Golf and Business Equals Success

Golf and Business Equals Success[EXTRACT]
Social schmoozing has long been recognised as an effective method of building business relationships and wooing new clients. Martini lunches and cigars were the tools used a generation ago. These days golf is considered the most important schmoozing skill, so much so that many executives attain their positions based on golf prowess alone. In fact, not playing golf can have a negative impact on business careers. Many non-golfers are finding that they hit professional stagnation due to golfing colleagues being promoted above them.Women, determined to break into the old-boys’ business network, are also taking advantage of 18-hole business practices. More and more women are signing up for classes and joining clubs to try and redress the male dominated networking imbalances of the past. Specialists in the golf and business market advise women to go as far as advertising their interest in the sport by hanging golf pictures in their offices. Bringing a putter and some golf balls to work is also an acknowledged signal of golfing interest.

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Bill Storer, an expert on mixing golf and business, recommends that in order to increase your chances of success, you classify clients in one of four personality categories:· Realtors – team players who value relationships· Socialisers – emotional people who love an audience· Thinkers – organised and detailed· Directors – decisive, goal orientated, and stylishOnce you’ve identified your client’s personality type, you can adapt your tactics to suit them.A key factor in the golf schmooze is to learn proper golf etiquette. Don’t talk when someone is about to hit a shot, don’t step in the line of a putt, and always treat the course with respect. This means that you replace divots and rake bunkers when you’re out of them. Your behaviour after a bad shot, or several bad shots, is also vital. Losing your temper and throwing your clubs around doesn’t leave your client with a particularly favourable view of your character. Disregarding these protocols creates the impression of arrogance and inconsideration. At best, the client will lose all respect for you. At the worst, you could cost your company a prized contract.It’s considered poor form to leap straight into business talk and try work down to the nitty gritty of a deal. Some clients don’t mind talking business on the course, while others prefer to keep it strictly social. Bill recommends waiting until the fifth hole to talk shop, and refraining from further talk after the fifteenth. This gives you and your client enough time to settle into your games and to concentrate on your closing approach. It’s important to remember that the purpose is to improve your relationship with the client. To achieve this you should make every effort to get to know your client better on a personal level. Finalising business is a secondary concern.Finally, the big question: do you play to win, or play to let your client win? That could depend on your client’s temperament, and on how important winning at all costs is to his or her. Generally you should aim to play your best game. If it’s obvious that you’re losing on purpose, you risk embarrassing and insulting your client. There is, however, no sense in embarrassing them the other way with a sound drubbing either.

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Golf schmoozing looks to be business-networking strategy, with successful outcomes virtually guaranteed. It’s a tool open to exploitation by both women and men, which helps to level the promotion playing field. While it’s considered bad form to play the sycophant and lose on purpose, it’s perhaps wise to remember the old saying, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you someone who’s playing with his boss.”Recommended sites:http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_46/b3808623.htm[http://www.businessgolfstrategies.com/HTML/reprint.htm][http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2005-11-01/torney-golf]