Bill Pollert, the Indiana PGA Section Secretary and 2014 Section Horton Smith Award winner, is the PGA Director of Golf and Club Operations at Highland Golf and Country Club, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
These days it’s easy for us to be so focused on growing our customer base, rounds played and shop revenue, that we forget to acknowledge the most dedicated customers and supporters of our club. Several years ago I realized that a large percentage of business was coming from a small core group of my membership, similar to the old 80/20 rule. While my instincts immediately led me to think about ways to grow my sales with those who were not spending much money in the golf shop, it also dawned on me to thank the ones who were, and ensure they wanted to continue to do so. This led to a variety of initiatives I undertook, but two that were successful have been: 1) Hand- Written Thank You Notes. Every year I personally write 80–100 thank you notes to my best supporters. I am sure to personalize these notes with specific details about items they may have purchased or even inquire about how a new piece of equipment has been working for them. 2) “Exclusive” Buying Opportunities: Once a year (usually around the holidays) I partner up with one of my sales representatives to create a unique buying opportunity for my best supporters. I work with the representatives to secure great pricing on specific items and invite my members to a special shopping night at the club.
During these special shopping events I typically invite 30–50 of my best supporters, and the direct sales that come from these events have been between $8,000 and $12,000. Since I am receiving great pricing from my sales representatives I am able to make a solid margin of 30–35 percent, which gives me between $2,500 and $3,500 of revenue from one night. It is more difficult to quantify the direct benefit of the thank you cards, but it is safe to say that they have had a dramatic effect on business in our golf shop. Year-round I am reminded and thanked by members for simply taking a moment to acknowledge them for their support, and because of the simple act of me saying thank you, they plan to remain loyal customers of our shop. This has led to members returning to make major purchases, such as clubs or large special- order apparel requests.