Peter Durham, one of the UK’s leading retail consultants and Head of Membership Services at Foremost Golf, explains how club professionals can maximise profits from custom fitting
Maximising your profit from custom fitting is all about positioning yourself as an expert and making sure your custom fitting process is an event and an experience that customers will enjoy and tell their friends about. From the moment the customer commits to an appointment, right up to when they shake hands on a deal, your custom fitting process must be an experience that sets you apart from the high street or local competition.
Market the fact you are an expert
So many professionals custom fit, yet on visiting stores, there is often no signage or brochures telling the customer that you offer custom fitting or, indeed, that you are an expert and can help them to play better golf. How about telling golfers you custom fit? Create signage that promotes the benefits of custom fitting and reminds them on every visit that you are the answer to lower scores and more fun!
What is custom fitting?
Custom Fitting is making someone’s dream of playing better golf come true! That’s it in a nutshell but it’s not something that many pros seem to understand. Too many pros just focus on the features or mechanics of custom fitting and not the benefits.
Imagine if Apple were in the golf business. Their marketing wouldn’t just focus on the mechanics of custom fitting; their main focus would be on the benefits. Every golfer dreams of playing better golf. Apple would position itself as a ‘Dream Maker’.
You make more profit when customers understand that correctly fitted equipment is more important than price!
Most custom fitting appointments start with an enquiry about a product with price as their main priority. It is from this moment onwards that you need to start educating your customer that value for money is more important than price. The best price on a driver that doesn’t suit your game is not money well spent. A competitive price on a driver that perfectly suits your game and increases your enjoyment every time you play is ‘great value for money’ and money well spent!
The Custom Fit Escalator
Now that you have your customers’ attention, you need to keep them on the ‘custom fit escalator’. This is achieved by getting them excited. Explain about your custom fitting process and the fact that they are now one step closer to achieving their dream of playing better golf.
Get them a coffee and make them comfortable, ask them to complete a game and equipment assessment form. This will do a number of things; it will give you essential information regarding their game, current equipment and more importantly, their aspirations (dreams). It will also improve your fitting appointment attendency because the assessment form clearly demonstrates that you take their game seriously and you actually care.
Book the appointment, shake their hand and stress how much you are looking forward to seeing them again.
Ramp up the excitement
Before the appointment, send a VIP email confirming the appointment and explaining what to expect on the day.
If you have suitable facilities, why not invite the whole family?
If using a Flightscope, GC2 or Trackman, include screen shots to add to the ‘theatre’. You will now have a customer who is genuinely excited, with price becoming less of a priority.
On the day, make it a special experience. Include coffee and let them warm up (without an audience). Explain that today is all about the fit, not the brand. All modern golf equipment performs, today is about finding out which one performs best for you.
Position yourself as the expert
You are the PGA professional, the one with extensive equipment and swing knowledge, so don’t be afraid to take charge of the situation. Once you have found the clubs that work best, tell the customer: “These are the ones, well done.”
I like to compare the custom fitting appointment to a visit to the dentist. Like you, a dentist is a specialist and they don’t allow the patient to take charge. Golf is the same; you are the expert, you are the Dream Maker and their game is in safe hands!
Charge or don’t charge?
I don’t agree with charging and then giving the fee as a discount on their purchase. Either charge or don’t charge.
A pro who charges and then discounts recently told me he did four to five fitting appointments a week and his conversion rate was 100%. As he was effectively fitting for free, we ran a promotion offering free fitting; he then achieved 10-15 a week with a similar conversion rate. Result: more sales and more profit.
If you are charging, then discounting because customers don’t always buy, you need to carry out role plays until you and your staff are confident, assertive, fitting experts!
If you want to charge, don’t give it back. Simply work on justifying your fee by making your fitting experience the best. Customers will always pay extra for an amazing experience and exceptional service.
Aim to become a John Lewis of the fitting world, not an ‘Open all Hours’
For more information on Foremost contact the Retail Business Development team on 01753 218896.