Golf clubs, driving ranges and high street stores – who sells best

Working exclusively with GOLF RETAILING, 59club have gone under cover to analyse the differing levels of sales and service etiquette afforded to the average golfer. 

Overall perf

59club – the industry’s leading sales and customer service benchmarking company – gather its statistics by sending ghost golfers to experience the service afforded ‘as delivered’. For this article 59club called on their mystery shoppers; they were given instructions to visit a golf club shop, a driving range shop and a high street golf outlet. They were given set areas of measurement to assess ensuring all feedback was fair and non-subjective – the only anomaly is the type of shop visited.

On arrival our 59club testers were tasked with assessing the cleanliness and overall presentation of the shop and discovered that it’s the High Street outlets who came out on top having scored an impressive 95 per cent. If we break these elements down we see that the High Street scored 90 per cent for decoration, 83 per cent for the quality and upkeep of the flooring, and a flawless 100 per cent for cleanliness, 100 per cent for lighting and 100 per cent for till area presentation. The driving range shops were some 13 percentage points behind the front runners with an overall score of 82 per cent which only just pips the Golf Clubs to the post by one percentage point.

The presentation of products takes into consideration the way that items are hung or folded, it assesses whether they are displayed in the correct size order and also determines if any standard sizes are missing. It’s the high street shops who come out on top again, scoring 80 per cent, followed by the driving ranges at 73 per cent and then the golf clubs who score 63 per cent. There is a huge deficit of 17 per cent between our high-street stores and the golf club shops. Having already excelled at offering an inviting environment the presentation and levels of stock they provide are also superior.

Our mystery shoppers were instructed to pick out ten garments to quantify how many were priced and sized: success is having the right product at the right price in the right location, if stock is not labelled how can customers make a purchasing judgement? The high street shops and golf course shops receive a flawless score of 100 per cent, whilst the range shops show that they have some way to go in this area as they scored 83 per cent.

All things considered so far, the high street are leading the way, but the wind can quickly change so let’s look at another area under scrutiny and turn our focus on to the staff. The golf clubs are leading the way when it comes to their staff, with an overall score of 94 per cent. Whilst they didn’t have the best kept shop, their service is clearly their priority. They are followed by the driving ranges who scored 77 per cent. The high street stores have lost their advantage and are awarded a score of only 56 per cent for their service.

Let’s look at how these scores were earned and throw some statistics and insights at them for clarity. The assessment measures the staffs’ ability to acknowledge the mystery shopper within 20 seconds; the golf clubs scored 97 per cent, the driving ranges 67 per cent and the high-street stores 33 per cent. Customers should be met with a warm and friendly welcome which is enthusiastic and has positive intonation in one’s voice, here the golf clubs score 93 per cent, the driving ranges 83 per cent and the high street 63 per cent.

As the old saying goes, ‘smile and the whole world smiles with you’, so who’s customers were greeted with a smile? The golf clubs scored 93 per cent, the driving ranges 83 per cent and the high street 50 per cent. Good eye contact gains customer trust and when your eyes wander it appears that you are more interested in something else other than tending to the customer’s needs. The golf clubs and driving ranges both scored 97 per cent when it comes to good eye contact but the high street faltered at just 67 per cent.

Staff are assessed on their attire and on displaying their name badge. Whilst tendencies have sometimes strayed from employee name badges, there are still many positive reasons these should be present in sales environments. Trust flourishes when an employee shares their name with a customer, it demonstrates their urge to want to get to know them and also confirms that they have nothing to hide. The golf clubs score 90 per cent the high street 80 per cent and the driving ranges 47 per cent.

When customers are present stop what you are doing, even if you have a full inventory, or you have just received a delivery. Remember, without customers you wouldn’t have the job to do in the first place. Allow customers time to browse, but don’t let them feel neglected. Always approach a customer within a minute of their interest in a specific product to demonstrate your desire to assist. The golf clubs don’t let us down with a solid 97 per cent, whilst the driving range scores 67 per cent and the high street a disappointing 33 per cent.

As we move to the sales approach, 59club clients know that they will lose marks if they use a ‘closed’ question, for the age old and quite frankly sale destroying phrase, “How can I help?” has no place in the 59club sales process. Instead we expect the employee to approach the customer and open up sale related conversation. For example, if someone was looking at your selection of Drivers, you might ask what make they currently use and how do they get on with it, both open and engaging questions. When assessed in this area, the golf clubs scored 97 per cent, whilst the driving range and high street shops both scored 33 per cent.

When you can see a customer homing in on a particular item it’s your opportunity to point out its features and benefits. They have chosen to walk into your store, as opposed to shopping online or elsewhere, because of your expertise. So enlighten them by demonstrating your knowledge by discussing the merits of the product. The golf clubs have this in the bag as they scored 97 per cent with the high street and range only getting 67 per cent.

When it comes to knowing their prices and how the products compare to others within the same bracket, the golf clubs scored 97 per cent, driving ranges 90 per cent and the high street 67 per cent. Upselling related sale items are easy add-ons and easy wins as far as your profits go. The golf clubs are the only success story and they scored 67 per cent for their upselling skills, whist both the driving ranges and high street stores failed to attempt to introduce any additional items. When closing the sale, 59club criteria expects staff to ask for the customer’s decision. It’s the driving range who came out on top and scored an impressive 93 per cent whilst the golf clubs and the high street both achieved just 67 per cent.

The testers were then asked for their subjective opinion – based on your experience, did you feel inspired enough to make a purchase? The golf clubs achieved an impressive 93 per cent, the driving range 67 per cent and the high street 50 per cent. Despite the high street stores having the best presented shop and stock, their staff attitude and sales techniques let them down thus achieving an overall score for the entire sales enquiry of just 64 per cent. This paved the way for the golf clubs to win business and ultimately build customer loyalty with an overall score of 87 per cent. As for the driving ranges they sit somewhere in between, achieving 74 per cent.

In our next GOLF RETAILING exclusive feature we will go under cover and assess the differing levels of service when testing our trio for their custom fitting techniques. If this article has inspired you and you are interested in developing your sales and service etiquette, be sure to consider how 59club can work for you.