Golf: Why it’s time to embrace the ‘dirty’ world of Selling

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‘Selling’ is still seen as a dirty word by a huge number of people. I’ve been there – meeting someone and having the standard topic of ‘what do you do for work?’ come up. “I’m in sales” I reply – to which I am often subjected to “Oh god you’re one of those pesky salesmen, are you?”

I have just found an article online dated August 1998 about how ‘sales’ is no longer a dirty word. So this has clearly been debated for a while now and yet attitudes don’t seem to have changed much. And despite the fact that the most successful companies in the world have enormous teams full of proactive sales people, why are some of the smaller organisations – particularly in the world of golf still so reluctant to do something similar? Do small businesses still feel sales teams only have a place in the corporate world?

Let’s face it. The attitude isn’t going to change overnight. But with all the technology available, why is it more important than ever for small businesses such as golf clubs to install sales team strategies?

We all know the connotation – nobody likes being sold to. Well, this isn’t strictly true. I agree to a certain extent – people don’t like to be sold something they know nothing about – making the traditional role of a door to door salesperson defunct. However, people do like to find out more information about something they are interested in. Figures suggest that a consumer is on average around 80% of their way through the purchasing process by the time they make first contact with a salesperson. This is of no surprise considering the amount of information freely available at the touch of a screen. Therefore, how do we create a model that identifies where people are in their purchasing process and how best to approach them? Before we do this though, we need to establish exactly what their interest is in. In a business as multifaceted as a golf facility, how can we be sure we’re not selling a green fee to a bride-to-be looking for a wedding venue?

There is plenty of basic technology available that is smart enough to establish what a potential customer is interested in – what they’ve clicked on in an email; what pages they’ve stayed on on your website; what they’ve reacted to on Facebook. All these behaviours give a good indication as to what someone is considering. Tracking their level of interest is also easy. There are a number of software packages which provide a scoring system based on these behaviours to help identify where someone is in their purchasing process.

This kind of technology gives the business an insight into the customer journey throughout and gives the sales team the opportunity to sell smarter. They are providing the customer with information on a product/service they want at a time that suits the customer. The chances are, if they’re looking at your online activity, they’re probably looking at other local facilities also. Popping a quick email over with some further information or an offer to suit them is proactive and will make your business stand out.

Why not incentivise your pro shop or reception staff to bring in new business? While they may have a quiet afternoon in the week, encourage them to be proactive by following up on the new customer leads that have been identified by your online activity. A weekly prize to the most proactive salesperson could lead to an extra golf society or new member a week – what impact would this have on your business?

‘Selling’ isn’t a dirty word. And a sales team strategy isn’t limited to the large corporate entities. It’s simply the difference between a reactive and proactive organisation. If you’d like to discuss sales models in more detail for your organisation, please get in touch.

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