Who are your customers and why are they going to give you money?
Well, do you have an answer? In my opinion, you’ve got to find some way to be remarkable to the people you are trying to reach, otherwise your business is not going to last with only the limited number that already buy from you. You’ve got to continue to find more people that fit the thing you are trying to do – regardless of what it is that you’re selling.
All sport organizations sell stuff and many do quite well – but how many actually have something more they are trying to accomplish (mission, vision, etc.)? How about your organization? Now it’s one to thing to have something to work for, while it’s another thing completely to actually do the work that matters and gets you closer to those ends. Yes, we need to make money and there are limited ways in which we can do that in sports (some of which can be significant, yes), however that is hopefully not the purpose for why you exist. If it’s only the sales numbers that matter, you are surely bound to burn out when it gets really tough – unless you’ve got the belief that what it is you are selling is something greater than just a transaction.
And that’s exactly what I think sports offer that a lot of other industries do not. Sport is about the potential of the human will to overcome obstacles when faced with adversity. It’s about achieving a sense of personal discipline (physical, mental, spiritual) that must be developed over a period of time in order to achieve something great. In doing so, the dedication of the few inspires the many. The few unite the communities that surround them and encourage a cross-cultural connection that extends beyond limitations and boundaries; we become more of that which we already are.
So who are these people that you are trying to reach and why are they going to give you their money? You need their money and they need entertainment and connection with something greater than themselves. To give them what they want, you’ve got to make every single interaction you have with your fans about more than just “gimme gimme gimme.” If all you do is ask for them to buy all the time and attempt to “trick” them into spending money with you, you’re not going to do very well and you are going to turn many people off quicker than you can fathom.
Instead you should develop a relationship with them. Every interaction ought to be more than just about you selling stuff and throwing as many promos out at them – it should feel more natural and human. You don’t do that when you email your friends and family do you – just asking them for favors and for money all the time? No, of course not – so don’t do that with your fans. Visualize the communications you have with your fans as you do the relationships you have with everyone else in your life.
Relationships are something that will be always be changing and something for which you will always be working on making better. True relationships never end and as long as you want to exist as a sport organization, neither should your relationship with your fans. Treat them like the human beings they are and they will repay you first with their attention (the most precious thing they can give you, especially today) and second with their dollars.
I realize it’s a tough road and it’s hardly ever easy. You can’t let up and you’ve got to be working just as hard as the athletes you represent who are doing their best to win everyday.
Thanks for reading Bill’s Sports Business Blog – enter your email to subscribe and leave your comments below! For further reading on the subject of being remarkable, check out Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin (affiliate).