The sales score outweighs the golf score

The sales score outweighs the golf score

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The sales score outweighs the golf score

Everyone teaches you how to play golf, no one teaches you how to do business (make the sale) while playing golf.

Companies spend a lot of money training their salespeople how to sell for a 30-minute appointment, but they spend no time training them how to act on the golf course for 4 hours with the client.

And ask ANY salesperson where he or she would rather sell — an office or a golf course. Golf course wins 99-1. Hole in one, baby! Then ask them if they know the best time to ask for an order, and they will all get a double bogey.

Why do companies want their salespeople to play golf with client? They know if the game goes well the likelihood is higher the sale will go well.

The salesman wants to play golf because he believes it will be a relaxed atmosphere, you can get to know customer better, and make the sale. The essence is mutual likeability. The relationship part of the sale.

The prospect wants to play golf to see who he is potentially doing business with. They want to know what kind of person you are – every element of you comes out on the course. And a report card will be issued along with your scorecard. Sometimes you’ll see it, sometimes you won’t.

Even though you have your golf clothes on, your personality is bare. It’s not a matter of you selling the customer, it is a matter of the customer buying you. If you are looking to sell something on the golf course, sell yourself.

Here are the factors your customer or prospect learns about YOU:

  • Mutual compatibility – do I like this person?
  • Do I believe this person?
  • Do I have anything in common with this person (why it’s so important to talk golf first & business second because you have golf in common)
  • What is the personality of this person?
  • What is the ethic of this person?
  • How much is this person paying attention? And the important thing to realize is that both parties playing golf are judging each other.

    Your temperament, ethics, and manners are also on display. Your language, your drinking, your ability to follow the rules, and your sportsmanship are determining factors in your ability to build a relationship and get the business.

    What’s the BEST way for all that to come together?

    OK, here’s the BIG SECRET: A successful round of golf starts with the game before the game.

    A round of golf with a big prospect. You got an 8:15am tee off time. Great, you’re all set. Gonna make a BIG sale. Oh boy, this is gonna be GREAT! Or is it?

    You ask two of your golf buddies to join you for the foursome
    You meet the prospect at 7:30 for quick breakfast
    You hustle over to the first tee.
    You get there with a few minutes to spare and begin chatting about your escapades last night.
    All BIG mistakes.

    Tee off time is not the beginning, neither is breakfast. If you are simply going to play a round of golf, it means you are not prepared for the day and you are not preparing to win the sale.

    Here’s how the day should start:
    Meet on the practice tee an hour before tee off time. Bring breakfast, fruit, muffins, coffee, orange juice, minor nourishment to get rolling. Warm up for at least 30 minutes by hitting a bucket of balls with your prospect and getting to know him or her a little better. Get all your bad shots out of the way. Then move to the practice green. Hit a few balls out of the sand. Sink a few putts. Now you’re warm and so is your prospect. Now you’re ready to go to the first tee.

    Oh, one more thing, leave your golf buddies at home, instead select strategic people to play with your prospect. The best person to select is a prospect for him or her. That way everyone can do some business on the golf course. A foursome is not mandatory. Be careful when you select who you play with.

    Make the first tee relaxing. I like to give everyone I’m playing with a couple of sleeves of the best-est, newest balls on the market. Just for fun. It’s a surprise and it’s set the tone. Make sure your golf cart is loaded for bear. Of course you have pre-selected your drinks and food based on your conversation with the prospect’s administrative person to find out his “favorites”. This will be another pleasant surprise.

    Getting ready to play is just as important as playing. If you go to any athletic encounter you will always find every participant “warming up” before the game. In some cases, they warm up to a sweat. If you want your round of golf to be successful (I define success as everyone has a good time and you make the sale), you must get to the first tee as the second part of your round of golf not your first. The first part is the preparation to get to the first tee.

    The warm up creates the atmosphere and the anticipation for a lower golf score and a higher sales score.

    Looking for one universal rule? Go back an reread Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People. Among his many principles you will find the secret for long lasting business friendships and relationships: “Be Yourself.”

    Free GitBit… The alternative of offering instruction on the golf course and a way to solidity a future appointment. One of the best kept secret of business golf is yours for the asking. Go to (register if you are a first time visitor) and enter the word GOLF in the GitBit box.

    Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to