I’ve always said I enjoy the social aspect of attending the buying shows, but that means more than just catching up with people you haven’t seen because of a busy schedule over the golf season.
There’s a business side to networking at the shows and part of that is spotting new, hot products and identifying trends and talking to people helps dial you in to what’s new for the coming year.
When you go to the shows, you know who your lead suppliers are – people have certain allegiances and they lean in certain directions a little more than others.
It’s also important, however, to see who’s got the new, hot driver, who’s got the hot irons for 2011 and what’s big in apparel because you need to have those things in your shop next year, even if it’s through a supplier you don’t deal with that often.
It’s important to stay on top of the trends whether you’re a big shop, small shop or Golf Town. You’ve got to be on your toes to make sure you’re buying the right stuff that’s going to sell next year.
The people who walk into your shop next year might ask for that new XYZ driver that they’re hearing about and you should be well-stocked with that product. If you aren’t, it can look like you didn’t do your homework.
If you don’t have the hottest products in your shop, somebody might say, `Why am I shopping here?’ or maybe, `This person’s not as informed as I thought,’ if you don’t have the new colours, styles, wedges and putters.
There are a lot of people who devote their shops to a certain brand or brands, but if next year, it’s another brand that has the hottest products, you’ve got to have them. The members or customers aren’t worried about your allegiances.
This is the business side of networking at the shows. I agree that it’s a buying show for the PGA. That’s your No. 1 focus.
However, you need to be networking with your buddies and peers and ask them, `What’s hot next year? What colours do you think will be hot? Did you see this line or that line?’
There are so many people in this industry who I respect for their opinions, so why wouldn’t I tap into their knowledge and be willing to offer my opinion? It’s checks and balances that makes talking among ourselves so important.