Most of us have participated in or been invited to a golf tournament in our careers. Often these are over-the-top affairs with great meals, fantastic prizes and cost a huge amount of money. Over the years there has been a change in the landscape so more and more tournaments have added a charitable component but still offer great meals, fantastic prizes, and still cost a huge amount of money — yet now the competitors help pay for it.
Golf tournaments come in all shapes and sizes. From the bare bones — half day shotgun tournament followed by dinner — to the truly outlandish tournaments where you are sized up for clothing, shoes, clubs before the round then have a 5 star meal with a prize table that includes big screen TV’s and laptops. Many tournaments offer prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive or best score — a hole in one may even fetch you a new car.
So what is a firm to do? How much should you spend? And what is the business development opportunity?
Lets be honest: everyone likes stuff — especially nice stuff. So when you show up to a tournament and you are being outfitted with a nice shirt and pair of shoes it feels good. The experience is memorable and you will likely tell your friends when you are playing a round later on that the shoes you are wearing were given to you at a tournament. Later when you show off the new iPad that you won you will feel on top of the world. Very cool.
At the other end of the spectrum if a firm puts together a really great day and spends a lot of time and effort making sure the people playing with each other make sense from a personality and professional perspective clients will come away very thankful and satisfied. Also very cool.
What about the business development opportunity? It is often said that a round of golf with a client provides you with the ability to work out a boardroom transaction. You’re on the course with the person for five hours getting to know each other socially, which generally makes working together much easier. You are also likely to gather information on the clients business that you may not have known about through regular conversations. All good.
Where the golf tournament excels is the ability to bring people together. As the lawyer you can help clients by introducing them to other clients in a very low stress environment. Clients expect their lawyer to help them with their business so introducing them to potential partners or clients is a winning situation.
These days everyone has a tournament and each tries to stand out in its own way. Yours doesn’t have to be the biggest and flashiest to ensure your clients have an enjoyable day. The firm’s goal should be to stand out to their client base and deliver on a promise that is in alignment with the firm’s culture, commitment, and brand.
Although a new pair of shoes is pretty sweet.