Pictured Above: Gary Tettenburn (left) with co-workers Memo and Eric

Gary Tettenburn, owner of One Putt Greens in San Diego, California, makes many golfers’ dreams come true with his superb Golfscapes. He also makes his employees dreams come true with year round work. Here’s what we found out from Gary.

How did you come to find putting green installations to be a profitable business?
We’ve been in the landscape industry for many years. As golf exploded in popularity here in California, we realized that we could supply our customers with a great niche service by installing putting greens. We jumped on board as soon as we could; especially when we found out that we already had all the equipment needed to install them.

How many have you installed since opening One Putt Greens?
We’ve installed about 1500 in just over 5 years.

What percentage of your sales are turnkey installations versus self-install kits?
100% because we only provide complete installs.

If you did sell self-install kits, what would be a number reason that customers would want to install a green themselves?
We would think because of the price difference. Customers can save a lot of money by installing greens by themselves.

What percentage of your business comes from current customer referrals?
About 20%, but that is hard to gauge because the ads we have in magazines generate much more. However, some customers will get the referral from their friend and then see the ad, so then they are really sold.

What about getting additional work from one customer?
Additional landscape work is one of our strengths! A $10,000 putting green may yield another $30,000 in landscaping. One customer of ours installed a putting green and when he saw our capabilities, he booked us for 3 months of work worth $200,000!

What is your sales process?
The first step is always to fully educate the customers about every aspect of synthetic putting greens, the benefits and advantages, complete product info, its hybrid make-up, warranty information, custom designs, undulations, and the technique we use to install them. We always try to have both spouses present when we go to their residence.

2nd, when we go to the home, we get to know them if they aren’t already a known customer and we head outside to make a border with the 100 foot cord. Then we ask if we can paint out the border for them. If they let us, we put a cup and flag in the ground and really get them excited by putting to the area. We keep them involved as much as possible.

3rd, we present a quote at that time.

4th, As we discuss the quote, we give them options such as, “We have an opening next week if you would like us to get started then,” or “Which size of green would you like, this one, or that one?” You need to ask for the job at least 3 times before you leave the customer’s home. We also have them watch our sales video at this time.

And then we do the installation.

What is your secret for closing such sales?
Asking for the job 3 times during the design consultation or sales visit.

What is the biggest objection to a sale that you hear from potential customers?
Usually they are weary about how long the putting green will last, or they wonder how our product is better than our competition.

How do you counteract those objections?
Again, by fully educating the customer about the greens, and of course, stressing the warranty protection. I show them the pictorial magazine where they can see some greens for themselves.

What kind of incentives do you offer potential putting green customers?
Depending on the customer, we give them a new Titleist putter worth $300 if they purchase, or a coupon good for $300 off the installation.

What is the most common mistake you see customers make with their installations?
By far the biggest mistake is that the green is too small. I have never encountered a customer that thinks the green is too big.

How do you try to resolve this problem?
You just can’t. The turf is manufactured with different dye lots every 2 weeks, so if you try to add on to the green, it won’t match. However, we offer to install another one nearby.

What economic trends affect your putting green sales?
We target very upscale clients, so they don’t even know what a recession is. The economy wouldn’t hamper their buying decisions.

What problems do you think most putting green companies must overcome to be successful like you?
They must make their company’s products and services visible in their communities. Customers have to know that putting greens are available because most people don’t even know they exist!

What do you like most about installing putting greens?
The flexibility. When we do a custom landscape design, I am required to be on-site at all times. Customers can be very demanding with landscapes. Rearranging plants and shrubs – the plant isn’t in the right place, move it over here, adding irrigation systems or redirecting sprinkler heads, etc. But with putting greens, once the design is agreed upon, the installation process is always the same so I don’t have to be on-site as much. That extra time is great because I can use it to sell more greens!

Do you have any more tips or advice that you would like to share?
Don’t compromise any part of the installation process. Always provide professional, first-rate customer service, and always follow up after the install . . . Always.

Thank you Gary. Your information will be very helpful for our fellow All Pro Distributors.