Came across an article written in 1977 for Golf Business magazine titled “Take advantage of the salesmen who call on your shop”. Btw should now be titled “salespeople”.

The article gives a “birds eye” view of the trials and tribulations of a golf sales rep in “olden times”.

Thought it would interesting and valuable to compare the sales process today vs. yesterday.

We contacted a slew of current, solid golf reps and asked them to read the article then give their opinions on what they believe to be the biggest changes now vs. selling then.

Here’s what they said:

Buyers are unqualified – Gone are the days when golf pros owned their own shops. Today plenty of shops are staffed by under qualified employees, poorly maintained and merchandised and overall, unappealing to the buyer. Golf reps today must be product experts, know their accounts and educate the buyer. The most important task for today’s rep is to build customer rapport and figure-out which product will sell in each particular shop. Learning buying habits of club members is crucial!

Reps need to be picky when choosing lines – Buyers today don’t have lots of time and patience to spend on new product introduction. Typically this gives the rep time for maybe 2-4 new product/service presentations so the rep has to be smart and creative in what’s shown to the buyer. A big problem these days is golf reps carry too many lines. Some carry 10–15 lines. Unfortunately they throw as much product at the buyer as possible to see what sticks. This approach “waters down” the sales person’s credibility leaving a pissed-off buyer and manufacturer!

Golf sales reps have always had to be knowledgeable, honest and creative even back in the 70’s when the average price of a new home was $49,300.00, a gallon of gas cost 65 cents and a shiny new BMW 320i set one back around $8,000.00.

Current times are much tougher.

Green grass pro shops are up against on-line venues and big box stores making it nearly impossible to compete on price. Not to mention the overall health of the industry – shrinking since the glory days of Tiger Woods.

Reps today need to work smarter, prioritize the customer’s needs and be product “picky”. And for all you club pro shops out there with seasonal/temporary help, take advice from your loyal sales rep!

Although times have changed, some challenges remain the same.

Dawn Schlesinger
Chiefgolfjobologist
Dawn@GolfSurfin.com