Recently I was on a trip visiting prospective clients that included a golf school, a new resort and a couple of semi private golf clubs. All were struggling for business, but the golf school in particular reminded me of my days in the karate business. Several talented golf technicians, all with the latest equipment and years of teaching experience were housed in an exquisite brand new facility. Like karate teachers, they can talk shop all day long, exchanging the latest techniques in search of perfection. And, as in the karate business, their facility, talent and experience mean NOTHING if they can’t sell!
It’s the entrepreneurial curse on steroids. A mechanic fixes cars but has no clue how to attract and maintain customers; they just sort of appear. 99% of all small business owners fall into the trap of focusing on what they do rather than running a business. In every business from IBM to single-person lawn care services, there are 5 key departments that must be run with more or less equal efficiency, namely:
• Research & Development
Almost every business in the world, small or large, spends some time paying bills but little time budgeting or forecasting. Spends some time thinking of ads but no time developing a complete year-long marketing plan. Sales are made only when people ask to buy. Research and development is almost nonexistent and 95% of the time is spent on operations, fixing cars, baking pies or cutting grass.
Contrary to what most people might think or wish, the most successful businesses in the world are not the ones with the best products or services (those that are, are the exception, not the rule). Ever call Microsoft, Sony or Bank of America or Santander for help? The most successful businesses are the ones with decent marketing plans for generating leads and the best sales strategies for closing them.
In the late seventies and early eighties Chuck Norris was world karate champion and a fledging movie star. Yet all three of the karate studios he tried to start went quickly bankrupt! I asked him once why he thought that was, and he replied, “I was the world karate champion and I thought everyone who came to my school would want to be a world champion as well.”
In other words, he built a school and thought students would come. The few that did come were taught like boot camp recruits to make them tough. But instead of getting tough, they quit! Meanwhile a bunch of mediocre instructors (like me!) raked in millions by realizing that being able to sell karate lessons was far more important than being world champion!
This is a difficult concept for most people to accept because most golf course owners, club managers or golf pros don’t like to sell!
They don’t like the thought of being a salesman. They don’t like the rejection that comes with selling, so instead they tinker with the greens, the clubhouse or service. They talk about their experience, their philosophy, their quality, and the price of coffee in Bolivia. In fact they talk and do anything they can to fill their day other than pick up the phone and start SELLING!
These people never measure success in financial terms. They can’t — it’s too painful to accept that someone with their skills could struggle through life in a five-yearold Buick Regal. You can talk about the economy, the Middle East, the weather or the competition down the street, but there is only one reason most clubs fail!
Lack of sales!
That reason is not much of a shock. The question is, why does the golf businesses put so little emphasis on sales? Why don’t they design a sales manual? Take sales training? Buy sales audiobooks? Hire people who can sell rather than talk?
Now there’s an idea!
Most Club’s Still Don’t Take Sales Seriously
One in a thousand clubs offer their staff ongoing sales training. And so seldom, if ever, does anyone actually try to upsell a player that’s standing right in front of him or her or talking to him or her on the phone.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars a year are squandered by a simple lack of effort! If you can’t afford sales training in person, buy a sales DVD, audio or, heaven forbid, a book.
Suggest your staff read it… if they don’t ….FIRE THEM!
We have just completed three on-site visits to systemize sales training at two private clubs and one resort. The training includes detailed manuals, scripts and coaching on how to present, handle objections and close.
How much more money will these clubs make if they improve their closing ratio just 5%?
What if it is 10 or 20%!
There is no quicker way to increased profits than sales training and systemization of your sales process. REMEMBER, your fixed costs are the same whether your employees sell one out of every twenty prospects or one out of every two!!!
It never fails to astonish me how bad the sales culture is in the golf industry.
You can do this on the Cheap:
Buy a sales book; it doesn’t even have to be mine, although you won’t find a better one for under $40
Your people won’t read (DON’T GET ME STARTED). Ok, then buy them some sales audios for $149 and suggest they listen on the way to work everyday!
Buy specific sales manuals on membership sales — $197 http://golfmembershipsales.com
That’s it for the cheap ideas but you could also:
Take the staff to a sales seminar. My Boot Camp would be a good start but anything local will still help.
Bring in a sales trainer even if that was a few thousand bucks — the upside will be immediate!
Imagine for a minute your golf course has NO GRASS. Well, that’s about what it’s like running a business without trained sales people. It’s that important!
The simplest of improvements on how people answer questions on the phone can easily result in a 5% or 10% increase in revenue!
Train your staff to sell. If you don’t, you are just throwing most of your marketing budget to the wind!