Have you ever wondered why so many business deals are reported to happen on the golf course? It is not because of the competition, although that certainly plays a part in the game. It is also not about time spent at the 19th hole. It is about finding common ground.
If you have ever read any books about sales or marketing, you will already know that sales are not necessarily all about your product. In fact, your product probably has a lot less to do with sales than you could ever imagine. It is about the emotional connection that you make with your client. That is the same reason that customers go back to the same companies over and over again – they have an emotional connection with them. The connection between business and golf, while complex, owes a lot to that bond, and that is why business and golf make such great partners.
When you spend time with your clients on the golf course, and if both you and your client enjoy the game, you will automatically have forged a bond over common ground. Human nature dictates that we tend to want to associate with people who are like us, and your shared love of the game instantly gives you and your client a similarity – something that you share. This is exactly why the world’s best sales people train to observe their surroundings so carefully when meeting with clients. A chance conversation about a point of interest for both you, and your client, can be the turning point in a difficult relationship.
Having something to talk about with your client, that you both enjoy, is the easiest way to break through a barrier that has been preventing you from creating a bond, and can turn that bond into a sale. If you both love golf, and better yet, if you can both enjoy yourselves while doing something you love, on the golf course, you’ll find that you learn more about your potential client during just one game than you have in all the meetings you’ve ever had!
There is also a similarity between golf, and the business world itself. Both are in essence solitary games, where you might play alongside or against other players, and you might have the support of a mentor, in the form of a golf pro, and support by a caddy, but you’re really playing on your own. Maybe it is that similarity, and the concept of testing oneself on the golf course that makes playing golf so attractive to business people and entrepreneurs.
Watching your prospect on the golf course can give you a lot of insight into how they operate in the business world, and that insight can be used to further your relationship, and to improve your chances of concluding a business deal. There is no denying that there is a lot more to making a business deal or a sale than one game of golf, but that common ground is often where the conversation begins, and it gives you and your customer a shared experience to use as the basis of your business relationship.
It does not even matter much how good or bad your golf game has to be, or where you play. The big issue here is a shared passion for something, and the opportunity to get to know your client better.