Prospecting on the golf course

By Bryce Sanders | July 2, 2013 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

Everyone’s heard the expression, “Business gets done on the golf course.” But not everyone knows how to do it. Here are some examples of how to get it right.

Scenario #1: Getting the Conversation Started

An advisor plays in a mixed foursome and needs to figure out how to get the other players talking about their advisors. He avoids the logoed polo shirt, golf hat, umbrella and golf bag—it’s too obvious.

Instead, he attaches a logoed luggage tag to his golf bag. It doesn’t scream business, and it doesn’t look out of place because a lot of people have similar “bag tags” on their golf bags. It will attract attention and help get a conversation going.

Read: Prospecting? Don’t be too obvious

Another player notices the tag and remarks, “You work for (firm). My advisor is with (competitor).” The advisor asks how long they’ve been working together. She answers.

The advisor asks: “What do you like best about your advisor? Would you recommend him?” If she can’t name a redeeming quality or say she wouldn’t recommend him, the advisor will politely counter: “Why do you stay with him?” If she’s dissatisfied, you know how to pick this conversation up and position yourself as the alternative.

What if she’s happy? If she mentions redeeming qualities, the advisor responds: “In what area do you think there’s room for improvement?” When a person tells you what she isn’t getting in a relationship, she’s stating what she’s looking for in the ideal relationship.

The advisor restates the point: “In the ideal relationship (or “if we ever worked together”) you would want an advisor who…” He has succeeded in getting her talking and positioned himself as the alternative.

Scenario #2: Meeting New People

The advisor is a former club pro, so he has game. He invites a client to play and asks him to bring along two guests. Before they tee off the advisor suggests the client and advisor team up and play the other pair. The advisor-client team gives the other pair a few shots a side, but they still win.

Read: How to stake out prospects

A couple weeks later the advisor calls each guest and suggests they join him for a round and invite two of their friends. They will team up and play the two new guests. This allows the advisor to meet several new people a week.

Scenario #3: Getting the Appointment

A regional Pennsylvania bank bought a commercial insurance brokerage firm. Early in his career, the founder of the firm was taught how to get established when you’re new to an area: “Join the most exclusive country club and buy a new Cadillac.” The broker said, “I can’t afford it.” He was told: “Find the money. This business is built on perception. Drive up to the most exclusive club in a new Cadillac, and people will assume you’re a successful insurance broker.”

Read: Help prospects leave their advisors

In good weather he would assemble foursomes and play a round. It might be his CPA and two of her clients. It might be chamber members. They must be small- to medium-sized business owners. Why? Those business owners belong to a club, but not the best club. They only get to play the best course when someone else takes them.

They play in the morning, and the advisor buys lunch afterwards. He asks each guest, “May I call next week and set up an appointment? I have some ideas I would like to share. I think I may be able to save you money.” He often gets the appointments.

Inviting them to an exclusive course and buying lunch places them under such a heavy obligation it’s difficult for them to refuse his request.

The golf course is a great place to do business. You just need a good strategy.

Read: Prospecting tips from group RRSP pros

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on