Golf is an awesome relationship building tool and can facilitate making friends for a long time. Here’s how to use golf to make sales for the long haul.
Verify your customers coming the morning of and then get to the course early and pay for their rounds before they get there. Buy your customers either entire box of logoed of balls if you have the budget or even a sleeve of logoed balls will suffice. The logoed balls creates a memory of the course for the customers as most customers want to save the ball with a logo. Make sure you have access to their range if they have one and make sure you hit a few on the range. Keep it light and loose on the range and don’t hit too many balls. You only have so many good shots during the day.
When you start, gauge your customer’s interest on placing a wager….something like a wager on par threes, birdies are worth money, etc. This is not necessary, but usually adds an element of fun.
I’ve never purposefully lost to a customer. I’ve been beaten a bunch but I never purposefully lose. But, I’ve played with guys that beat me and had a great time watching them do it and I’ve also been beaten by guys who take a little too much pleasure in it….In other words, if you are beating your customer, try not to make it obvious and don’t do anything that will make them think you’re a jagoff like rubbing it in their face or telling them you’re the greatest golfer ever.
I never mention work/sales/business for at least the first nine holes. 100% of the time I’ve golfed with customers, they brought up business before I felt it was necessary. When they bring up your company is the time for you to explain your business, how you can help them, and then ask a few probing questions like, “what is your biggest challenge with the equipment you rent at your refinery?” or “‘if we were able to manage your inventory would that solve your problem?”
Feed your customers well at the turn and continue on the round. Make sure you give them a firm handshake at the end and offer to buy them lunch or dinner in the clubhouse if you have time. If you don’t have time to buy them lunch make sure you establish the next step whether it’s getting them a formal proposal or setting another meeting.
The most important thing about golfing with the customer is to have fun with them and develop that relationship. If they like you, they will buy from you. It might not happen at first, but don’t give up!