With opinion leaders like realtors, cab drivers, concierges, barmen, hairdressers etc.
Excludes – Lower-end clubs with no formal dining area. Works better with private clubs and higher-end daily fees. Mainly because the legwork involved will raise marketing costs.
Targets – Newcomers to the area, high traffic resort areas.
Examples – Courses in Las Vegas, Orlando, Marbella and other high traffic tourist areas but also works in any local area.
Tactics: Identify the 4 or 5 key realtors in your area, those realtors who are the top performers and make the most sales. Just drive around and see who has the most signs J Provide them a complimentary social membership and encourage them to bring prospective homebuyers to the club for lunch. Be sure the staff alerts the membership director if a realtor is in the club with a potential new community resident. Consider buying lunch or giving them a $500 credit to use for hosting new area residents!
Sell rounds to local hotels at a discount so they can offer golf packages to their guests and make a small profit from doing so.
Commentary: Many clubs give top realtors free social memberships in the hope that they will use the club for entertaining guests; therefore, exposing people new to the area to your club first. Five top realtors can bring a lot of people through the club’s doors over the course of the year and by the time people buy, they have often already made the decision of where to join. This makes it important to get to them first and a realtor is that frontline player.
Opportunity: A few years ago, I read a book on marketing, which was about the incredible value of opinion leaders. In it, the writer detailed how Hush Puppy the famous shoe company had all but made the decision to shut down operations in 1995 when sales of their once popular shoes dipped below 30,000 pairs. Then a very strange thing happened. Some kids in the Village section of New York started to wear the shoes probably because no one else was wearing them. No one knows for sure how many kids started doing this, but the book suggests less than 50 maybe as few as 30. But while the numbers were few their influence was not! All these kids were opinion leaders in the local dance clubs of lower Manhattan. Their friends and followers started to buy Hush Puppies.
A famous New York designer noticed that the “cool kids” were wearing Hush Puppies. He featured the shoes in his fall collection. Another designer noticed the same thing and opened a Hush Puppies store in Manhattan. Suddenly a bunch of kids had done something that no amount of marketing dollars could have done; they made Hush Puppies cool again! The following year the company sold over a million pairs of shoes.
Target the Leaders the Rest Will Follow
When I built my karate empire in the mid-nineties, I realized early on that the fractionalized world of martial arts was controlled by the opinion of less than 200 school owners. I deliberately targeted only these top martial arts schools. Through a series of surveys, seminars, interviews as well as looking at the list of top schools available through billing companies. I was able to quickly and easily pinpoint the top 200 schools in the country. I then used my Martial Arts Business Magazine and my annual convention, The Mastermind weekend to invite these 200 schools to pay to attend my seminar while at the same time accepting an award that evening at a banquet as one of the top 200 schools in America.
This simple strategy of focusing all my energy on re-flagging the best schools in the country while ignoring the 12,000 also-ran schools allowed the Masters Club to grow from zero to over four hundred schools in just four years with 156 of the school re-flagging to my franchise.
By focusing on only the top 200 schools’ I was able to attract, not only people who could afford my program but also people who were already of unique influence. Many had second schools or were influential in the various associations. One school owner alone brought over 100 schools to the Masters Club thus clearly demonstrating the incredible value of targeting a small group of opinion leaders. The fact the well-known master was willing to take down his name and put up the Martial Arts America logo was a very powerful endorsement of the strength and quality of our program.
This phenomenon exists in every business in the form of the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. In some cases, it might even be the 95/5 rule, but while everyone knows the rule’s existence hardly any course does anything about trying to find who his or her opinion leaders are!
Who are the opinion leaders in your club?
Who are the opinion leaders in your community?
Are they on a separate database?
What have you done for them lately?
Start your search for opinion leaders. At home, break out your membership roster and go through it one by one with your staff.
• Where do they work?
• Is it a large organization?
• Are they in a position of leadership?
• What charities, churches or organizations are they involved in? (Are they in a leadership position?)
• Who are their friends? (Are they well known? Are they in a position of leadership?)
I have never done this exercise where the club has not immediately come up with 15-20 people who were very strong opinion leaders to a large number of people in their various capacities.
Next, I would work on the local community;
The top executives whose faces you always see in charity golf classics and the guy from the club down the street who has already told you that he and a bunch of his buddies are NOT HAPPY!
Pick fifty plus people based on their network and influence in the community. Be aggressive in your efforts to help the “Heart Ball” run by the top surgeon in town, who just happens to be an avid golfer! Donate a foursome to the local radio jock, to help raise money for abused women.
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