A different week in Orlando

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Image courtesy Konstiantyn/Adobe Stock

Still battling through the pandemic, the game is working hard to find range balls, employees, and good health for the folks working at every property, across the entire industry. As suppliers, buyers, and PGA members prepare for a very different PGA Show, I have a few thoughts about how to get the most out of the time you are in Orlando. No secrets here: it is still important to plan your days, no matter who is coming, and who is staying home.

The Show will have far fewer vendors. Many of the hard goods suppliers have decided not to come to the 2022 event. Many suppliers in other critical categories have also decided to save their money this year. If you are planning to go, here are three ideas to consider as you pack your masks, sanitizers and grit, preparing for the view from the center ring, at 35,000 feet. One of the things you can do leading up to the Show is to find out who is also headed south. Grab the final supplier attendee list from the PGA Show website. Contact your local reps, as well as members of your community, asking who is headed to I-drive. Here are my three key thoughts about how to be productive while in the Sunshine State:

  1. Take time to seek out new and small suppliers: every vendor wants your business. As someone who has spent 11 years with challenger brands, know every brand works hard to build product that aims to get your attention and your business. What is missing is real marketing money. There is no large advertising spend with challenger brands. With fewer people roaming the hall, seek out those brands you have briskly strolled by in years past. With a green grass shop being more like a toy-like gift shop for golfers, you will find some very solid product as you navigate these small, strange, new surroundings.
  2. Spend more time in each booth: instead of being on a 15- or 20-minute schedule, spend extra time getting educated on the apparel, shoes, hats, and accessories that can make up a nice percentage of your shops’ profit margin. The product categories beyond drivers, irons, wedges, and putters bring in less dollars, but a far higher gross margin percentage. Spend more time, ask more questions, test a few new products for the shop.
  3. Manage your time off the Show floor: every attendee is having coffee or breakfast or other refreshments somewhere close by during the week. Many great relationships are formed beyond the halls of an event. Search to find out where key people are staying or spend time in the popular spots around I-drive. Getting to know some of the decision makers from your industry, even just a few, is a blast: getting them to know you is…priceless.

There is much to do at the PGA Show: the obvious, and the not-so-obvious. Building your network, acquiring knowledge about more products and brands, and just getting to meet people beyond the “Hi, I’m Jack,” is valuable now, but more valuable for your future. Be safe, enjoy Orlando, and move off the 50-yard line to get to know more about your industry. See you there!

Jack Dillon writes the IN MY OPINION post. Jack has been in golf since 1973. He is a speaker, consultant, and an expert in purchasing, communications, content production, and operations. Jack has a new book: Jump the Line: 101 Lessons for Professional Success. He can help you build a better golf shop and a better team. Reach out to Jack at: 407-973-6136, or at jackd@careerdividends.com. Jack lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

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