Whether you enjoy it or not, not many businessmen can afford to shirk an opportunity to play a round of golf with a potential customer or valuable contact.
Business deals have always been struck over the golf course – the only difference now is that people are far more open about it. If you’re an entrepreneur and dreaming of success and expansion, it’s time to buy yourself a set of clubs because this is where you’re going to be spending a good deal of your time.
If you’re a novice when it comes to corporate golfing or networking over nine holes, the following tips will help prepare you for what to expect:
- Choose your venue carefully. If you’re the business owner who’s hoping to win new contracts over a round of golf then the onus is on your to make it a memorable occasion. This means choosing a good venue which stands up to the high standards of your business ethics. Don’t choose anywhere too tricky for a novice golfer as you’ll want to keep your guests spirits up and morale high.
- Pick up the tab. It might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many intimate golfing outings have been arranged where the host has forgot to cover the bill, including any food and drinks. This is a huge mistake and is likely to leave your guest with a bitter taste in their mouths, regardless of how well you bonded over the course. Also, if you’re offering
- Ensure your chosen venue performs as well in the restaurant as well as on the course. A corporate golfing day in particular is all about making a good impression and you’ll want the food and the service to be up to scratch.
- If your guest prefers not to keep scores, don’t argue on the contrary. The purpose of your day is to make a lucrative connection not prove you’re the better player. Tell them that an informal round is perfectly acceptable to you. However, if your guests are up for a little friendly competition, be sure to use an on-course smart phone APP which will instantly work out the points scored, taking into account individual players’ handicaps. This will save you the mind bending task at the end of the round of working out who has won and who has come last. APPs also provide a live scoreboard for you to talk about while out playing. While there are Smart APPs that cover all the courses in the UK you will find that most of the top courses will have their own, free of charge, APP which will have additional functionality such as tips for how to play each hole or to allow you to place food or drink orders that will be waiting for you when you get back to the clubhouse. An example of this type of APP can be found here.
- Treat the day casually. You both know you have a business agenda but wait for appropriate moments to discuss work – and always let your guest bring it up first. The key to success is to bond on a personal level – avoid the sales talk.
- Allow your guest to set the pace of the game. If your colleague wants to take their time through the course, do so obligingly. Not everyone is confident in their abilities and those who aren’t will not appreciate being rushed.
- Be careful to create a positive impression at all times.This means repairing your divots and pitch marks as well as picking up any broken tees you make. Handling yourself in this manner is a sign of someone who is ethical in business.