Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Making Golf Work in Business: Do's and Don'ts

My days are getting filled with meetings with people wanting to know more about my book and seminars.  And I get a lot of questions from golfers who say they have tried the ‘Golf Thing and could get it to work’ and ‘what do you have to offer that I have not tried?’

This question and others similar to it are fun to me because it provides me an opportunity to find out what others are attempting to do with golf.  And usually after turning the question around and asking ‘what are you doing?’ I find out quickly that the problem with people not understanding how to play Business Golf is greater than I originally thought.

Two years ago when I started investigating how golf is being used by business people I found about an 80% to 90% failure rate among the golfers I interviewed or watched as they attempted to play golf with a client.  Now I have more data and it is up in the mid 90% range on business people making a good day bad by trying to use golf as a sales tool.

Now, I am sure back in the day, say early 50’s, when Golf was coming out of the dark ages with players like Arnold Palmer coming in from a blue collar background, adding business to pleasure was somewhat naval.  Nobody really knew how to use golf in business. 

Back then business people’s thinking  ...’Hey, this guy knows how to play golf, I must be able to trust this guy since golf is a trustworthy sport and this guys knows how to play.  I want to hang around with people who are trustworthy.  I think I will play with this guy to get to know him better.  Who knows, we might even be able to do business together’  Yaw, I know that sounded like a script for a 50’s commercial, but that was the way people who played golf thought when golf ‘hit the streets’.

Today, we have business people who really put themselves under tremendous pressure to perform or make money.  These people are not really concerned about tomorrow.  They usually are people who do not believe in taking a risk or getting to know who is making the money or paying them the money…’just give me your money and keep giving it to me’ pretty well sums up how some businesses are run.

What changed in golf was there now were business people who are use to earning the equivalent of the gross national product of South Africa before breakfast each day and they are now taking the attitude that develops from this success to the golf course.  

Their reasoning?  Well if I make this kind of money I must be doing something right.  If I am doing it right then I must know what I am doing and since I know what I am doing I must be a very important person.  So since I am important I need to be treated as being important in everything I do.  And since making money fast is what I know how to do and is what is making me important I will now use my fast money technique in everything I do.

When one of these monsters gets on the course you can bet he is going to try to close the deal before you putt out on the first hole.  And if that doesn’t work he will keep after you until your day of golf has now turned into a day in Hell…even when what the guy is pitching is something you need.  You choices will become, go ahead and agree to the deal and play the rest of the round of golf or drive back to the parking lot and get in your car and leave. Because generally these very important people never learned what the word ‘NO’ meant and feel nothing to the game of golf that they just destroyed for you and the people on the course that day.

That is what is happening to golf that is causing the questions I am getting asked.   More than likely, the success of one sale these overly-ego’d individuals made on the golf course was enough for an entire nation now to think that method of using golf as a Sales Tool was the only approach to take…WRONG.

I usually find in my questioning of people that they are trying to use golf as a sales tool instead of a business tool.  Once I tell them that I get..HUMMMM! As their reply.

These meetings are getting fun and I am getting a calendar full of speaking engagements…hopefully I can get to more people and help turn the tide on all of these bad rounds of Sales Golf….  

Let me know how I can help.


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