Recently I played golf at Pearl Valley, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, in Cape Town — the fourth most difficult course in South Africa. I played with Michael Emery, the relationship manager of Mediclinic Southern Africa and Mervyn Cookson, the country manager SA for CompuGroup Medical SA.
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A very cold, windy drizzling Sunday it was, and as I waited for the shuttle to the golf course at Westin Hotel reception, I bumped into a certain gentleman I had never met before. We instantly struck a conversation as if we knew each other very well. Before long he offered me a lift to the golf course, which was about 100km away and apparently he was headed towards the same rendezvous as I. As he drove the car, we continued talking, touching on a variety of issues ranging from business, politics and other captivating issues such that he missed our turn to the golf course. This nice gentleman turned out to be the CEO of Sanlam SA — a very humble, witty, kind and easy-going good man. Such is the power of golf as it mixes one with very powerful people from all walks of life and mostly very influential beings. First Mutual Health, a company wherein my being involved in golf, played a huge role in its astronomic growth through business acquisition and retention.
The marketers’ vital connection with golf
The Golf Operator Magazine mentions the following as reasons why a marketer should play golf, which I agree with from a personal experience.
- Face time
Golf allows a marketer to spend at least four quality hours or more with one’s CEO or valued clients. Today’s schedules are cluttered such that most of us will be lucky if we can get five minutes. There is no other sport that has a huge amount of quiet time between shots, which allows for wide-ranging conversations and mutual interests to be discovered than golf.
- Serene surroundings
Golf allows a marketer to plan a client meeting in an office surrounded by water, nature and sand instead of four walls. The natural environment allows a more relaxed and friendly environment, in which to do business without the normal hustle and bustle of distractions.
- Business intelligence
It is said that one can learn more about a person in four hours of golfing than in a lifetime of meetings. This is not just by what they say, but by how they handle themselves on the course. What comes out is; do they play by the rules and control their emotions? Or do they waffle and blow a fuse? This is really quite interesting from both a marketer’s and client’s point of view.
- Friendship forged
An interest in golf alone can be enough to move your friendships several notches up the corporate ladder. Marketers can easily be friends with their immediate bosses, general managers, MDs, CEOs, in fact at all levels. The most important thing is that such friendships that are built around golf, tend to last a lifetime such as it opens up new opportunities both for business and self-advancement for the marketer.
- Opens doors
Upon travel anywhere, golf has proven to be a great way to open doors for marketers by letting prospects or business contacts know you are in the area and up for a game. A marketer can build so many amazing relationships around the world by looking on LinkedIn for instance, for someone in the area he is planning to visit and suggest a game.
- Game for life
Golf suits all ages, backgrounds and abilities. There is a handicapping system in the game of golf, which allows people of widely different abilities to play together, enjoy and still compete. At the end of the day an elderly CEO can still beat a young prospect or employee or vice versa without hard feelings. The beauty from this is that young marketers can also look forward to decades of on-course meetings and deals.
- Advantage for women
Women marketers and any other women who play golf have an even greater advantage as they communicate with their higher level peers on the course and get to know them better even in the office. They can easily get a chance to bond with the bigwigs as they talk golf in the office with them, which opens doors of opportunity to even talk with the CEO who can also be roped in to assist with prospects at that same level.
It is always easy to get to a club and get an opportunity to play golf at most times. Thus, depending on the business of the marketer, he could be looking at three prospects each and every time the marketer tees up for a game. Golf provides huge opportunities to a great networking environment for all kinds of professionals and services.
- The proverbial 19th hole
After playing a round of golf, the famous 19th hole provides the perfect setting to take your newly-enhanced relationship as a marketer to the next level, or indeed to wrap up the deal discussed when playing golf. The 19th hole is simply the rest and drinks that come after playing golf and this is traditionally done in the club house.
These vital connections of golf to a marketer are pivotal in improving a marketer’s career. Golf provides all necessary connections and tributaries that feed into successful sales stories. There is a crucial link from marketing, selling and client retention. We solve seemingly difficult and impossible situations that are serious potential deal breakers with ease on the course while playing golf. Complaints are not any cause for a heart attack. The decision makers that we play golf with have become real buddies, but always, business is discussed and dealt with at the right levels with the desired seriousness resulting in speedy resolutions.
My advice to you all none-playing marketers out there is very simple, take your golf bags and get onto the course. Enjoy your golf, build relationships, get and retain business and above all, keep fit as you walk an average of 12km each time you have a round of golf. And yes, you will be on course to change your marketing career for the better.
Start by participating in our own MAZ Charity Golf Day to be held at Chapman on August 4 2017. Full Details are available at MAZ offices 21 Lezard Avenue, Milton Park or email@example.com
*Matipedza Lole, is a golfer who is an accomplished fellow marketer at MAZ, a healthcare consultant, employee benefits and insurance advisor, client relationship and management expert with BBA Marketing Management Degree (IMM), Marketing & Insurance diplomas and an MBA from Mancosa. He has attended various executive leadership courses and is currently studying for a doctorate in healthcare management.
- This article was contributed on behalf of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, a leading body of marketing professionals promoting professionalism to the highest standards for the benefit of the industry and the economy at large. For any further information, kindly contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website on www.maz.co.zw.