On this site, I talk quite a bit about how to market your sports facility, so I definitely want to mention a marketing effort that many sports facilities skip. It’s one that I consider to be one of the easiest and most important branding/marketing opportunities available to you: your staff.
Marketing isn’t just about buying ads or making sure your web site is listed in search engines. Marketing happens every time a customer walks into your sports facility, and your staff members are the true gatekeepers of your brand. They are often your customers’ first impression of your sports facility. It’s imperative that your staff is aware of the image you’re trying to present to your clients.
When it comes to marketing via staff, here are some “rules” I have implemented at my own sports facility.
1. Wear the Brand. Many times, I’ve walked into sports facilities and can’t distinguish the staff from the clients. I’ve already mentioned the benefits of promoting your brand via free T-shirts for clients – it’s even more important to make sure your staff is wearing branded clothing. It reinforces your brand, and it’s the professional way to let clients know who represents the facility. Even if they’re “freelancers” who are conducting their own lessons within your facility, they should be wearing branded apparel.
2. Look Clean and Professional. It doesn’t help to have your staff wear a shirt with facility colors or logo if they cut the sleeves off, or are wearing the wrong size. Polo shirts are a nice alternative to T-shirts, as well, especially for management, and sleeves should always be worn by all staff.
3. Follow The “Three Feet” Rule. If a customer is within three feet of any staff member, that staff member should introduce themselves to the client and ask them about their experience at the facility. It takes little effort. Also, it helps get good feedback about your facility and programming.
4. Always Use Names. Your staff should know your regular customers’ names, and address them by name when they come into the facility. Using names shows clients that you appreciate them.
And finally, a tip for managers like you: Hire Friendly, Trustworthy People. This goes without saying, yet I feel the need to mention it. Professional appearance and guidelines for customer interaction mean very little if your staff members are generally unfriendly or stubborn. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good, hardworking people on staff at DNA Sports Center, and it has made a big difference.