There’s probably no better place in the world to conduct business than on the golf course. Business executives all over the world know that sharing a common frustration with their golf game promotes the perfect environment for business talk. More business exchanges have been made on the golf course than you could ever imagine. It’s a lot easier to get your potential business associate to say yes to a round of golf than being closed up in an over-air-conditioned, cold and most likely badly lighted boardroom for a formal business meeting. They would love the excuse to get out of the office just as much as you do and once you’re out on the course you’ll find that golf courses are seemingly tailor-made to allow for that type of relationship building to occur.
Picture it… It’s 2:30pm on a workday and you’re teeing off on the 4th hole of the local country club. The sun is out, the wind is calm and you’re on top of your game. It’s only you, your golf group, and the great outdoors allowing you to conduct business without the typical “office” distractions. There’s something about being surrounded by nature, gorgeous trees and beautiful scenery that helps create an environment where people feel comfortable and relaxed. Next thing you know new friendships are made, trust is built and successful business relationships emerge.
When you are conducting business on the golf course, you have the luxury of sharing a common goal – to beat each other. Yet at the same time, when you are playing with business associates on the golf course, you really need to practice some decorum when playing golf with a potential business affiliate.
So how do you balance business with sport on the golf course? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. Just as with any decision in business, you have to weigh the outcome with what is happening. If you are trying to land a big account, you probably won’t want to make fun of your potential client’s missed chip shot.
However, you won’t want to gain a reputation as a suck-up either. If your potential client makes a 7 on a par 3, you really don’t want to whoop and holler because it will be obvious you are just trying to stroke his (or her) ego. Conducting business on the golf course is a delicate proposition, so start with a plan in mind.
DO NOT – and we stress this a lot – DO NOT begin your golf match with a declaration of what you hope to accomplish by the end of the round. If you want to insure that you will be landing that big account, don’t put on your golf glove on tee #1 and declare your intention. The idea behind conducting business on the golf course is to make friends first and then do your business.
As you are playing, keep in mind that you will want to bring your “A” game as much as is humanly possible. Sure, you might be playing against a person who is head and shoulders above you, but if you are the better player, DON’T let them win just because you want to gain their business. Play golf like you mean it and gain that prospect’s respect.
There is much business that is done on the golf course every day of every week. You won’t find a better place to make a business deal than on the links. However, you will want to use some form of decorum to insure that your business goals will come to reality. Taking business on the golf course could be the best business decision you ever make!