By Carrie Resch, Contributing Writer
When it comes to marketing, relationships are key.
PGA Tour Vice President Steve Horner talked about his experience and shared advice with Northeast Florida Builders Association Sales & Marketing Council members at their May breakfast.
His talk came before The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, won by Si Woo Kim.
In his role at the PGA Tour, Horner oversees more than 40 tournament title sponsorships.
The strategy of finding prospects, building relationships and maintaining them is universal in the marketing industry, he said.
Horner zeroed in on four key areas during his presentation: How to generate prospects, understanding prospects, making a compelling case to buy and the importance of building relationships.
Identifying prospects is one of the hardest tasks, but it’s a critical step, according to Horner.
However, he acknowledged that the process is not absolute.
For example, Horner advised to never turn away a lead because you never know where it’s going to go.
It’s a strategy that Horner says is contradictory to a concentrated prospecting profile, but leads that fall just outside that grouping may still be promising.
Know your prospect
This step requires research – a tool that is probably not used enough in the building and real estate industry, Horner noted.
Horner disclosed that years ago, his industry did little to no research about potential sponsorship candidates. Now, the PGA Tour has an entire department focused solely on research.
“I don’t think you can undervalue the knowledge you gain from third party or research acumen within your organization to understand the market, understand your prospects, understand the assets,” he said.
Making a case to buy
Once you understand everything about a prospect, you can make a compelling case to buy, Horner said.
One of the best ways to go about that is to “look through the lens of your buyer and see the asset from their perspective.”
When you look at things from your prospect’s perspective, you can understand how they see it, understand their needs and speak their language, he said.
In Horner’s area, the team spends a lot of time developing and executing presentations.
“It’s really no different than if you’re selling a home or you’re marketing a development,” he said. “You’ve got to make a presentation; you’ve got to make a case.”
To do that Horner suggests building the product in a manner that fits the prospect’s needs.
Never turn down an opportunity to meet people, Horner stressed.
“I love meeting people. You never know where it’s going to go,” he said. “Everything you do is a relationship business.”
It’s about making connections and keeping those relationships – it’s not an accumulation process, he said.
Should connections leave their jobs, having a good rapport could open doors for new opportunities with their new companies.
At the PGA Tour, Horner said the collective mindset is fixed on relationships.
“We very much stay with the concept that you build relationships, you keep relationships and you always maintain those relationships,” he said.