Lets review, in Part 1 you broke out the calendar and started The Plan, Part 2, you sent out The Invitations and Part 3, you maneuvered through the gauntlet of issues to deal with The Day of the Golf and you are now ready to get down to business with the next step…
Next Step: The Chat
Now, if you did your homework and executed all of the steps for playing a round of business golf then you are ready for the business part of the Business Golf outing. However, beware, you are entering the area where many..over 65%, of business people make their mistakes. So listen up, and lets see if I can improve upon this number.
At this point of the round is where the host may have to deal with the reality that something has come up and the guest has to leave. My studies show that there is a approximately 15% chance that this will happen. So the host has to be prepared to deal with this professionally and turn the end of the business golf day into an opportunity.
Of course, this part of the round also has a double edge. This could the time for the host to bale from the day due to something coming up or more likely, something found out from playing golf with the guest that a business deal or relationship would not be a good idea. There is a less than 10% chance the guest will demonstrate enough character flaws during the round that compatibility issues, as well as lack of professionalism, demonstrated during the round would cause considerable concern.
Either way, there are realities that develop at this point and it is good to know how to deal with these situations positively. Cordially excusing yourself from the round is naturally the form to use, but using a professional flare to not make the situation worst. Sometimes..less than 1%, or 1 in 115 rounds, you will just have to put your foot down and be blunt..but before you do that..ask yourself..Is it really worth it. There are many people roaming the earth who just do not get it. Hopefully, this failed economy we are in will allow then to go extinct.
Lets deal with the more likely possibility the round turns out to be fun, exciting and building a relationship that surround a number of golf related issues. The realities of live are tough enough to deal with. Finding someone to relate with on the golf course sets a solid foundation for what will hopefully develop next.
Too many people approach the after golf portion of a round of business golf with getting way too formal or way too aggressive. I could write a book on the hundreds of different approaches I have had to deal with over the years… Oh, wait, I did write a book on that..but I digress.
The misguided approach of jumping on the guest immediately after the golf with laptop presentations, easel board flip charts and such are used by ROI or bottom-line focused business people. This, unfortunately, comes from their training or from receiving some real expensive bad advice. The attitude the host should adapt to at this part of the round of golf is what I call Casual Professionalism.
Naturally, the host has to be comfortable with dishing out ideal chit-chat and should work towards being a master of small talk…sound bites as I call them. Over time it is good to continually develop little one line short sentences, statements, remarks or questions that are half for entertainment purposes and half for timing purposes. Once you get to the Jedi Knight level of Casual Professionalism this routine will slash through the awkwardness your guest has developed feeling that he or she could be entering the ‘Sales Pitch from Hell”.
I mentor my clients to separating themselves from their guest for approximately 15 minutes during the transition between golf and the refreshments. During this time they should go to the locker-room and splash cold water on their face (ladies, you go through your ‘Freshen-Up routine) and then take five deep breaths holding each for 15 seconds. This calms the muscles, energizes the brain and…more importantly..is relaxing.
As the reconnect with the guest is made the mind should be empty of the need to make a slick sales pitch delivery. Don’t worry..the pitch will get made.
The “So Tell me” Delivery
Again, if you chose the location for the business golf well you should be sitting well away from the crowd so a conversation can be held without talking over the background noise. This could be hard to do, but if the pre-event facility review was done as suggested the possibility of creating a location or at least being aware of the environment the after golf gathering will be held in can be dealt with accordingly.
Here is where the purpose of the day is revealed. If you chose to ask a question during the invitation here is where the question is asked.
But before you jump into the “Why I Asked You Here” line, turn the table and make the first part of the Chat all about your guest. This is the portion I call the..”So, Tell Me”.. question.
Make a deliberate effort to sit up and look the guest in the eye when turning the light on them. What happens next will result in gaining important information about the person and the business they do. This info is priceless and has a 85% chance of revealing something about their business that would not every be offered during a cold call or traditional business meeting.
Once the story has been told and the guest has had their time to lay out their claim to fame then it is time to deliver a Soft Punch. The line..”Why I asked you here”.. should be the trigger point that settles both the host and guest into focus on the purpose of the day. Here is where you need to be prepared to ask a short question that draws the guest into a conversation instead of feeling they are listening to a lecture.
This is the part that needed to be thought out back during the planning stage. Getting comfortable with the “question asking” conversation style takes some time to develop but once mastered is the most productive form of business pitch available.
End the Day But Not the Relationship
Now that a few drinks have been had and a meal shared it is time to end the day. Yes, I know..you are saying..
What, No Business Deal closed or secured?
You are correct..there is no deal to close or even to start. What many people do not realize is that just because the Sticks have been put up and the Chat was had, the Business Golf is not over. If all the steps were done correctly the round of Business Golf with this particular person will never be over. Because in the Next Step (Yes, there is a Next Step) you will learn why business golf is so underrated as a business tool.
I’ll be back in a bit to cover the Final part of Business Golf which is the most important by-product produced from all the other parts.. The Follow-Up..Stay tuned..I’ll get that next step out to you soon. Until then..let me know how I can help.