5 ways to rebuild relationships

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Jack Dillon shares his tips on the new reality of buying and selling merchandise post COVID-19

Everything feels different, whether at work or play. Everything in the inside world of the clubhouse and the golf shop is different too. The virus hit as spring merchandise deliveries began. At the exact moment, all boxes stopped. That meant orders for shirts, shoes, hats, balls, and everything else was either cancelled, or put on an exceptionally long pause. What a mess! That was in early March, as the sun belt was in full swing, and the north was beginning to feel the game getting closer. Although it was less than 3 months ago, it feels like years. Now, as we hear about clubhouses and pro shops opening up, serving their members and guests again, we realize there is a new reality to the buying and selling at all levels of the game.

In this current new space, many buyers do not want to see sales people, touch samples or spend time inside sales vans. There is still however, a real opportunity for merchandise sales at your golf shop. There is no larger fan than I, when it comes to building a successful golf shop.  One great common trait, all golfers acquire in time is the love of new golf gear. Golfers (including this guy), want to see and feel the latest from all top golf brands. With the reality of current social distancing rules, how do you and your suppliers create a reset on moving forward, rebuilding relationships as well as golf shop revenue?  In this highfives post I provide 5 ideas on retooling merchandise sales from vendor to golfer:

  1. Set up a call with all of your vendor representatives to ask about: current specials on 2020 merchandise, their plans for fall 2020 and spring 2021 merchandise, are they creating digital catalogues for their accounts?
  2. Set up a Zoom call with your most critical suppliers. Have them prepare a presentation to help you to reengage with the buying process.  Each rep should e-mail you the product catalogue first as prep. 
  3. Look for value for the balance of 2020.  Consumers are hurting.  Even those you are seeing a lot, are probably not looking to spend a great deal of money on any one thing. When they do buy, they will be looking for brands they trust, with superior value
  4. Look to become the full-service golf shop for your golfers. Why not provide value across every product category, besides clubs, while you showcase not only the most popular products and brands, but unique items as well.  Although this idea may need to wait until next year, it is something to consider. Build loyalty and earn their business far beyond a glove and a sleeve of golf balls
  5. As you move through the year, plan more calls with your suppliers.  Get together on video calls as often as you can with the different reps to learn about their plans, new products, and what other shops are doing to create additional business, especially amongst the many new golfers sent to golf courses care of Covid-19.  Learn their plans for 2021, as you manage your inventory down through the rest of the year.

As of the writing of this post, there is yet no new normal when it comes to the golf shop.  The shop, in my opinion is the hub, the area where people gather to socialize, shop, buy, and talk about the birdies that got away. Whether resetting the table with your suppliers or welcoming your golfers back inside, take the time to begin again.  Golfers are golfing, and sweeter words cannot be written here.  At some point your golfers will want the entire experience back again. They will want to play, shop, eat, and drink.  You too will want the proper experience again, reviewing merchandise, touching the goods, getting a feel for fabrics and colors.  Because that world is moving in baby steps, people are not yet ready.  Until then, serve your golfers as well as you can, and reset the table with your suppliers, spending time on cell and laptop. The season is in full swing and golfers are golfing.  Enjoy the sounds…

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack has been in the golf industry for 47 years.  He is a speaker, a coach, and expert in communications, operations, and merchandise.  When your team needs extra help contact Jack.  Contact Jack at 407-973-6136.  E-mail him at dillonjack53@gmail.com.

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