soothing and relaxing activities, plus it’s not as dynamic and fast-paced as basketball or tennis. Therefore, you can expect to spend a couple of pleasant hours in nature with other players, which will give you plenty of opportunity to build rapport with them.
Did you know that 16 of the last 19 US presidents enjoyed playing golf? Similarly, according to Entrepreneur, 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs also love to hit the 18-hole course when they want to unwind and do some networking.
That’s why it would be a good idea to unpack what makes golf such a great business tool.
1. You Can Get to Know Your Business Associates Better
Playing golf with someone will tell you a lot about that person’s character. You can learn much more about business associates, co-workers, or clients than you would in a regular business meeting.
Why is that so?
When they’re in an informal context, many people tend to let their hair down and show their true colors. So, if a client loses it after missing a shot or tries to cheat, you can easily conclude how they would behave during contract negotiations.
Seeing how someone reacts when they’re winning or losing, how they perform under pressure, whether emotions get the better of them, or what their moral principles are will tell you whether you should consider doing business with that person.
2. It Gives You an Opportunity to Hone Your Interpersonal Skills
We’ve established that golf is a powerful character revealer, and that applies to you too.
So, just like you’re sizing others up, they do the same and form an opinion about you based on how you conduct yourself in a competitive setting. Being short-tempered and impulsive or making a swing too hastily, for example, won’t present you in the most favorable light.
That’s why it’s important to make a conscious effort to improve your interpersonal skills and learn to behave in a confident, calm manner.
3. Golf Is for Everyone
While other sports require a certain level of physical fitness, golf is a life-long game, meaning that people of all ages, skills, and abilities can play and compete on a relatively fair basis.
In other words, both a 30-year-old and a 60-year-old can have the same odds of winning. And that can’t be said for a fast-paced and physically demanding activity like tennis or squash.
Having said that, it still doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work on polishing your golf skills. The better you play, the better impression you’ll make. Also, it’s much easier to mix golf and business if you know how to play. Having no clue what you’re doing, how to swing a golf club, or how to hit the ball properly will be a huge distraction that will prevent you from engaging in business talks.
Following the dress code for the occasion will score you additional brownie points with your prospects and co-workers. Finally, since playing golf should become one of your important networking, prospecting, and even closing strategies in the long term, think about investing in decent equipment and a new or second-hand golf cart to add a touch of class to your efforts.
4. There’s Enough Time to Discuss Business
According to the United States Golf Association, an 18-hole round of golf takes, on average, four hours on weekdays and 4 hours and 30 minutes on weekends. Of course, let’s not forget the nineteenth hole, which gives you more than enough time to spend chatting, bonding, and talking business with your clients.
What’s even better, a casual business talk won’t come across as too pushy and aggressive but will still allow you to engage with a client and achieve more than you would in a strictly business meeting.
5. Golf Makes Building Business Relationships Easier
Getting up close and personal with someone won’t happen in a conference room. But a lush, green backdrop of a golf course is a great setting for opening up and connecting over mutual interests.
For example, reaching out to a prospect who lives in another city and inviting them for a round of golf when you’re visiting is an excellent way to secure a meeting with them. They will be more likely to say yes to a game of golf than to a formal business meeting.
Plus, golf is an awesome conversation starter, and bringing up the topic can break the ice and serve as an intro to a business talk.
6. It Sets the Stage for Closing Deals
Why would you sit in a sterile office discussing deals for hours when you can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery of a golf course while talking business between shots?
It’s much more pleasant to negotiate when you’re relaxed. Plus, you can expect that your customer will let their guard down since you’ll both be on neutral territory, which will make them feel more comfortable.
The trick is to focus on the game and casually mention the deal. Also, a useful rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t bring the deal up before the fifth hole. Also, refrain from talking about business after hole no. 15. Otherwise, you risk scaring your prospect off and jeopardizing the deal.
Playing golf has numerous benefits to your health and well-being, but it’s also an activity that can help you generate more business opportunities. So, make sure to improve your golfing chops and bring your A-game to the course. But don’t forget to learn how to lose gracefully. To enhance your golfing experience, take the opportunity to learn interesting facts and histories about your best golf player, gaining inspiration and knowledge that can elevate your own game.
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