Pro Shop
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Pro Shop

PROSHOPCHRIS BILLINGSINCREASE SALESOperating a successful professional golfretail shop can be hard work but I guaranteeit can be rewarding for both theindividuals working the pro shop, andmore importantly, for your entire golfoperation. Our golfers are spendingmoney on equipment, clothes and othergolf related products all in the hope ofhaving more fun playing this great sport.Competition with big box stores andonline is always going to exist and Ibelieve competition is healthy if you arewilling to actually compete. Don’t ignorethose dollars that the people who areusing your facility to golf will spend onother items if given the environment andopportunity to do so.Each of our operations is unique inits own way. We need to understand whatwe are realistically capable of and then doit to the best of our ability. Having asuccessful retail operation adds to yourfacility’s image. We need to understandsome basic retail principals and thenfollow through.TRAIN TO SELLAs an industry we do not train our peoplehow to sell. Not enough time is takeninto training/educating our sales people.Creating a culture of selling is the firststep in the process. Competition is at itsall time highest and you need to makeyourself unique. We operate our retailoperation on the basis that it is notenough to have an outstanding productor service. Your sales approach mattersjust as much as what you’re selling. Youneed to create a connection with the customerby bringing your own personaltouches to the sales process. At the end ofthe day, people buy from people.I believe in creating a fun retailoperation combined with humour.Everyone has their ideas on making thegame more fun so more people will play,well why not begin with the pro shop. Ibelieve bringing some humour into theconversation lightens the mood and thecustomer becomes more relaxed. Thisrelaxed atmosphere better enables us toeducate the customer on the benefits ofthe product they are looking at.Tips ToIncreasePro ShopProfit36Spring 2012 GOLF BUSINESS CANADA GOLF BUSINESS CANADA Spring 201237

PROSHOP38Having a big yardsale at the beginningof the season mayintroduce customersto your facility thatnormally do not visityour facility.In order to be a successful salesperson you need to know the product.Your staff must be knowledgeable aboutthe products as your customers will be.Use your suppliers to educate your staffabout their products. Suppliers are nowstarting to brand their own online productknowledge methods and some areeven rewarding those that take time to gothrough and pass their product knowledgetests (Ex: FootJoy university).There are many different salesphilosophies and theories but I believethat the majority of purchases we makeare based on emotion. It may be a rationaldecision at the end but it more thanlikely began with emotion. Your salesstaff needs to be genuine and truly interestedin making your customer’s golfexperience more enjoyable and that customerexperience can be increased withimproving their game with equipmentand/or lessons. This emotional connectionwith the customer instils trust. Golfprofessionals have a level of trust that isgiven to them based on their knowledgeand experience. Use your golf professionalsin educating your customers on allaspects of game. Host information sessionswith your customers and showthem that you want them to enjoy yourfacility by playing their best golf.UNIQUE PROMOTIONSTake the time to set out a promotionalschedule for the season. You may need toadapt during the season but taking thetime to plan will allow you to be moreorganized and allow you to track the successof each promotion. The key topromotions is creating a buzz. Peoplegravitate to crowds and for the most partthey follow. Have you ever been to a malland seen a big crowd around a store,before you know it, you are making yourway over to see what all the fuss is about.You may have even spent some of yourhard earned money on the basis thateveryone is telling you how it is a greatdeal.Engage your staff in the process anddon’t be afraid to get crazy. The crazierthe better. Humour and fun promotionsare both entertaining and financiallyrewarding. Everyone wants to have funand our customers are more willing tospend their hard earned money whenthey are in an enlightened mood. Ourmore successful promotions are thosethat involve our staff interacting with thecustomers. It becomes obvious that thepersonal relationships between our staffand our members/customers is responsiblefor the majority of the promotionalsales. It is difficult for a member to say noto a staff member who is making a fool ofthemselves. Have a staff member imitatetheir favourite professional golfer and letthem sell the product that their PGA orLPGA golfer endorses. I would alwaysrecommend turning a promotion into asales competition with your staff.One great promotion to run whichis a huge draw is a yard sale. Have all ofyour managers clean up their areas, bringin any old items that might have someuse to someone and advertise a massivegolf yard sale. You will be surprised byhow much you can clean up and whatpeople will pay for. Old fitting golf clubs,used clubs and golf bags are great drawsand you may be able to find some closeoutspecials with a supplier.Having a big yard sale at the beginningof the season may introduce customersto your facility that normally donot visit your facility. A yard sale is theonly time I would recommend some ofthe traditional media outlets (local radioand newspaper). There are a lot of thingsyou can do with a yard sale such as engaginga local charity to participate anddonating some of the proceeds to them.THE ONLINE WORLDIn this day and age you need to useonline marketing methods to bring inmore customers. On-course retail shopsare already fortunate to have customersvisiting our facility to golf, allowing usthe opportunity to sell them productfrom our retail operation. Most retailoperators need to invest in acquiring customers.This is why it is important toSpring 2012GOLF BUSINESS CANADAIncrease yourrevenues thisgolf seasonParticipate in the Golf Industry Barometer TODAY to receivethe benchmarking reports below to grow your business1. Revenue Per Round: By reacting to trends in this report, operators can easily and quicklyadjust their strategies to ensure numbers shows growth instead of decline.2. Average Revenue Per Available Tee Time: This number represents what revenues yourfull tee sheet should generate. It should be as close to your revenue per round as youcan get it.3. Rounds By Type: Will show the mix in types of rounds and where efforts could be madeto generate additional rounds. It will also show changes in the trendsregarding the type of golf rounds being played4. Revenue By Category: Provides the revenue mix at a facility and where upselling opportunitiesmay exist.For more information, contact the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada at866-626-4262 or to sign up contact Janet Jones, at or 204-282-6422.

PROSHOPcapture as much information as possiblefrom your customers. Have draws/rafflesand have your customers fill out surveyswith their contact information and anyother info that may be helpful to have(shoe/shirt/pant sizes, favourite color,and preferable golf brand).Use this information to keep yourcustomers informed via social media andstandard emails. There are some inexpensiveand effective software programs tohelp with your online marketing. Yoursuppliers should be willing to send youelectronic information (PDFs) regardingtheir product. We make some minoredits to the information to include ourfacility’s brand with the suppliers. Theseadvertising methods are more effective asthe consumer has already shown a captiveinterest in your product.Take the time to produce an electroniccorporate catalogue. We use thiswith our members who own their ownbusinesses. I see this as an opportunity toreward (by offering special pricing to)customers who are already spending theirleisure dollars with us. We should takeevery opportunity to earn their businessdollars. They often recommend us totheir business associates which occasionallyleads to additional business. I find itan extremely easy sell to send off an emailwith the catalogue attached and then askthem to let me know if they need anything.This has lead to annual ordersfrom these businesses.DAILY EVENTSRun daily competitions and issue giftcards/certificates to your retail operation.It seems like some golfers like to makewagers and they also seem to love competition.Why not take advantage of thisand sell some product at the same time.Hopefully you are currently doing“hit the green” or “beat the pro” competitions.These simple little programs canhelp with additional sales. On a granderscale you may want to consider a Pro’s vs.Joe’s match. We conducted one of theseto help raise funds for some our staff whowere attending national events. Two ofour professionals played two of our topamateur players in an exhibition match.On Course Merchandising withFootJoy Spider PromoMembers and guests donated money andwe gave them a gift certificate to the proshop for the amount they donated. Theyalso had an opportunity to double theamount if the amateurs won the match.We had a goal in mind of what we wantedto raise and all monies over that goalwent into the gift certificate sales. It createda great atmosphere with membersfollowing the match and luckily the proswon. We have minor restrictions (i.e.:soft good products only) on some of ourspecial promotional gift certificates. Iwould recommend running one of theseevents to create some atmosphere andgood banter with the members and yourstaff. You may be surprised on how muchpeople will wager.Member events are one of the mosteffective ways to increase sales in yourpro shop. You should always include aportion of the entry fees to go toward proshop gift certificates. Our ladies nights,men’s nights, social leagues, juniorleagues are great vehicles for additionalsales.FINAL TIPSMake sure that you and your staff takethe time to get to know the customers,especially your best customers. Let themknow that you appreciate their patronageand it is not lost on you that they couldpurchase their items elsewhere. Makingthe personal connection with your customersis the most important thing youcan do. If we operate on the 80/20Example of having fun in thepro shop.principal then there is no reason your keystaff do not know the names of 20 percent of your members/golfers.The key to being able to operatewith some of these ideas is to buy smartand work as a team with your staff.Professional development is key to ourindividual successes. Our facilities willprosper if we succeed so look outside andfind ideas from your competitors andyour colleagues. We sometimes getcaught as an industry of staying in ourown bubble, but we also need to lookoutside to life trends and find ways ofincorporating the trends that are successfulinto the golf industry. Most of the tipsdiscussed in this article are basic itemsyou can easily adapt for your pro shopand I challenge you to implement someof them in your retail operation.CHRISBILLINGSChris Billings has been amember of the KingswoodTeam since its opening in2001 and is a proud PGA ofCanada member. Chris wasawarded the 2010 CanadianPGA Atlantic Merchandiser ofthe Year. Contact Chris atcbilling@kingswoodpark.com40Spring 2012GOLF BUSINESS CANADA

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