Joe Grohman: Have a Professional Salesman Teach Your Staff

Joe Grohman, the 2014 Southern California PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, is the PGA Head Professional at Seal Beach Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.

My idea was to have professional salesmen come in to our golf shop and train the staff on the art of selling. Even with the latest and greatest products in the shop, and with the accompanying product information at their disposal, the staff still needs to know how to sell. I discovered this when one of my PGA assistant professionals accounted for almost 50 percent of my merchandise sales. Drilling a little deeper, I discovered that my other assistants, although very nice to the customers, were not well versed on sales tactics or how to go about making a sale and were seemingly afraid to try. One of my regular customers is a very successful salesman, and he quickly agreed to come in and hold regular training sessions on sales tactics. After the first meeting in September of 2013, the staff was demonstrably fired up, so much so that I knew I was on to something good.

Bringing in the professional salesmen to train the staff was one of the best business moves we have ever made. The overall business impact has been an increase of almost 25 percent to the bottom line over the last year. Resale has increased almost 50 percent. And recently, we were awarded the 2014 Southern California PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year Award for Public Facilities. Additional benefits have been a big rise in the staff understanding the customer’s needs, which has led to a better experience. We believe this factor has led to a nine percent increase in rounds played over that same period. Lessons and equipment sales have increased, and camaraderie and morale at the course has improved exponentially because the staff is no longer intimidated by the customers and know how to show genuine care and concern without appearing presumptuous. Now, we are known locally as the place to be because we are so friendly and caring. So I highly recommend bringing in sales professionals to train your staff. The hidden benefits are just as great as the obvious ones.