It’s not difficult to convince sports facility owners and managers that group programming – camps, classes, clinics, and even leagues and tournaments – is the best and most profitable option for their space. It is difficult, however, to get sports facility owners and managers to make the real effort that is required to fill those programs with athletes.
Ideas are great, but they’re nothing without proper execution. In this case, proper execution means having a great marketing plan for your group programs, and following it.
I hope you’ve already developed quality programming that sets you apart from your competitors. Now, it’s time to buckle down and really sell that programming. My background is in sales, so I understand the importance of cold, hard numbers. As a sports facility owner, I also understand the difficulty in getting your staff excited about both sales AND training. Thankfully, sales skills can be learned.
The most important thing to emphasize to your staff and to keep in mind yourself as you get started is this: The number of client contacts your staff is making directly correlates with how many athletes will join your camps. The numbers don’t lie!
So, how do you know whether your staff is reaching out to enough prospects? Here are the five steps I take. (They’re similar to the procedure I’ve outlined for purchasing sports facility equipment.)
- Establish your financial goals for the camp/class/clinic. Consider the cost to run the program, including the cost of the space you need (use your standard rental rate) the instructor pay, and any costs for marketing (T-shirts, for example) and equipment. Then, consider the role that this programming plays in the bigger picture of your financial plan and create a revenue goal. You should at least shoot for a 20% profit. Also, decide the lowest number you’ll accept without cancelling the camp or class.
- Decide what you’ll charge per athlete. Analyze your competitors’ pricing, and consider the value of your service to your clients as you establish your price, including any promotional discounts you’d like to offer.
- Considering your financial goals and your established price, calculate the number clients you need in the class in order to reach your financial goals.
- Figure out how many calls you need to make in order to get that number of clients in the class. If you don’t know your typical close rate, start by assuming that 5% off all the qualified clients you reach out to will enroll in the class. For example, if you need 10 athletes in your camp to break even at the price points you’ve established, your staff should plan to make 200 personal calls or emails to prospects that have confirmed that they’re interested in the type of service you offer.
- Make sure your staff has the time and the resources to make those calls and send those personal emails. Any personal outbound call or email counts – not just those that result in a live conversation. I’ve noticed that my staff makes about 15 contacts each hour. If you use those same numbers, your staff will need about 13-14 hours dedicated to selling the camp. It might sound intimidating, but that’s just an hour each day for a few weeks. Emails are also easy to duplicate from client to client for the most part – just make sure to use at least one personal note so that your client knows that you sent the message just to them.
Breaking your sales process down like this can be very freeing. Instead of approaching your camp marketing with a vague sense of how many players you’d like or expect to have, you’ll have real guidelines for success.
Have you used this type of process at your own sports facility? Let me know – leave a comment or send me an email.