Marketing does not mean spending thousands
of dollars on costly TV or national magazine advertisements.
All it requires is planning, organization, understanding your
local target audience, and effort. The success of your putting
green business is directly related to how much effort you
put into marketing. If you let people know the putting greens
are available, you will sell them. Follow these tips that
will help you explode your business.
Talk to a Pro
positive relationships with your local golf course superintendents
and pros is extremely important for your marketing plan. You
can generate many valuable leads from golf course pros, especially
if you offer them a 5% referral fee. Pros and supers are routinely
asked by golfers about having a real putting green installed.
Real grass greens require too much care and expense. According
to Golf Course Superintendents Association, 90% of real grass
greens in backyards die within two years. It would be much
easier for these pros to refer golfers to you rather than
attempt to build real grass greens for their customers.
How this works:
Establish a great relationship with the golf course’s
head pro or superintendent. Invite him or her to putt on one
of your greens over lunch or coffee. Once he or she sees what
a professional product you provide, offer him/her a 5% referral
fee if the lead turns into an actual sale. Give him/her pictorial
magazines and brochures to hand out to interested golfers.
Golfers look to their pro for guidance and will be much more
willing to buy from you if the pro recommends you. Once that
person receives their first referral fee, you should definitely
experience an increase in referrals and sales. Some courses
may let you display your pictorial magazines or brochures.
Repeat this at as many golf courses in your area as possible
in order to generate serious leads. Besides, you have the
“pros” working for you!
Talk to members
you’ve established a great working relationship with
the pro or superintendent, ask for the club’s membership
directory. The members are an exclusive target audience and
could be very beneficial for your business.
How this works:
Call each member one by one. Say something like, “Hello,
my name is Bob owner of XYZ Company. We install professional
synthetic putting greens for the home. Would you be interested
in seeing a sample as well as a FREE estimate for a putting
green designed specifically for you?” Get your foot
in the door with a free estimate and make sure you provide
the potential customer with as many benefits of your product
Talk to an instructor
“Two thirds of my classes’ training
time gets devoted to putting and chipping skills. An expert
short game player will beat those who shoot long because putting
is the key to winning,” says Craig Goslin, a Michigan
high school golf coach.
say that 70% of putts are made from 7 feet or shorter and
about 62% of an average round of golf takes place on the putting
green. Instructors can certainly attest to that.
How this works:
Instructors would also be willing to help you sell if they
get your 5% referral fee. Just like members turn to their
pro for advice, students look to their instructors for guidance.
Students will buy what their instructor endorses. For example,
an instructor told us that he had over 200 students at one
time. When he told them he uses Taylor Made Clubs, about 80%
of the students bought Taylor Made! The principle applies
to putting greens. Students can effectively practice their
short game at home using what they learn from their instructor.
Furthermore, try to sell the school a green. When the instructor
realizes that a synthetic green at the golf school reduces
travel back and forth to a golf course practice green, he
may want one, and so would the students.
All Pro’s free publicity service
Once you are ready to explode your putting
green business, call our public relations department for services
that can help generate exposure for your company in your local
market – for free!
Use the right tools
Using All Pro Putting Green’s marketing
materials will help you to effectively and efficiently explode
your business. We’ve done all the research and hard
work developing attractive and educational materials so you
don’t have to. Tried and true, these tools have helped
make our dealers successful ones.
Hand your potential customer this 30-page, full-color magazine
and let him envision his dream golf green. Cover to cover,
our best sales tool is packed full of photos of putting greens
in all price ranges. There are customer testimonials describing
the many benefits your customers can expect from their putting
green. There is also an educational article describing the
advantages that polypropylene greens have over those made
of nylon. A golfer is sure to find a green that he’d
like in his yard, and his spouse is sure to find all the extras
with which she can decorate around the green.
Days after they’ve received their
estimate for a putting green, customers will still be flipping
through the magazines at their leisure. Your estimate, the
materials left behind, and this magazine, are sure to keep
you and your company in the forefront of a potential customer’s
mind. The magazines will have a long shelf life. Therefore,
you can expect a ripple reaction when one customer shows his
magazine to his golf buddies and co-workers; resulting in
more sales leads for you.
Also full-color, these foldout brochures are designed to generate
interest and excitement for the many diagrams of shapes, sizes,
and designs possible for synthetic putting greens. When creating
this excitement with your customers, be sure to reinforce
the value of larger greens by describing how well they look
in well-landscaped yards. These brochures also provide information
to help inform and educate customers.
Sales or Sales
& Installation Videos
Another great tool for generating interest and excitement
is a putting green video. Getting the
customer emotionally involved is important for the sale. People
tend to be more visually stimulated via the boob tube.
Two videos are available, the sales video
and one combined with the installation process. The sales
video is strictly for customers who want a turnkey installation
performed by you. The sales/install video is designed for
your self-install kit customers. Always make sure your self-install
kit customers know that you are on hand to help if they need
Postcards are great follow up tools for the prospective customer.
There are so many variables why people invest in certain things
at certain times. The postcards will reinforce the advantages
of having a synthetic green and will keep the possibility
of owning one on top of the customer’s mind. We recommend
sending a postcard as follow up each week for about 5 weeks
after you’ve given the estimate.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable and
successful with these tools, implement even more ways to market
yourself and create product visibility in your area. Read
the article, “Marketing Mania” in this issue for
more ideas that you can use to explode your business!
We want you to be a marketing maniac when
it comes to selling and installing All Pro synthetic putting
greens. Doing this need not be expensive nor break your bank.
Making and sustaining positive relationships is key to marketing
and we help by providing you with proven ways to successfully
and effectively market your business. Follow the guidelines
described below and watch as your business explodes with sales
Network with local retail garden centers,
Establish a relationship with a local garden
center and/or nursery. They are always looking for new products
to sell to their customers, so offer to install a putting
green for them in return for referral business. You can also
offer to buy your landscaping materials from them exclusively
in return for business. These centers receive large amounts
of foot traffic from regular faithful customers. Many have
designers on staff that will assist the homeowner with design
and landscape layout. This service is normally free to the
consumer because the center expects to get money from the
sale of plants. Many larger centers are frequently asked to
appear on local TV and radio news stations to discuss plant
and landscaping issues. They also advertise on TV, radio,
and in newspapers. This is a great opportunity for you if
they plug in your services.
Landscape Architects & Home Builders
The homebuilder market is very competitive.
These companies are always looking for ways to set themselves
apart from others. Many builders are adding a synthetic putting
green to a show home to entice potential buyers, even if the
homes are on a golf course. They can sell the green as an
add-on like landscaping. The builder will typically add the
cost of the green into the mortgage. This is a big profit
center for the builder because instead of charging $12 to
$15 a sq. ft., they often charge $25 to $30 a sq. ft. The
additional cost is built into the 20-30 year mortgage so the
homeowner may only see a small increase in the monthly payment,
if anything at all.
Develop a newsletter
Send your current customers a regular newsletter
telling them about your putting green service and other services
that you offer. It can be as simple as a typed page of information
and news about your company plus a customer testimonial. Or,
if you have the resources, it can be produced with your brochures.
This is not only a way to keep your customers informed about
your company, it also shows that you are highly organized
and truly care about their landscape needs.
Meet me at the Ball Game – or rather
the Home & Garden, Golf, or Spring Expo!
Home & Garden, Golf shows, and Spring
Expos are excellent ways to generate solid sales leads. Some
of our distributors say that 50% to 60% of their putting green
sales come from leads generated from such shows. See “Advice
from Successful Putting Green Exhibits” for more information.
Value added service
Offer to throw in a sand trap for free.
If you feel your customer is on the fence on whether or not
to have the green installed then give them a free sand trap.
The truth is that a sand trap that’s 15 ft. long x 10
ft. wide and 3 ft deep requires two men, 3 hours of labor,
and the cost of sand.
Or . . . If you already have the putting
green sale, tell the homeowner that you have a referral program.
Tell him or her that you would normally charge $1200.00 for
a standard sand trap. But if he or she refers someone to you
and you get that person’s putting green sale, then you’ll
install the sand trap for your homeowner – free! In
the customers mind, he is getting a $1200.00 value for free
and all he has to do is to talk one of his golf buddies into
getting a green. Either way, you are establishing great relationships
with everyone involved. Believe in the old adage of word of
mouth advertising — A golfer will brag to at least 10
people about his putting green.
Competition is healthy for business
Get samples of your competitor’s product,
if there is one in your area, and let the CUSTOMER tell you
which product looks more like a proper putting green surface.
Your customers are smart people and will quickly identify
the All Pro product compared to others in the market.
Repeat mailings of post cards & brochures
You will close many more sales by using
this technique. So many factors can affect a customer’s
buying decision. By sending potential customers follow up
post cards or brochures, you continually let that client know
that your offer still stands and you keep your company on
top of their minds — even if they’re getting quotes
from other putting green companies. We recommend sending follow
up reminders once a week for 30 days after you supplied the
customer with a quote. And always……ALWAYS follow
up with a phone call.
It is obvious you would like every customer
to let you install his or her putting green. But some people
simply can’t afford the $10.00-plus per square ft price
and you may not be able to afford negotiating a lower price.
Don’t give up! Offer to sell them a self-install kit
and let them install it for half the price. Supply them with
a materials data sheet informing them where and how to get
the necessary putting green materials: the plate compactor,
stone dust sub-base, coal slag infill product, and your contact
information in case they need assistance. Let customer service
ooze from you.
It may not be as much money, but your generosity
will go far beyond letting them fend for themselves. Hint:
this is another major advantage you show over your competition!
Education is Key
Educate your customer about all aspects
of synthetic putting greens – their customer benefits,
advantages, warranty information, custom or standard design
capabilities, etc. Our new Golfscapes pictorial magazine helps
you do this.
A show green is a MUST
You must have a show green to be comfortable
with the install process and have a show or display green
as a result. The first question you will get from a customer
is either, “what is your experience?” or “show
me your work.”
A savvy customer will not spend thousands
of dollars on an investment based on a picture in a magazine.
They need to putt on the green, stand on it, and see its true
ball roll and holding characteristics. The putting green will
sell itself but you must have one installed to do this. If
you simply can’t afford to install a putting green,
approach one of your golfing customers and tell him that you
are getting into the putting green business. Tell him you’ll
install a green at cost for him in return for using his green
as your “display” green until you can install
more. You’ll immediately reap the benefits of having
an actual customer who can provide you with a testimonial
and it won’t have cost you anything but a little sweat
Advertise in a targeted local newspaper
or city publication Follow these tips for very effective advertising.
Rule#1: An ad
displayed just once almost never works.
Research shows that the average American sees more than 30,000
ads per year. An ad needs to be seen an average of 3 times
before it impacts the customer’s awareness. The targeted
consumer ever sees only about one out of 9 well-designed ads.
Quick calculation: you need to put your
ad (or message) in front of your target audience (golfers)
at least 3 times before it has a chance to affect their perceptions
or buying decisions.
If you don’t have the budget for a
long-term commitment to advertising, don’t advertise.
But if you do, plan on running the same ad in the same publication
often enough to reach golfers a minimum of three times.
In your area you have golf courses, driving
ranges, golf stores, and city publications dedicated to local
businesses and community. Golf courses usually have smaller
newspapers or publications printed purely for their community
information. These are the publications that you will want
to advertise in because they perfectly target the audience
that you want; affluent golfers in your geographic area with
disposable money available for material goods such as synthetic
putting greens! Best of all, we can develop a display ad for
you – FREE — saving you hundreds of dollars that
companies charge for setup fees.
Mo’ money in putting greens
By the time you figure in the cost of the
turf, labor, and all materials for a turnkey installed 12’
x 30” putting green, it should cost you between $4.00
to $4.50 per square foot. By charging a minimum of $11.00
per sq. ft., you will profit between $6.50 and $7.00 (or more)
per sq. ft. This does not include the additional money you’ll
make with additional landscaping and hard-scaping. Your cost
for installing a synthetic green is substantially less than
installing retaining walls or water features, and the profit
is substantially more. The truth is that many contractors
are getting $12.00 per sq. ft. for their installs. This means
even more profit lining your pockets.
You know him, you’ve seen him, and
you’ve tried to avoid him. He is the pushy salesperson
that senses your presence before you’ve even had a chance
to look. But you’ve also dealt with the knowledgeable
and pleasant salesperson from which you bought a major item.
Why did you feel comfortable buying from that one? In this
section we present sales tips that will have customers comfortably
eating out of your hand.
Develop Good Sales Habits
Organization is key to successful sales
transactions. Organization is a sign of a smart and professional
businessperson. The old saying still rings very true, “you
never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Always present yourself as a knowledgeable, prepared, pleasant,
and organized expert of your product.
Never keep phone customers on hold for long.
When meeting a potential customer, prepare
all your materials and messages in advance. Have your business
cards, pictorial magazines, brochures, and your portfolio
of customer installs and testimonials neatly organized.
When going on a design consultation have
your tools, cords, paint, golf balls, flags, and your organizer
ready for use.
When asked questions, be sure to listen
carefully and then answer informatively. Educate your potential
customer as much as possible about the putting greens.
When going on a sales call or presentation, plan your time
wisely. Don’t hurry your customers or make them feel
like you’ve got somewhere better to be. The more important
your customer feels, the more likely you’ll get the
After the sales call — Always follow
up . . . ALWAYS. Use the postcards and personal phone calls
to remind the customer how important his job is to you and
what product advantages you can provide.
Education is key. Customers are not going
to spend thousands of dollars on a product if you can’t
fully educate them on why they should purchase from you. It
is your job to teach your customers all the advantages and
benefits of your product so they feel like they can make an
informed decision. All Pro Putting Greens provides you with
the educational materials you need to accomplish this.
Making the most out of every sales opportunity
is critical to being successful. The following is an example
sales call that you can use as a guide. Then, read on for
“Killer Closing Techniques” that will help you
close more sales than ever and explode your business.
Initial Phone Contact
There are two main objectives you need to
achieve from the very first phone call to your potential customer.
Qualifying the lead and scheduling an estimate or design consultation.
While talking to your customer use his name whenever possible.
Find out if he just wants information, or is seriously considering
a synthetic putting green. Immediately stress the advantages
of your product using a variety of these key messages:
- Affordable – turnkey installations or self- install
kits are more affordable than ever
- Characteristics – same ball roll and holding characteristics
as a real grass green
- No Maintenance – no need to water, fertilize, or
mow the green, just blow debris off with a leaf blower
- Water Resistant – durable UV-treated turf repels
damaging effects of rain, snow, ice, and the sun
- Convenience – can be used anytime as a 24- hour
putting and chipping practice facility
- Builds equity into homes – proven to increase property
value 10% - 20%
- Enhances any landscape – rich green color looks
great in yards (and the spouse will like to decorate around
- Warranty Protection – 10 years and customer satisfaction
You can also qualify the lead by asking
the customer what he would spend on such an item. If the figure
is real low, the self-install kit is probably the best way
to pursue the sale. However, fully inform him of the advantages
of self-installations. A self-install kit includes: the turf,
3 regulation cups, a flag, and chipping mat. The price will
vary, but a self-install kit will cost about $1,000 to $2,000
after all additional materials are purchased.
Be sure he knows that a turnkey install
includes: all the above, removal of sod, set the weed barrier,
crushed stone delivery and compaction, set the cups, position
turf, infill process, cut holes and any additional landscape
required . The cost for this is about $10 per square foot
plus any additional landscape. You must show the value in
your product and why the turnkey installation costs what you
If the customer gives you a “shocked”
response when you present these prices, make sure you reiterate
the superiority of your product, that it truly is the most
affordable green on the market, and compare it to other home
improvements. For example, a putting green installation is
about the cost of a brick patio, a premium set of golf clubs,
or a hot tub, but only half the price of a water feature or
retaining wall. Once you’ve qualified them, put your
words to work and ask when you can present a design consultation
at their residence.
Once you have the potential customer’s
interest, schedule a design consultation at a suitable time
when both husband and wife can be present. Typical husbands
will not make major buying decisions without consulting their
wives. With both there, you can inform, educate, and present
a design at the same time. Plus, having the wife involved
increases your chances of add-on landscaping sales.
You will need the following materials for
- Two 100 foot extension cords
- Can of fluorescent orange or white spray paint
- A couple golf balls, cups, and a flag (not required but
makes a nice touch to really get the customer excited)
- Your organizer and calculator
This is your chance to shine! When you arrive
at the house, spend some time getting to know the customers.
Tell them all about yourself and different aspects of your
business. Break the ice by asking them about their golfing
habits, their handicap, if they belong to any golf associations,
clubs, or if they play in a league. Always try to remember
a key fact or two so you can mention one later which shows
you are really attuned to their needs.
It’s a good idea to go over the phone
conversation you had and answer any questions that may have
come up. Present the pictorial magazine, your portfolio, photos
of previous installs of landscape work, and anything else
that gets them more interested and excited for what they are
about to experience.
When they are ready, start by walking around
their property and discuss possible locations for the green.
Take your time when determining the location and size of the
putting green. Some think that right next to the house is
a good place. Others think that a low spot may be good. Truth
is, these are the two worst spots. Next to the house is bad
if they plan to chip to the green. They may spend more time
replacing windows than practicing golf. Low spots will collect
water and run-off causing sub base deterioration, which you
want to avoid at all cost.
Choose a spot that is away from the house
and won’t collect water. Find an area that is accessible
from other areas of the yard for chipping and pitching. Lay
one of the cords in a general shape that pleases the customer.
While creating the shape, remember to work in multiples of
12 feet because the turf is manufactured in 12-foot widths,
but we can cut the turf to any length.
Involve the customers with the layout of
their green. Make sure they understand that this is a custom-designed
green specifically for them. The more involved the couple
is in this process, the more excited they will be with their
purchase decision. Ask them what green(s) they like best from
the pictorial magazine and try some similar designs. Be sure
to stress that the bigger the green they go with the better,
because if it’s too small, there is nothing that can
be done to fix it later.
Once you’ve agreed on the final size
and shape, mark the area with spray paint. This will constantly
remind the couple where their new green will be long after
your visit. Stick a flag in the marked area and have them
pitch a couple golf balls to it, which really increases excitement.
With the second cord, mark an area for a sand trap. Again,
work with them to finalize its size, shape, and location.
An average sand trap is about 15 feet long, 10 feet wide,
and 3 feet deep.
Presenting the Estimate
Go to a convenient place in the house or
yard to figure up the customer’s estimate as well as
two alternative bids. This is also a good time for them to
watch the sales video. When ready, go over the entire (and
most expensive) estimate with them first. That way, if they
hesitate because the total is too much, then you can present
an alternate bid. For example, you might eliminate the sand
trap and save the customer about $1,200 off the grand total.
Golfers don’t golf alone, and when
they purchase their green, they will certainly brag to their
friends. So, another way to save them money is to offer an
incentive. Tell them if they refer a friend to you who buys
a green that you install, you’ll come back and install
their sand trap for FREE! This single idea could generate
50% of your leads.
If this is still too much money for the
customer, then offer the self-install kit. Supply them with
a data sheet outlining how and where he can purchase the additional
materials, and your contact information in case he needs hands-on
help. This is simply a good business practice that shows you
truly care about your customer’s satisfaction. And,
as always, it could lead to more work later on!
Now your goal is to close the sale while still on the premises.
Studies show you have to ask for the sale at least 3 times
before leaving. See the article “Killer Closing Techniques”
in this issue of Golfscapes for killer ways to close sales
with the most success.
Create a sense of urgency as you finish
giving your bid. Encourage them to act right away by presenting
the 50% off shipping coupon. Normal shipping charges are about
$360, but if they buy soon, they could save $180. State that
the discounted shipping is good for 15 days, so they should
act quickly, or tell them that there is an opening next week
when you could get started.
This is a critical step in the sales process.
If you don’t the sell the green on premises, then follow
up by sending a post card about once a week for 30 days. There
are so many factors that influence a customer’s buying
decision, most of which are beyond your control. Post cards
remind customers how important their business is to you, and
recaps the advantages of owning their own golf green. Remind
them you are open to any questions and concerns they might
Another great idea is to invite them to
practice on your display green. Schedule a time for them to
practice some putts and chips before the 50% off coupon expires.
Even after you sell and install the green,
you need to follow up. As stated earlier, no one plays golf
alone. You will want to keep in contact with your customers
to see when or if any of their friends might be interested
in their very own slice of paradise.