One of the great opportunities that golf outings present is the chance to develop relationships with clients, as well as attract new ones, while enjoying a bucolic setting or just a great round of golf on the links. However, while golf has been long established as a great sport for networking with potential or existing customers, employees, employers and other key stakeholders in your business or industry, thoughtlessly talking business during a round can do as much harm as good to your efforts.
One entrepreneur who builds his business through golf in more ways then one is Ty DeLavallade, CEO of Golf Quests Inc. – a golf and travel business in Orlando, Florida. After playing the sport for several years before he launched his company, DeLavallade was not only able to build his business through the relationships he had, but continues to advance and expand his brand.
DeLavallade shared three things he believes entrepreneurs should remember in order to effectively use golf to advance business relationships:
Be your best advocate. No one sells you and what you do better than you. If you do not know how to sell your company, that is going to hinder your progress, especially at an event where you will be interacting with clients or potential customers for 4 ½ or 5 hours at a time. No one in this world can sell My Golf Concierge [one of a suite of Golf Quest travel web sites) better than me. You must go to these events and not be afraid to present your business to other folks. Further, remember not to pitch, but share your passion. There is a big difference between pitching and sharing. Share your passion and it will be felt more by the other party.
Have a good golf demeanor. Do not be an angry golfer. Be calm and reserved in the presence of potential clients and customers. I have seen people throw clubs and the person playing with them request to never be paired with them again. You can be excited, but do not be angry. Angry golfers are particularly frowned upon because golf is a gentleman’s sport.
Don’t just play–participate. Become a sponsor in golf tournaments because of the exposure you can get. Whether you sponsor a hole, or purchase a larger package at a level they may offer such as gold or silver, realize the potential it can have to extend your brand. Making sure there will be a good return on your investment is crucial, especially if your product has universal appeal and is not specifically targeted to one type of person. If you are a lawyer, dentist or financial advisor, golf outings are a great opportunities to get new clients.
Source: Mia N. Hall