Do People Really Do Business on the Golf Course?

Most people reading this article want new clients. It’s been said Millennials do things differently. Golf has been declining in popularity. The expression “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” comes to mind. Do financial advisors really do business on the golf course?

That’s not the Real Question

Try asking: “Do financial professionals make connections, raise their visibility and get appointments on the golf course?” Then the answer is yes.

Three Golf Course Strategies

Here’s how financial advisors and insurance agents do it.
  • The former golf pro. This Texas advisor would invite a client to play golf. He would ask them to invite two friends along. On the day, the advisor suggests teaming up with the client and playing the two guests. The advisor and the client win! Why? Because the advisor is a former golf pro! Later, the advisor calls each of the two guests, asking if they would like to repeat the process, bringing along two guests. The advisor has explained: “After playing a round of golf with someone for a couple of hours, you have a pretty good idea if you would want them as a client.”
  • The luggage tag. You are not a former golf pro. Try another advisor’s strategy instead. He gets included in a foursome. His golf bag has a luggage tag from a firm conference he attended. It’s got the firm name or logo. Another golfer notices it and says: “You’re with Hyer and Hyer. My advisor is with ‘Mammoth Brokerage.” The advisor asks how long they’ve been together. He compliments the firm. He asks: “Are you happy with your advisor? Would you recommend them?” If the answer is no, he asks why they stay with them. If they are happy, he asks “What do you like best about them?” He follows with: “In your opinion, where do you see room for improvement?” When a person tells you what they aren’t getting in a relationship, it’s as if they said “Here’s what I want.”
  • The insurance broker. When he was new to the area, this fellow was counseled “Buy a new Cadillac. Join the most exclusive golf club.” When he pushed back about the expense, he was told: “This business is based on perception. If you drive up to the most exclusive club in a new Cadillac, people assume you are a successful insurance broker.” The fellow played gold regularly, inviting his accountant and two of their clients of fellow chamber members. They needed to be business owners. He bought them lunch afterwards. During lunch he would ask: “Can I call you next week and set up an appointment? I have some ideas I would like to share. I think I might be able to save you money.” He usually got the appointment. These business owners belong to their own club, but not the exclusive one. They only get to play the best course when someone invites them. Add lunch into the package and the guest is under such a large social obligation, it’s difficult to say: “No, you can’t have an appointment.” Financial professionals know sometimes the most difficult task is getting in front of the prospect for a business meeting.
  • Golf works for advisors who approach it right.Related: Nine Reasons It Makes Sense to Pay for Financial Advice