Golf Marketing Strategy – Sales Domination

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What if you had simply had more salesmen than all your competitors?

While there are always exceptions, in just about every battle, where a small force goes up against a vastly superior force, the larger force wins!

Excludes – Just about everyone, as the golf industry hates the word sales with a passion!

Targets – Metro areas with lots of potential members, players, outings, weddings, and events.

Examples – I have several at the resort level where we have hired more sales people but I don’t have any at a club level. That doesn’t mean it won’t work, it works in every other business on earth!

Tactics: Target companies and professionals for golf outings and corporate memberships. Failing that sell them a lesson pack or gift cards to use as incentives or corporate gifts using a direct sales force!

Commentary: For several years, I offered an outbound lead generation service using telemarketing to provide clubs with outing and membership leads. The outing leads, in particular, were very valuable as they had a date in mind and so where easier to close. A few clubs made serious money from the program most did not and not because the leads were not genuine.

The problem arose when we handed a large number of leads, to untrained people at the club who had zero sales training and couldn’t have sold John Daly a beer! They made one call, seldom two and dismissed all the carefully qualified leads as bogus like poor salespeople often do to protect their own self-esteem and lack of performance.

This was brought home to me in no uncertain terms when I spoke at a sales and marketing seminar to 109 golf club membership directors. Most were from high-end clubs in Naples, Fort Myers, Palm Beach, and other high-income locations in South Florida. Most (108) were women, most were–dare I even say it‚ middle-aged like me! Most had been in their jobs for several years, so it came as something of a shock to me when I asked:

How many of you have ever had any professional sales training?

You might expect to see a lot of raised hands. After all, the job of membership director is to sell memberships and their clubs depend heavily on the income they generate from the fruits of their labor. To earn their bonuses, they have to sell above and beyond the minimum, so you might think that even if the club or their management company failed to provide any sales training (and clubs rarely do), these membership directors might just have gotten the crazy idea in their heads to seek out some training on their own.

Only two membership directors raised their hands. One had got sales training when she had worked for Mary Kay the other for Coldwell Banker real estate. Neither had training from their club or the large management companies that ran their clubs!

So I asked another question, a simpler question. How many of you have in the last year or two, read a sales book, watched a sales video or listened to a sales audiobook, any sales book?

Three raised hands, the two who had raised their hands to the first question and one other. She had read a sales book, but it was about ten years ago and she could not remember the title!

So out of 109 “professional” membership directors, only three had had any sales training in recent memory and none of them had taken specific sales training on how to sell memberships.

Opportunity: Seeing a dramatic downturn in business famed IBM CEO Thomas Watson Junior was asked what they should do in the face of such poor sales. His reply was hiring more salesman.

Most golf clubs are lucky if they have one competent salesperson few clubs have a sales system or any type of sales training. But imagine for a minute if you had not one competent salesperson but two or four or six out of the road selling memberships or outings for your club. What staggeringly different results might you see? Hiring more salespeople creates more sales and just about every business on the planet why not the golf business?

To do this you must hire real salespeople or train enthusiastic beginners really train them. When looking for salespeople look for people with hardcore sales experience people that have worked in gyms or sold newspapers, yellow page or coupon ads, not only do they know how to sell (or they would have starved) but they will also know many business people in the community who will offer immediate potential sales!

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