It's time to tee off that sales pitch. You're meeting with a client, and there are a few places that you can choose to meet. You can meet in their office. It's formal, they don't need to travel far which they are bound to like, and you can use tools like a presentation to make your sale. You can take them out to dinner, and everyone jumps at the chance of free food, but any sales pitch over a glass of wine would have to be too casual.
These are both good options, but there has always been one very popular technique to making the sales pitch, and that has been on the golf course. Many people now do it, and whilst some people think that it's just an excuse to get away from the computer and the "real work", there are some very real benefits from taking these meetings out on the golf course.
Lots of time away from the desk
Yes, one of the benefits is that you are away from the desk. However, the important thing is that your potential client is also away from their desk. Everyone wants a break from work, and if they are asked to be on the golf course as part of their working day, they will most certainly leap at the opportunuity. They could be there just as an excuse and ignore every word you say, but they are going to be much more open to listening to a sales pitch if they are taken out of the office.
Lots of time to talk
Depending just how bad your game is, a round might take about four hours. This gives you plenty of time to talk to your potential client. Instead of rushing into a sales pitch because you're stuck in an office, you can spend the first few holes asking about their peronsal life. You have a lot of time to list the benefits of your business or product, and gives both you and your client time to discuss needs and even time for negotiation.
Time to relax
Some may consider the game a little on the stressful side, but with confidence in your game, a round gives you time to relax. The effect here is that you calm your nerves. You are not pushed to speak in front of a slideshow, but you can gather your thoughts and arguments before speaking. You have time. It also does the same for your potential client, and they are not rushed into saying no. They are going to listen to you if you speak. The other thing that helps is that you become more relaxed with each other, and it means you can alter your pitch, and he feels more comfortable listening to you. It's also a lot less threatening being on the course with a person in chords and a polo shirt than one with a projector and a suit.
Good game, good impression
One of the main things you want to do in a sales pitch is make yourself come across as a people-person, someone that people want to do business with. The time on the course gives you plenty of time to do that, but also a good game makes a good impression. In the same way your client might judge you on a presentation, they are going to notice if you play a good game. You can even swing a bad game into a positive light by both making fun of your bad day.
Good impression of your company
If you are the type of company to take your sales meetings on the course rather than in a boardroom, it will say a lot about you, and also how you value your customers.
A better connection
You are likely to be working with your client closely, and you want to make a good impression not just for the company, but as you. You want them to like you. The time on the course chatting about more than just a sale, asking about their work, holidays, whatever, means that you are going to develop much more of a connection than if you were sitting on the other side of the desk.
Opportunity to spend money on them
After a round, the first thing you want to do is grab some food and have a drink. This gives you a chance to spoil them one last time, even if you've made the sale. Of course, depending on the size of the contract or order, it might be wise to spend a little more on them. If he's making a multi-million investment, it really wouldn't leave a bad impression if you buy that Callaway driver he's been eyeing in the pro shop.
Easy promotional products
At the end of the day, you want to just add that little sweetener to make sure they don't forget your chat the second they've driven out of the car park. Whilst you can hand over a brochure and your card, you need something that really sticks in the memory. They might even be teeing off with your competitor tomorrow. Promotional products do make a lasting impression if done well, and since you're on the course, a golfing product is something they are not going to forget. Whether it be a nice Callway branded bag or Srixon balls or a bespoke leather glove, the effect these products are going to have will be enormous.
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