February 26, 2011

Networking site links golf, business

Trent Moller knows the value of networking. With 13 years of sales experience, he also knows how tough cold-calling can be.

"It's no fun on both ends," the Peoria resident said.

He believes he has a solution.

This month, Moller launched Green Fairways Networking. It's like match.com for potential business allies, who could tee off on the golf course.

Anyone with a product or an idea to sell can sign up on the company website (greenfairwaysnetworking.com), posting information about themselves and what they're selling. Other business professionals who want more information about the product or idea can also sign up as potential customers.

If the potential customer or VIP is interested in hearing more, the salesperson or host takes the VIP out for a round of golf to talk about the concept and develop a business relationship.

The Republic chatted with Moller about the concept and why he believes it's better than cold-calling to snag a deal.

Question: How did you come up with the idea?

Answer: I was supposed to make cold calls one day and not being excited about the prospect of calling mindlessly for four hours, I kind of just thought to myself, "I'd rather pay for a round of golf and take a potential customer golfing. That would be a better use of my time."

Q: Tell me more about the concept.

A: The hosts and the VIPs can sign up and search for potential customers or sellers. As a seller, I can search the criteria of the person I want to meet, be it someone in the financial industry or hospitality or anything.

I could search for a person by their position in the company or by their location. So, I can tailor my search to fit my needs. The VIPs will only be identified by a user name, so they don't have to reveal themselves unless they want to physically meet a person for a round of golf. But if they do, then the sellers at least know they have a potential customer who's all ears.

As a VIP, by signing up for this, I know the salesperson is more legitimate if they're willing to take me golfing. As a salesperson, I know I have a better chance of selling something if I have that much time with them.

Q: Doesn't golf-course networking already happen?

A: Golf and business is a pretty good marriage, but no one's doing it like this. The kind of networking you see on the golf course typically is where people take those who are already their customers out for a round of golf or do meetings with them. But as far as meeting on the golf course for the first time, that doesn't really happen. This is a more strategic way to meet someone. This is also different from attending networking events because in those you have to sift through a lot of people before hitting the right ones. Through this website, you can network strategically.

Q: What's the miracle of the golf course?

A: Golf is a great sport and a golf course is a great environment to get to know someone. You're together with them for four hours, doing something you enjoy. It's a lot different from being at a Suns game or a concert because there you're more focused on that event.

In golf, you're with someone in a cart, you're enjoying your day outside. And you can get to know someone's character even by the way they play the game.

by Sonu Munshi The Arizona Republic Feb. 26, 2011 12:00 AM

Networking site links golf, business

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