John Lindert: Personal Incentives to Buyers

John Lindert, the PGA of America Secretary, 2010 Michigan PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities and a Section Past President, is the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing in Lansing, Michigan.

In today’s retail world, competition is greater than ever. Mom and Pop shops battle with big box stores, who see online vendors like Amazon as their biggest competition. Even with something as specific as credit cards, the companies who offer the better rewards and greater incentives get the lion’s share of the business. We took this rewards-based philosophy and applied it to our golf shop at the Country Club of Lansing. Focusing specifically on increasing corporate sales, we offer a five percent personal incentive to the decision-maker or buyer coming in to purchase his or her company’s items in our shop. With the many golf outings we host and the great number of members we have who fall into this category, we are able to attract large corporate orders of everything from balls and shirts to an assortment of tournament prizes. And for each dollar the decision-maker spends on behalf of his or her business, he accrues five percent of the sale as personal credit. We have one gentleman who manages five golf events, none of which are played at our club. He patronizes our shop for the assurance of quality goods, the peace of mind that comes with timely and courteous service, and for the five percent shop credit he earns for himself. Our members who have businesses of their own or are in charge of corporate purchases take advantage of this offer, and others who simply refer businesses to us get the incentive as well.

The business impact of this program has been multifaceted. We are developing relationships with corporate movers and shakers from all around our area. We are also increasing sales by the word of mouth that has developed around this program. Shop revenues have increased 500 percent in the four years since I incorporated this program into our business plan. We are taking on the bigger golf stores, as well as online sales, and this program is having a huge impact on current revenues, as well as projected sales. We anticipate continued growth as word keeps spreading. A residual benefit occurs when the individuals come in to use their credit. Quite often they will end up spending even more. In this rewards- based retail environment, giving a little to gain a lot has proven highly beneficial to our Country Club of Lansing golf shop.