Wednesday, January 4, 2017

European Panache

Decayeux is a French metal processing mill north of Paris that has been providing major high-end fashion brands with luxury goods such as jewelry, leather and luggage accessories for over a century. They describe their mission as “High quality materials, precision tooling, best practices, perfection and execution are at the heart of our company.”

Decayeux Golf has made its mark at prestigious golf clubs and resorts in France and is now looking forward to bringing their prestigious line of metals and apparel to the United States. I have the pleasure of working with Stéphane Decayeux, Erwan Spohn and Pierre Lequeux to help tell their life-style story to our green grass community.


Click for Decayeux Video


We first need to talk about the decision to create Decayeux Golf and enter the green grass market.

Stéphane Decayeux represents the 5th generation of the industrial family Cie. The company was founded in 1911 in Picardy, in the north of France near Normandy, beginning with the manufacturing of alcohol cookers and umbrella mechanisms. Throughout European industrial history the French domestic company evolved into a European Group with a staff of more than 500 people manufacturing both industrial and luxury metal products.

It is Stéphane’s passion about golf shared with his son Benjamin which drove him to start this new venture. Having a long industrial background, strong product knowledge and close collaboration with the fashion industry led to the idea of creating this new luxurious brand.

A unique aspect of your vision for Decayeux Golf involves the concept of partnership which includes the sponsorship of tournaments culminating in the Decayeux Cup.  Could you discuss this very special program and how you see it being implemented in the U.S.?

When Decayeux Golf started three years ago in France, we decided to promote the brand by organizing a competition tour, the Decayeux Cup. To make it more attractive and chic to the participating clubs, severalmajor brands interested in the golf environment joined the venture, Champagne Henriot, La Colline cosmetics, Bücherer jewels…

Our tournament with these sponsors has become a great success with participation by all the top golf clubs in France and created a wonderful venue to promote golf and our brand awareness.We believe participation by the U. S. golf community in this tournament would be an exciting partnership and we would welcome U.S. sponsors to join the project. What a wonderful opportunity for a U. S. company to associate its name in sponsorship to a final day at Chateau de la Messardière palace resort of Saint Tropez.


                                                         Chateau de la Messardière

                                                                                

Sainte Maxime golf course
http://www.sainte-maxime.bluegreen.com/en

One arm of your product line includes metals and commemorative pieces that can be customized and personalized.Let’s point out the materials and the process involved in producing these exceptional pieces.

Luxury accessories worldwide is synonymous with classic brass. Our entire product line is made of solid brass, hand polished and plated in our facilities in France. We apply only precious material for the finishing such as 24 carat gold, palladium and ruthenium.As the manufacturer, it is possible for us to produce personalized and unique product. We offer our customers the option of branding their products with their own picture, name or text message and most of our product can be engraved to make them unique.

One of my favorite products is the scorecard commemorative. It is perfect the perfect small tasteful piece for the desk and the perfect prize for club tournament.

There are so many applications for this type of re-memberance: a hole in one card, my lowest score at the home club, my round with Dad, only round ever at Bandon Dunes, my round that won the member guest, etc. This is one of those pieces that exemplifies the elegance of the line.



The line also includes men’s and ladies’ golf apparel. These boutique collections have very distinctive features and benefits. Tell us about the apparel and how you see it as merchandising with the rest of the line.

Decayeux Paris is a lifestyle brand and thus it seemed appropriate to design and merchandise an apparel line.The idea is to introduce a bit of French touch within Golf courses and proshops by promoting and merchandizing our global look.


Many people reading this article are getting ready to attend the PGA Golf Show in Orlando and make decisions regarding something new and special for their member/guest and member/member favors and prizes. What do you see as possibilities with Decayeux product, particularly how some of your items could be personalized per participant and the time frame needed to fulfill such a request?

Attending the PGA show for the first time will give us the opportunity to present our unique products to the professional attendees. We are very confident in presenting our personalized product such as the brass engraved score card, the engraved tees collection and our belt line. Our whole line must be seen to be appreciated because product details and finishing is not something that can be seen in a catalog. We are convinced that prominent golf clubs and resorts in the states will soon welcome our product and be glad to partner with our brand.

Click for Video


Stéphane, Erwan, Pierre and I will be in Orlando in Booth 3416 and look forward to discussing the product and concepts that are introduced here.  This should be a booth you make a point to visit in Orlando as Decayeux has a one-of-a-kind product line, placement incentives and incredible European panache. The line absolutely needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate the quality and presentation appeal of the metals as well as the distinct customization of the apparel.

I will be happy to mail anyone a catalog and price list if interested in previewing before Orlando. Email me your name and address to craigrkirchner@gmail.com.  Also, email or call me at 443-309-3005 to make an appointmentfor a GoToMeeting or to meet with us in Orlando to discuss Decayeux Golf and the possibility of representation of your facility’s tournament winner at the Decayeux Cup in Saint-Tropez.








Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Greeter

I was recently at an old club in the Northeast with a turn of the century clubhouse. I walked into the shop and was approached by a ghost. I say that in a very “matter of fact” way because that is how it happened. She welcomed me to the club, asked my name and introduced herself as Giddy. I only knew she was a ghost because she had the consistency of a young, cute and friendly hologram.

“Giddy, this is an amazing greeting to say the least. How come I’ve never heard about you?”

“Oh, I ask the folks I engage not to talk about me but to speak highly of their experience here, you can mention me in your blog if you like however.”

“How do you know I have a blog?”

“I do a little research before I approach someone. I’m connected in that regard.
Are you here to play – it certainly is a beautiful day for it?”

“Yes I’m waiting on three friends. I’m early for our tee time and probably going to hit some balls while I wait, but I thought I’d look at perhaps buying a new bag. Can you tell me anything about this bag (we happened to be standing next to a golf bag)?”

“No, unfortunately they don’t invite me to any product knowledge sessions. I don’t know if that is because they don’t have staff meetings or just don’t think to invite me. So I just greet. We do have quite a nice range – I’ve never seen it because I don’t leave the shop – but I’ve been told it is outstanding.”

“Well it has been a pleasure talking with you. I think every shop should have a Giddy.”

“That is so nice of you to say. It was my pleasure also and truly my privilege to greet you.”


It is a fundamental retail tenet that people are greeted as they enter your space and made to feel that their time spent here will be a warm and friendly experience. At an educational seminar I presented in October to the PGA of Alberta this subject was raised and the strategy to prod staff from behind the counter was discussed at length. The two main points I made were that the social component needs to be explained as an important part of the culture and therefore as a crucial area of the job description. This has to be mandated at point of hire, reviewed at subsequent evaluations and reinforced with both product knowledge and retail training with all Giddys invited. It is human nature to expound upon subjects with which we are knowledgeable and comfortable while avoiding those subjects where knowledge is lacking. It is incumbent upon leaders to understand and provide appropriate training.

The Staff at Southern Hills GC

 A case in point is Southern Hills where I spent two days recently with Cary Cozby and his staff. This visit was heartening because in two long days in the shop no member/guest came through the shop who was not welcomed and engaged usually by name and always in the friendliest and laid-back way. Even staff engaged in remerchandising at the time would break off their task if there was a customer to greet. Everyone in the industry believes they have good service. My experience is that is a very subjective phrase.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Three One-a-Days




A number of years ago I worked the Golf Show in Denver and attended a seminar given by Russ Miller, Director of Golf at the Broadmoor, entitled “Five Tips for Running a Successful Golf Operation.” The presentation was great and the reputation the Broadmoor has for service is well documented. I would suggest taking advantage of any opportunity you may have to listen to Russ speak. One of the main themes of this particular program was the importance of quality staff – hiring exceptional people and training them to provide exceptional service. He also stressed promoting the staff to be creative and challenging the staff to create ways to grow the business. These phrases have stuck with me over the years and I use them often as I’m doing here to preface what I want to nickname “Three One-A-Days”.



Vero Beach Country Club


 Here’s a story I often tell at service presentations:

A few Octobers ago, I received a phone call from the General Manager at Martin Honda Dealership in Newark, Delaware which is where I purchased my last car. It is, by the way, a very busy dealership with an incredible service department. Here was the message.

“Mr. Kirchner, this is Ron Applegate from Martin Honda. I’m calling to ask you to do me a favor.”

“Sure Ron, what can I do for you?”

“Please tell your wife that everyone here at Martin wishes her a happy birthday and thanks to both of you for your business. I notice you are on our maintenance schedule and I want to make sure you're happy with our service department.”

“Yes, they are great in fact.”

“Thanks again and anytime you need anything or just want to talk about cars call me – my personal number is 555-5555 and I’d love to hear from you. Thanks again.”

I hung up the phone thinking three things:
Why would I ever want to buy a car anywhere else?
Do the shops I work with make this type of call?
I’d better get my wife something for her birthday.

Prestonwood Country Club


At a golf shop consider the following two scenarios.

A club member at an east coast high-end club has a guest in from Chicago. He buys a Peter Millar shirt in the shop. The assistant at the counter introduces himself as Jeff, thanks him and asks him for a business card. A week later the young man sends our Chicagoan an email.

“We hoped you enjoyed your day with us last week and are happy with the Peter Millar shirt you purchased. If I can ever do anything for you including gift wrap and ship some similar logoed shirts to your friends please let me know. My number here at the shop is 555-5555.” 
All the best,
 Jeff 

Hound's Ear Club


Mr. Chicago immediately forwards the email to the member who invited him to the club with a note praising Jeff. “The staff at your club are the best, no question about it.”  He then tells the story every time the subject of service at golf clubs comes up.

A customer buys a new driver, a rain jacket, two new shirts and a hat, spends $1000. It is two weeks later and no one has even thought about calling him to see if he’s hitting the ball further. There is no Jeff at this Shop.

The golf industry and your facility in particular should take heed. The successful, as we have been discussing, are those who are trying harder, much like “the more I practice the luckier I get.”

I don’t know if I have ever heard anyone in any shop make this type of personalized thank you and “anything I can do for you” call or email but it should be standard operating procedure and is almost guaranteed to create business. When the customer with the new driver is called with an inquiry as to his satisfaction and the comment is made to close the call “if there is anything I can ever do for you” the new-driver-guy is already thinking about what that could be.

“If there is ever anything I can do for you” implies that you know your business and the products associated with it. As I have mentioned many times in this space when referencing product knowledge and staff training, it is human nature to want to talk about something you are familiar with and to try to avert a conversation about things unfamiliar. Part of the following challenge program (‘Three One-A-Days”) is the acceptance of the philosophy that ‘Salesmanship is Service” and that every round is an opportunity to create word of mouth advertising because of “WOW” service.




By the end of the season each staff member should be well versed about all categories in inventory. They should have each wowed about 200 customers and had fun doing it and thank-you calls or emails can only enhance the culture you are creating as a differentiator.