Believing In What You Sell

By James Presnail, PGA of Canada & Director of Operations at Monaghan Golf Group

The Importance of "Sales Team Buy In"

When developing a product or service, business owners may become so focused on the end result (sales), that they neglect to consider the importance of staff buy-in. Customers want to be sold an experience, and it is your front-line staff who represent both you and your product. Employees that are not engaged will fail to convey the passion that you want associated with your brand, thus turning away potential customers. But how can you ensure that your staff is just as enthusiastic about your services as you are? It was during a recent staff meeting that I realized how important it is to stir up excitement about our product, and how compromise and teamwork could get us there.

Selling an Experience
While at a golf course, visitors are sold an experience that may include, but is not limited to:

  1.  Polite and friendly interactions with staff, both on the phone and in-person
  2. Spotless power carts, stocked neatly with a score card and pencil – every time
  3. A well-stocked pro shop, with knowledgeable staff and an assortment of quality merchandise
  4. A successful junior program
  5. Competitive pricing

Because this experience is what our visitors have come to expect, we rely on our staff to carry out this vision in each and every interaction. In order for our visitors’ experiences to be authentic ones, our staff must believe in what they are selling.

Becoming a Sales Team
Recently, I was toying with the idea of creating a more accessible and fun junior program at one of our facilities. I was getting excited by the idea – it was not a traditional junior program - and decided that even if I was the only person selling it, I was sure that I would get a great response.
When I presented the idea to my staff members, I was surprised to see that I was getting a few eye rolls from some of my employees. For a brief moment, I realized that this new, amazing program might actually be met with resistance. Would I have to force it into existence? Could I sell it on my own?

Quickly, I decided to change my approach. If my staff did not believe in this program, how on earth could I expect them to sell it to customers with the same passion that I had? These were my front-line salespeople who would be encouraging parents and members to sign up. In order to ensure that they were promoting this innovative new juniors program, I needed to get them on board as a collective. We needed to become a sales team.

Instead of pushing my idea through to these sceptical salespeople like a freight train, I took a step back and reconsidered. I made myself vulnerable and asked my team, “What are your thoughts?”

The group was quick to share. Eventually, our conversation allowed my idea to evolve into a slightly different one, but it grew into a program that everyone was on board with. While I made some compromises during our discussion, I knew that my staff felt a sense of ownership when it came to this new junior program. They had a hand in developing it, and in turn, had created a passion for it. Their promotion of this program would be authentic, as it was not only my program – it was ours.

In order for this type of staff buy-in and discussions to take place, a culture of collaboration and mutual respect must be established.  Our staff has the freedom and encouragement to share their honest feedback on any program or idea at the facility.  It is this environment that ignites ideas, promotes discussions, and leads to a staff that plays together as a team and believes in what they sell.