Converting record survey leads to retail sales

    Foremost’s biennial EMP (Elite Marketing Programme) Customer Survey helped to develop business and retail opportunities for member professionals to act on through winter months and into the new season.

    48,998 golfers from across Foremost members’ databases replied to the group’s latest survey, providing unparalleled insights and opportunities for member professionals and EMP supplier partners alike. Covering a broad spectrum of questions, the influential survey, which took around eight minutes to complete, delved into golfers’ current equipment, experience with lessons and fitting, and what brands they were interested to try next, as well as gender, age, and handicap.

    Completed by golfers through October 2021 and fully compiled and presented to pros in November, the survey results armed Foremost members with a deep dive on the preferences of their local customers ahead of the winter golfing months.

    The response to the 2021 customer survey demonstrates the powerful connection that the Elite Marketing Programme helps Foremost member professionals to establish within their community and an impressive 80% of total respondents said they were happy to be contacted off the back of the survey.

    We spoke to two Foremost members who have generated increased sales and engagement directly off the back of their 2021 survey results. Steve White, Head Pro at Thurlestone Golf Club in Devon, and Craig Knowles of Arbroath Golf Club, located just to the north-east of Dundee. “The information provided by the survey is nothing short of gold dust, really,” said White. “It tells you everything you need to know about your customers if they are happy to engage.” “Allowing you to see into the depth of individual customers’ needs and preferences allows me to start conversations off on the right foot and deliver a better service,” adds Knowles.

    Turning a vast amount of customer data into retail sales for the pro
    As an additional opt-in to help drive business from the survey for member pro’s, certain answers triggered an automated digital communication on behalf of the pro. Respondents received these if their answers to key questions indicated an interest in areas including lessons, gapping and hardware upgrades, netting on average 82 primed customer opportunities per member across the group. “Foremost are incredibly thorough and I know they’ve been looking at my survey results for ways to help my business. This kind of proactive thinking is a blessing and I think all pros should be aware of the amount of work going into benefitting you in the background,” says White. “I spoke to my Business Development Consultant, Stuart Kerr, at length about the results of my survey and what tweaks I can make to my approach,” added Knowles. “Knowing that he’s been in my position and that trying to gather this level of detail and information wouldn’t be possible without the help of Foremost, reassures me that I’ve got that level of support behind
    my operation.”

    40% of golfer’s haven’t had a lesson in the past 2 years
    A large amount of untapped potential sits with golfers who don’t regularly or haven’t ever received lessons with a member of the pro team. Any golfer who hasn’t had a lesson in the last two years was then asked, “would you be interested in receiving a lesson?”

    Of those 40%, or almost 20,000 golfers across the membership, half said they were interested and received an automatic email inviting them to come down to the shop and discuss the range of coaching options.

    37% of golfer’s admitted to not knowing how far they hit their clubs
    Of these, 59% wanted to find out in a gapping session which led to an invite via email to come in for a gapping session. This helped generate custom fit opportunities off the back of the survey.

    “The survey can really open your eyes to the true feelings and needs of your members. It’s allowed me to promote my key services in lessons, custom fitting, regripping and more, based off individual customers’ needs,” said Knowles.

    11% of golfer’s not happy with their current driver
    Anyone who has said they’re not happy with a club in their bag received an email inviting them in for a consultation with a member of the team. From the equipment questions answered earlier in the survey, pro’s are able to build up a profile for each member to know which brand they use, when the customer last purchased, how much they are willing to spend next and which brand they are most likely to play next. This equipped pros with the background information to provide a better service. For Knowles, it’s not about targeting the masses, but pushing against open doors. “There’s always going to be some of your customers not interested in your services, but the EMP Survey helps you find those who are on the fence and might just sow the seed in their mind to make a change and invest in their game.”

    In addition to identifying primed sales opportunities, Foremost’s survey results yield insights that help members shape their strategy and make decisions for the season ahead. White adds: “Getting access to the survey results ahead of the quieter winter months gives me the time to set my entire marketing plan for the year ahead. Having Foremost is like having a business partner that’s always looking at ways to progress the business while you’re so busy you can’t think.”

    In contrast to the trend in golf retail since the onset of the pandemic of online sales growing in share, golfers surveyed are purchasing from their Foremost pro at a consistent rate of around 60%, on a par with 2019’s figures. This underlines the importance of the pro and their position offering expert advice and professional services at the location where golfers play. It also suggests the need to embrace Ecommerce solutions to expand on customer choice, such as Foremost’s Click & Collect.

    Having the results always in the back pocket for Knowles is a helpful tool. “It makes my life a lot easier. It’s a great catalogue of information to refer back to throughout the season.” White agrees. “If you give as much back as you are getting in from Foremost then they deliver outstanding value to your business.” GR

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.