Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Merchandise Buy Plan - A Simple How to Guide

Since putting the blog together in December of 2008 I have had a number of requests to offer a guide to the methodology I use to create buy-plans for my clients. I have written a 40 page guide providing, step-by-step, the thought process to formulate a buying strategy which will make your shop well merchandised but not over-inventoried. This buy plan technique is one which has impressed every shop owner or manager I have explained it to over the years and in my mind is bullet-proof in its ability to establish key shop levels. Most shops will be preparing to pre-book spring goods in August so I believe reposting the testimonials for this manual to be timely.

“At Kinloch Golf Club we have been fortunate to have Craig Kirchner as our merchandising consultant for more than five (5) years. He has assisted in reducing our inventory levels while enhancing the overall gross margins and increasing revenue substantially. Our professional staff has benefitted from his genuine and knowledgeable expertise in buying, display, inventory control and sales techniques. Craig can be an asset to any golf merchandising operation with his extensive background and product knowledge. I would recommend this guide to anyone.”

Phil Owenby – Kinloch Golf Club

“Craig Kirchner started working with me over 4 years ago. At that time I carried an average inventory of $145,000 to generate $400,000 in sales. Today my average inventory is $85,000 and we still generate close to $400,000 in sales. There is no more inventory sitting in the "back room" and I have been able to adapt more effectively to the changing economic conditions. There is no doubt that the principles contained in Craig's Book changed my business significantly for the better.”

Buddy Sass, PGA – Ocean City Golf Club

"A positive mindset accompanied by knowledge, experience and common sense are a formula for success in any field. Craig possesses and utilizes all these traits effectively in his approach to merchandising."

Mike Elliott, VP of Sales, Greg Norman Collection

"For the last five years Craig and his methodology have been very instrumental in assisting us with both our golf shop buy plan and the LPGA Championship merchandise tent. His methods work and we have been able to increase our profit margins with his plan.

Richard D. Rounsaville, General Manager/Director of Golf - Bulle Rock

"Golf Shops today have unprecedented opportunity to be successful. Economic dynamics are driving consumer behavior to be more demanding than ever of a value experience. That experience includes the presentation of the right products, at the right time with the right service in an efficient atmosphere. There is far grater value to the consumer in shopping for golf products in a golf shop where he/she can find properly targeted products that are easy to buy while being assisted by a knowledgeable staff member, versus driving to a mall and navigating a maze of shops with relatively no service in hopes of finding the right product. The key to a Golf Shop's success here is executing on this concept. While some shops most certainly do, many need help and Craig Kirchner has a proven track record of building successful golf shop operations. Now is the time for this industry to collectively pull itself up by its bootstraps and execute. I have used Craig's counsel and I highly recommend every golf shop who is looking for improvement do the same."

Mark Killeen, Managing Partner, Pima Direct

The cost for this bound primer is $79.95 including shipping and handling. I decided it was more practical and easier to use in hard copy and it will be shipped as soon as payment received. You can easily purchase this on PayPal (“BUY NOW” button to the right) or send a check to:

Craig R. Kirchner
1610 Stonegate Blvd.
Elkton, Md. 21921

I am confident that you will find this guide to be easy to implement and money well spent. I look forward to hearing from you if you have questions or comments at

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happiness is

My wife works at a large University. She recently attended an 18 hour management seminar – 3 hour sessions, twice a week for 3 weeks. When the ordeal was over I asked her what she felt she had learned. She smiled at me and said that I could have taught the course and that the core message was that no matter what you are selling, even academia, you are selling an experience that comes about as the result of having created a culture that delivers and develops the desired experience. 

She had helped me edit and type “The Winning Golf Culture” and so she knew that her summation of her findings would resonate with me. I asked her how she thought that manifested itself as at her particular college and she quickly replied HAPPINESS

Now this gave me pause and I suddenly felt that I had learned something from the seminar. The most evocative messages always seem to come in the simplest packages. I was reminded of what I’ve always considered the genius of Coca Cola’s IT’S THE REAL THING

A customer calls to book a tee time. What has happened in his or her mind – probably at least some of the following:
·         Taking the day off from work.
·         Weather report is good.
·         Picking up good friends to make a 4-some.
·         Course was in great shape last time I played
·         Drinks and good conversation after the round.
·         Practiced yesterday. Hit it well.
·         Opportunity to impress guests with your choice of haunts.

Whether any or all of these are the case they have just booked 4-5 hours of happiness. It is now our job to do everything that we can to fulfill that experience. The only way to do this is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think through the event, step by step. Imagine it, feel it, you’ve encountered it elsewhere; that day away from the office, of total relaxation, of golf and happiness. 

Now ask yourself does this vision, this virtual be the customer dream produce happiness at your facility. Is it the primary goal of your staff, are their people skills honed to this purpose – is it their priority. Is it the primary function of the rest of the services provided and the presentation whether it be the beverage cart, locker room or the merchandise in the shop.

I probably suggest too often that staff meetings are great places to discuss these concepts, inoculate the staff with the culture and ask for their input and ideas to continue to develop it.
We all have had the personal incident and that caused us to tell stories of service and expertise that made an incredible impression and subsequent understanding. Think of Disney and their young and transient staff. They consistently provide the experience through training and an on-going culture that defines explicitly “the role”, defines expectations, empowers the staff to provide what the culture preaches and has the employee who most recently performed “the role” mentor their replacement before they move on. I love the line in the Mad Max movie from the tribe of kids that save Mel Gibson in the desert who are raising themselves and clinging to the hope of rescue with the “tell” and a culture of “tell the tell”. 

The Disney culture is a “tell the tell” culture, but it didn’t spontaneously combust. Its structure, history and ability to recreate itself are epic and worthy of study. It is unique in its size and grandeur and thus genius. They get it, they sell happiness. They make me think enough of my venture into their world to want to mention it to others. I am impressed when I park my car at the thought that was put into this normally insignificant part of the trip.  I am obviously not implying that golf facilities be run like Disney, as a matter of fact the directive, authoritarian management style to maintain the “script” is not conducive to the golf culture, but the attention to detail and the buy-in on the part on the part of the staff are uncanny.

Any time spent by a customer/member at your facility that does not produce this pleasure with the experience and desire to tell others is a missed opportunity. Miss enough opportunities and customers stop providing them – time runs out. Provide an incredible happening and listen to golfers discuss it when they don’t know who you are or don’t think that you are listening. Know that you have developed a culture that provides enough class and wow factor to produce and significant word of mouth. 

Run with it, this is the Adrian Peterson type of scoring that buries the competition