Last week I was in the market for new Golf Clubs. I was willing to buy, but I was not in a MUST HAVE mode. I also had just taken my kids to a driving range where they used my clubs and had a blast. I was pleasantly surprised when my 6 & 8 year-old could hit the ball GOOD with my clubs. So we set out on a mission to buy new clubs for the kids and if I found something or someone SOLD me, I’d buy new ones as well.
Our journey started at Play-It-Again Sports in Florence. We were in the store for 10-15 minutes sizing up clubs for the kids. Every few minutes I’d ask the guy working a question to which I would get a VERY generic answer like “Uh, yeah”. Now this wasn’t a kid. This was a nicely dressed adult, who looked to be the owner. He was doing “busy work” behind the counter and never ONCE offered to come out and help. My questions were begging for help. I had no idea how to fit a kid for golf clubs. He eventually came out for a second when I pushed him for help. All this while NO ONE else was in the store. It turns out they had the exact clubs we needed for a good price, so we bought them. After I got in my car I realized I had just endorsed his behavior. He did absolutely nothing to sell me and everything to turn me off. I came really close to going back in and returning the clubs, but I didn’t (wish I had now).
So our next stop was the Golf Exchange on Mall Road in Florence. Once in the store we were greeted by a few of their team and right away they started asking the right questions. The guy who helped me was awesome. He asked why I needed new clubs to see if it was my swing or the clubs that needed fixed. He asked my style of play, my experience and more importantly my BUDGET! Now we’re onto something. After an hour I told him I was going to take the kids and wife home and come back in 5 minutes so I could spend more time figuring out what I wanted. I bring this up because he now knows I live close to their store (more later on this). Less than 10 minutes later, I was back. He spent 1 hour with me showing me different clubs with the advantages and dis-advantages of each. I had narrowed my choice to a club that was a little above my budget, but I was hooked. He had showed me 3 levels, one below, one at and one above my budget. He did a great job selling me, but in a low key way. I told him I was going to go home and sleep on it and I’d be back Sunday to buy something.
To my word I showed up Sunday to buy the clubs. Now, he hooked up a machine that measured all my golf swing info to show me how the clubs compared to my current ones. The difference was immense. He had just showed me concrete BENEFITS of not only the new clubs, but doing business with The Golf Exchange. In the 2 + hours I was there he would check in on me and we would talk about other items. I loved that I could hit balls at their indoor range without someone hovering over me. I had let him know my wife and kids are just getting into golf and we had been spending a lot of time at the range. I gave him all the information he needed to know I was serious (plus you know I like to talk).
So, I bought that clubs, shook his hand and left. THEN it hit me….HE HAD NO IDEA WHO I WAS! Not that I’m somebody, but as a customer. He did not capture my name, phone #, email, address or business card. He had no way to market to me in the future. He knew I lived close, and since I spend $400+ on some gently used irons, he new I had some disposable income. Plus I told him my plans of our family starting to golf. He had a VIABLE long-term customer. BUT, he has no idea who I am or how to reach me.
Why do I point this out? It’s PROVEN that 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. And it’s a lot easier to sell to a past customer than to find and sell a new customer. He has a VERY HAPPY current customer, Why not get my info so I can become part of your 20%. Why not make sure I come back by reaching out to me with a thank you card, an email, a phone call or friend request of facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Marketing is not hard, but you MUST have the systems in place to capture your customers information so that you can build the relationship. This is a local store, so it’s not difficult to build a program to get this information
A few days later I called and asked for the owner. I explained how AWESOME my experience was and how great his employee did. THEN I broke the news to him “You don’t know who I am, you can never directly market to me again”. He was surprised by this, but understood completely. I explained to him that I wanted to see his store do well and that I’m a marketing consultant so that is why I called, to give him a “Heads-UP”. He acknowledged they dropped the ball and asked if we could get together to discuss my ideas. WOW a business owner ready to learn. I love it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pointed situations out like this to local business owners in a professional manner only to hear every excuse in the book or have it turned back on me and how they did everything right. Not this time. The owner saw a gap in their marketing plan and wants to fill it. I’ll always be a customer of theirs because of their great service and their desire to learn.
Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at email@example.com