Four Lessons I’ve Learned About Successfully Golfing With Clients

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Four Lessons I've Learned About Successfully Golfing With Clients

Being in the sales industry was never my first choice, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t the kid that stood up in class and said that he wanted to sell stuff when he grew up. If that’s someone else’s dream, that’s awesome. I hope you’re really good at it and you sell all of the things to all of the customers.

One of the draws to the sales industry was the idea that I would be able to “entertain clients.” Who isn’t at least a little interested in the idea of throwing your employer’s money at a potential customer in an effort to get said customer to give you *his* company’s money? Little did I know, it’s never as simple as calling up a prospective client, asking him or her to come do something that has nothing to do with actual work with you, and closing a deal. There’s actual work involved in there somewhere, apparently.

So I finally do this “work” thing, and I discover that the client I’m trying to court is an avid golfer (sidenote: If anyone needs any tips on LinkedIn creeping, I’m always here). This gives me the bright idea to suggest a meeting on the golf course instead of a regular office meeting. It’ll be great, I thought. We’ll play nine, drink a few beers, talk some business, and not be in the office. He took me up on the offer and I am elated.

We met up at a course, played nine, and I learned a few things about what I thought was going to be my favorite sales experience to-date.

Lesson #1: Just because the client likes to golf doesn’t mean that he likes to drink and golf.

In retrospect, my first clue should’ve been him putting a bottle of Diet Coke and a bottle of green tea on the pro shop counter literally right before I walked up. Instead, I was carefully pondering my options for the six-pack I was putting together. “So, are you more of a Coors guy or a Miller guy?” This question was met with the same look that my mom gave me after she saw my credit card statement this week. Apparently, he wasn’t too satisfied with his past few rounds, and he didn’t want alcohol to play a factor in trying to better his game. That was weird for me to hear because beer is usually my solution to the perpetual problem that is my golf swing.

Lesson #2: It’s highly unlikely that your client follows Rickie Fowler on Snapchat.

Blasting “Jordan Belfort” in the golf cart has become somewhat of a golf course tradition for me and my buddies ever since we witnessed #SB2K16 on Rickie’s story. My client didn’t really care. He also didn’t think that the Snapchat ProTracer was all that hilarious, either. That probably had more to do with how his golf swing actually looked on the video I showed him, but that doesn’t mean he appreciated my ProTracer following his ball to the next fairway.

Lesson #3: This isn’t the place or time for your awful David Feherty impression.

“This one is headed for the cabbage” in a shitty British accent may be appropriate to say to your brother who just duck-hooked one while playing in your high school football program’s fundraising four-man scramble, but it’s not all that charming to the person you want to give you money. Especially when it’s his fifth or sixth duck-hook in a row (I kept suggesting a beer or two). Just help him find his ball and keep it moving. Save the Feherty for the pre-bachelor party round with your boys.

Lesson #4: If he says he made par, he made par.

Eyes on the prize, folks. Keep your priorities in order. You want to make him count his strokes for you? Go be a USGA rules official and bother Dustin Johnson. You want to close a deal and graduate from Wal-Mart to Target? Let the bogey be a par. Could I have asked a few more questions about the “bogey” he made after hitting his approach into someone’s pool? Sure. Would I be a good salesman if I did such a thing? You decide. And sir, if you happen to be reading this (I sincerely hope you aren’t), my ball didn’t just appear out of thin air three feet from the tree line. I clearly hit my drive into on #8. So…call it even?

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