A lot of businesses talk about Sales and Marketing. They speak about how they need to increase it, cut it, make it work better, hire new people to run it...but before making the needed change they say they need, I wonder if they understand how these two functions should work together?
Marketing (my definition) is anything you do on purpose to drive traffic into your business.
Sales is converting traffic into dollars for your business.
In the traditional world of selling, you often hear the term “features and benefits” thrown around, a lot. Features and benefits are cozy, often bullet-pointed phrases that make people that create them feel good after putting them on a brochure, spreadsheet-style.
They don’t work.
Members and potential members buy two things: Increased pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
Pleasure is a predictable pace of play (under four hours). Pain is slow play (five plus hours).
Pleasure is a culture that respects the course and the game. Pain is one where you constantly putt over untouched ball-marks and hear obscenities flying from two holes away.
As these relate to Sales and Marketing specifically:
You market your conditioning, you sell putts that hold their line properly over the local muni.
You market your reputation, you sell a membership base that loves and respects the game just like you.
You market a sparsely populated course because play is limited only to members, you sell the speed of the round.
You market the ease of finding a game with other members, you sell an interactive community.
“This all sounds great, but how do I translate all of this into picking up new members when they visit”?
What is the first thing vehicle sales trainees learn?
GET THE CUSTOMER IN THE CAR.
Nothing is more valuable than a positive experience.
How does your club treat potential member visits when they come to your “showroom”?
Do you hand them a shiny brochure with pictures of some of your best holes...or do you take a cart and show them your best holes?
Do you hand them a membership packet...or do you arrange for them to meet and play with similar, demographically selected members who you know will speak highly of the club?
Do you tell them about how you have the “best greens in the area”...or do you walk them out to a few of your greens with a putter and ask them to roll a few balls and let them decide if they are truly the best greens in the area?
Do you brag about how good your restaurant is and hand them a menu...or do you schedule a lunch with the potential member to let them decide for themselves if the food is as good as you say it is?
You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, but clubs throughout the country (somehow) expect potential members to join because they played once a few years ago, have a “great reputation” (does anyone ever say they have a bad one), or have it priced right with the latest membership special.
Potential members are looking for an experience that transcends the things written on your brochure or member packet, it is your choice whether you give them a memorable one.