5. Hire ONLY genuinely nice people. You can’t teach nice. Most people either have it or they don’t, agreed? It’s no accident Chic-fil-a consistently hires great people while their competitor’s seem to hire the nail-chewing-could-care-less-if-you-walked-in-the-door employee. I would rather be served by an extremely friendly and slightly incompetent person, than the reverse, and so would most of your guests.
I turned thirty-nine today and my wife asked, “if you could do anything you wanted today, what would it be”? I said (of course), “probably play golf”.
Before I left out, I checked my phone which was going crazy with emails from friends wishing me a great day…and even more surprising was the number of emails I received from businesses offering me “Free dessert for your special day” or “Free Appetizer in the next week as a thank you for my loyalty as customer”.
What neat offer did I receive from the area golf courses I play? Nada.
Did I expect something from them? No, not really but I find it strange that restaurants I barely spend $300 a year with or less send me offers, but none of the area golf courses do, and I’ll assure you, I spend quite a bit more playing golf.
“Our customers don’t like giving out their personal information…”
“We don’t have a very good way to track birthdays in our system…”
Then how do other businesses do it?
My course of choice could have been an easy win for some proactive owner or GM if they would have sent any of the following:
“Bring three of your friends and your round/cart is on us! Happy Birthday”!
“Complimentary greens fee on your Birthday! Thanks for being a loyal customer”!
“Come into Shady Tree golf club and receive a free sleeve of Pro V’s for your Special Day with Round of Golf”!
Guess how many people I would have told had I received an offer like any of the above?
It makes you wonder…when margins are tight and the number of rounds played is down, some things never change.
In a down economy, being all things to all people is usually a fiscal loser. It is impossible to please everyone, but many businesses in a good economy can get away with it solely because of the economy. Specialization, unless you are selling commodities (think Wal-mart), is the trend today especially with businesses that rely heavily on service as their calling card.
When I say “Starbucks”, what comes to mind?
When I say “Donald Ross course”, what does that name conjure?
When someone mentions your golf course or club, what image comes to your customers mind? And more importantly, is that the message you were hoping to convey?
Your message or identity has nothing to do with the feel-good mission statements of the 90’s that no one read but President’s of many top companies spent days crafting (and framing), today, it has to do with your viability!
What should your Private club or course do in the next thirty days?
1. Identify your identity. Are you a Golf club or Country Club? An upscale public course or more of a beginner course that people can get around quickly on?
2. Live your identity. If you are a Golf club, make the Golf course the star. If you are a country club, make the events and family atmosphere your focus. If you are known as the beginner’s course in town, find a way to make it more novice friendly.
3. If you can’t raise your price, Raise your value proposition. If you are a Private club trying to grow Golf members, why does the Tennis pro always have more events than your Golf pro? How many email blasts a year do you send to your customers offering them tips on the golf swing?
4. Change your marketing! Most Private and public course websites stink! If you haven’t changed the look of your site since Presient Bush left office, you might re-visit what has become the most common way people view your business today.
▪ Are your pictures up to date or do you still have those embarrassing one’s of your ‘gym’ circa 1987?
▪ Were your website pictures professionally shot or do they look like someone took them on their iPhone?
▪ Is your site easy to navigate?
▪ Why are you hiding your club’s monthly newsletter?
▪ Golf is subsidizing your food and beverage business, why does your food/beverage business appear to be the focus?
▪ Does your website build enough interest that people will come back again and again
▪ What compelling reason would a person have to visit your club or course after viewing your website?
5. Survey your best clients (do you know who they are individually?). Find out why they come back consistently. Find out their likes and dislikes. Ask them for suggestions…and then listen closely, don’t justify anything, just listen. Whatever they say will probably be the thing you need to keep doing or implement going forward.
“I doubt any of my customers would fill out comment cards…we have tried that”.
I didn’t say, “fill out a comment card”? Meet with them. Buy them lunch. I guarantee, it will be the best $7-10 you ever spent.