There are several factors that can determine the success of selling and booking sports photography in the school market. Here are some keys to maximizing your time and increasing your sales.
Get organized and create a plan of action
Middle schools and high schools are a very lucrative market for shooting sports photography. There are several sports to choose from and they can keep your schedule full throughout the year. If you are successful photographing one sports team, this can lead to photographing other sport teams.
Visiting school websites is a fantastic source of information when planning your sales strategy. The Clell Wade coaches’ directory website www.coachesdirectory.com is an excellent source for athletic program information. Research this website and order a copy of your state’s current directory. This is an incredible time- saving tool that has detailed information of almost every school in your state and all the sports they participate in. It lists physical addresses and websites for the school, and contact information for the coaches as well. With this directory you can discover which schools are located near each other, so you can visit all the schools in one area to maximize your time.
Utilize your time and find the decision maker
Finding the decision maker in the sports school market is critical to your sales success.
A good first step is visiting the school and meeting with the Athletic Director. Although this meeting is important, it is not mandatory. This appointment allows you to introduce yourself, your company and lays the groundwork for future visits. It also provides you with the main contact name of sports in the school, making you more credible and comfortable when meeting the head coach. The Athletic Director will have current coaching rosters, practice schedules and other resourceful information. Gather as much information about their past experiences with sports photography. This information will allow you to prepare a strategy to solve the problems they have experienced in the past.
Discover if a Booster Club is involved in the decision making process of the sports you want to shoot. If so, get the officer contact list and calendar of events for the club. Most of this information will also be available on the school website. Remember the main goal is to get in front of the head coach or the decision maker.
Go directly to the Gyms and Practice Fields
Most of the coaches in schools are also teachers, which can make it challenging to reach them. Leaving marketing materials with the secretary at the front office or with assistant coaches can lead to frustration and wasted time.
Today’s incredible technology allows sales people to reach coaches in several ways such as email and voice mail, but face time with the coach is your best opportunity to get information and book an event.
The key to accomplish this is to go directly to the gyms, practice fields and field houses. This direct approach is the best use of time and the most effective way to make contact. Once you have the coach’s name and practice times confirmed, arrive early. This will allow for uninterrupted time with the head coach. Many times you will be confronted by assistant coaches, but wait to speak to the head coach.
Of course all clients want great photography, but coaches are pressed for time and desire an efficient sales presentation and photo shoot. Be prepared with a 30 second sales pitch as well as a longer one if time is allowed. Make sure and have your marketing materials ready to deliver and your calendar available as well.
In one school visit, you can get in front of several different coaches and book multiple events. Network with the coaches and get insight about other sports programs. This can allow for you to schedule several different sport team photo shoots in the same day. If they don’t have time for you on your first visit, set an appointment to meet with them later that week. The earlier you prospect, the better. You should optimally try to see coaches 3 to 6 months before the upcoming season.
If they have already booked with someone else, there may be a service that your competitor can’t offer such as our digital Faux Groups, Attitude Panos and Level TwoTM products. These products can set you apart from your competition. You may be able to set up a second shoot just for one of these products. Let them know about unique services like the View First system which relieves them from handing out order forms and collecting money. Finally, make sure and confirm a date when to contact them for the following season and follow up.
Candid Color Systems can provide you assistance in your marketing and booking efforts. We have training presentations, newsletters and custom marketing materials. If you need advice about booking and shooting school sports, Customer Development is here to help! Call 800.336.4550 and become a customer today.
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