Ten Ways #7

Don’t insult your future members

So I play with a guy who had his wedding as an outside person at the club. I never really thought of it but a standard part of the package is a foursome or two for the groom, groomsmen, etc.  Years later he raves about the round, the wedding, etc. He lived out of the area for a while but when a transfer came back home he joined the club almost immediately.  He’s a good, profitable member who doesn’t play particularly often.  A great (and likely profitable) event planted a seed for many years of membership to come.

Its tacky to hand our membership brochures at a wedding (though note that I would strongly encourage them to be discreetly available to the nosy/bored/curious outside the locked business office or similar if you’re actively seeking members). What you need to be careful about is the total experience, especially execution and staff talk.  Execution is pretty straight forward — though recognize what counts here is not satisfied Bridezillas but whether it is objectively a well-run event.  Staff talk is a different story.  It is easy for staff to either treat guests poorly (as just a guest they’ll never see again) or inappropriately (over familiarity, over sharing, discussion about members or other staff), especially when guests are from a similar social and economic background of the staff.  The problem with telling my little druggie brother Timmie about what happened at the member-guest isn’t that it will affect him joining which was never going to happen.  It’s that I’ll overhear.  Or he’ll mention it at the boring brunch tomorrow at Aunt Sarah’s.

And I’ll go from “Honey, I bet we could float 6K/year” to “hmmm…..need to think some more”.

A small anecdote. I was playing at a nice local club using an online service. When I checked in, the pro didn’t know who I was and that his club was enrolled in the service. In fact, he had turned them down the summer previously  This was probably genuine — I didn’t realize they had just undergone a major management change. The old GM or pro may well have pocketed my greens fee. Or the online service was a bit “aggressive” in signing up clubs. He let us play. Sure, there’s a chance I pulled some clever scam on him. But the course was empty and I now have a very favorable opinion of the club. Hopefully they got paid.

Fancy clubs with long waiting lists can afford to insult their guests. Mine and yours can’t. Every interaction is with a potential member.  And if you treat my guests great that makes in harder to drop my membership come renewal time.

 

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