Being new in role, I think I have turned down 20 golf invites already this year. Too much to do in the early days of the plan. But I have been passing on my customer – executive golfing best practice to people – morning golf.

The norm for golfing is to start at 1 pm. I encourage sales people to think differently, to think about their customer’s personal life. A 1pm golf game has a number of implications:

  • It often gets interrupted as afternoons are always busy.
  • If it is a Friday afternoon, enjoy the traffic. I guarantee they won’t.
  • It impacts family life as it often goes beyond business hours.

However, if you have a morning round (I love a 7AM tee time), you get the following benefits:

  • In a Canadian summer, you avoid the 32 degree heat in the afternoon.
  • It is never as busy (I hate being on a ‘corporate’ course where you get dragged into the 6 hour round)
  • You leave time for lunch and people can still connect with the office and catch up.
  • You don’t impact your client’s evening and their family.

Morning golf, all around better proposition. Richard Abraham has a great article on thinking about a customers’ family life when looking to all forms of business entertainment:

Taking a client to a nice restaurant during these stressful times really means something. It was always a nice way to show appreciation and to nurture our client relationships, but it has taken on extra significance during these challenging times. Now here is the kicker.

To the extent you can make it happen, try to include not only the client, but his or her spouse and your spouse or significant other for a great dinner. While we see the stress on our clients at work, it is multiplied on the home front, and a great night out can be an unbelievably powerful highlight and tonic for everyone involved.

I have worked for a few managers (note, I say managers – not leaders) who disagreed with the above, much to my chagrin. I still remember one hockey game many years ago where a few managers were distraught with decision to focus on families, not the individual. Executives get invited to events all the time, and it cuts into their evening. I decided to break the mould, I had the box for the evening and it was the playoffs. Instead of inviting 10 executives, I gave each executive 2 tickets – one for themselves, one for a family member. Some brought their spouse, some brought one of their children. It was a huge hit because they looked like a hero at home. Take the time to think about your client’s family life, they will appreciate it.

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