By Dr Rick Jensen
Early in my professional career, I left my associate professor position at the University of Florida and moved to South Florida to start my Sport Psychology consulting business. Thankfully, the Director of Instruction at the Academy of Golf at PGA National, Mike Adams, was gracious enough to invite me to join his team of instructors and incorporate mental skills training as part of the Academy’s golf schools. The opportunity provided me with a base level of income upon which I could begin growing my private consulting business.
Each week, along with the other Academy instructors, I would commit several days to work with the students enrolled in our weekly golf schools. The remainder of the week was ours to fill with private lessons or other activities. The more private lessons we had, the more income we would generate.
The unfortunate reality was that most of our private days looked like this:
- 8:00 am lesson,
- 9:00 am lesson,
- 10:00 am opening,
- 11:00 am no show,
- 12:00 lunch,
- 1:00 pm – lesson,
- 2:00 – 3:00 pm rain shower thus rescheduled lessons,
- 4:00 pm – no more lessons so headed to the course and played golf until dark.
In other words, we often spent the entire day at the golf course, yet only worked 3-4 billable hours – certainly not a formula for business efficiency, growth, or success!
Looking back, I realize that few of us really knew much about marketing, promotion, and new student acquisition, and consequently, we depended upon (and prayed for) the periodic referral for our business growth.
As I was discourage by how little income I was making at the time, I became determined to move my business along at a quicker pace. I read a few books on business marketing and identified three clear steps to growing my business –
1) identify my ideal target market, 2) allocate 20% of my time to business growth activities, and 3) deliver a compelling and differentiated value proposition.
Since my ultimate goal was to consult with PGA and LPGA Touring pros, I determined that my local target market at the time was the mini-tour pros who were competing throughout South Florida.
Rather than spend my unscheduled hours hitting balls on the range or playing golf with the Academy teachers, I decided to make better use of my time.
So, I headed out to the local mini-tour events and began following and interacting with players. I provided on-site assistance free-of-charge as a sampling of the value that I could deliver for players long-term.
I also contacted the directors of the local mini-tours and offered to provide seminars, again free-of-charge, to all of their players. To make it convenient for the players, we scheduled the seminars following tournament rounds and on-location at the host golf clubs. I addressed topics such as “Practicing Like a Pro,” “Performing Under Pressure,” “Perfecting Your Practice Rounds,” and “Peaking Your Game for Q-School.”
Over time, I not only met numerous prospective private students, but I also established my brand and reputation within the mini-tour community. As I better learned to communicate the value that I could deliver to my target market, more importantly, I got off my behind and delivered it!
During every seminar and with each one-on-one interaction with a player, I sold what I could do to help professional golfers with their game and with their dream of succeeding on the PGA and LPGA Tours.
Giving a little to these local players at the time led to my getting a lot – a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, and yes, a lot of new paying clients.
Take a moment and ask yourself
the same questions as did I . . .
. . . Who are the people who make up your ideal target market?
. . . What could you do with 20% of your time that would put you in front of them so that they can experience (even free of charge) the value that you have to offer?
. . . Once you are in front of prospective students, how will you clearly communicate your value proposition – the benefit that you will provide for them?
Finally, once you’ve answered the above questions, stop thinking about them, and better yet, get out there and deliver your value wherever and whenever you can.
Don’t wait for opportunities to meet prospective clients – – create opportunities – – only then will your prospective students truly experience the wonderful services and benefits that you can deliver.
You can listen to the post if your prefer that as well…
Rick Jensen, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized sport psychologist and the author of Easier Said Than Done: The Undeniable, Tour-Tested Truths You Must Know (and Apply) to Finally Play to Your Potential on the Golf Course. In golf, fourteen of his PGA & LPGA Tour clients have won at least one major championship and have combined to win a total of 33 majors. He has been featured on ABC, ESPN, CNN, and the Golf Channel, and is also a contributing writer for Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. To order Dr. Jensen’s books, go to www.drrickjensen.com