The Sporting Life (Part 1)

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Diana Vollmer |

Cleaning the ‘perspiration nation’

SAN FRANCISCO — Just as the excitement surrounding the Olympics will continue beyond the upcoming events in Brazil, so do your opportunities continue to capitalize on the enthusiasm for sports in your market.

The height of summer is a good time to plan for ways to attract business from fall and winter sports. It is a perfect time to reach out to all the decision-makers who influence and determine who gets the related business in your area.

Like other opportunities, capitalizing on the sports possibilities involves a dedicated ongoing sales effort both inside your business premises and outside in the community.

INSIDE OUTSIDE

The internal effort can be reinforced by professional-looking displays that remind your customers that they have many sports uniforms, gear, and fan and spectator items that you can clean.

The uniforms, the fan jerseys, the stuffed mascots, the winner pennants, and sports-themed streetwear all serve to prompt their thinking about what you have to offer them for maintaining and preserving their sports-related pieces.

Staff sales contests can be fun and lucrative for you, with the additional business they bring in and the competition and change from the normal routine for your own team(s).

Try building the stuffed-animal business by using a mascot-centered theme. Give a spirit prize to the team that has the most mascots cleaned. Your customer sales and servicepeople can act as cheerleaders to encourage their favorite team fans to participate. Give coveted professional sports event tickets to the staff member that generates the most stuffed-animal business for the month.

Your external sales efforts can benefit from this same promotion because it is a natural fundraiser for any team and will build your community image and visibility.

Joint-venture promos are great for expanding your reach in your market. These promos can take many forms, including the obvious and beneficial team sponsorships.

Some of the most visible and impactful joint ventures have included collecting donations from the fans at the games with the cleaner’s logo van on the field as the collection receptacle. Imagine the impact of fans bringing a mascot to the arena to fill your van during halftime and then to later be donated to sick kids at the hospital or given to the traumatized at-risk kids by authorities responding to domestic violence calls.

These community efforts allow you to “do good” for your hometown and also for your company at the same time.

YOUR TARGET PROSPECTS

Direct outreach selling to the sports teams themselves is an obvious source of business for capturing the active “sweat side” of sports.

The list of target prospects is almost endless between schools and community teams and their feeder sources. The market covers the entire age spectrum from toddler swimming to octogenarian mountain climbing.

The schools’ own teams are strong candidates, and schools with residence dorms are particularly fertile territory since they become training camp facilities during the school vacations. Search the Net for any sport for training sessions and the size of the potential business becomes clear.

There is business to be had from the uniforms and clothing the trainees wear, but beyond apparel, there is the enormous amount of linen that needs to be cleaned for these temporary residents on campus and in summer camps everywhere. (Specialty camps of all types, not just sports, present similar rich options for building your business.)

The quasi-private sports teams of all ages are also great opportunities for business for you. Think of how many teams travel near and far to compete with advanced teams in their sport. The available poundage for wash-and-fold is enormous.

Sports gear retailers are a good source of information about the possibilities, the contacts, the calendars and specific events for joint-venture promotional tie-ins.

Focusing on running alone, check out the number of competitive, charity and fun runs that occur each month in every city.

Ski resorts also have active calendars of events, and their clientele match both the traditional drycleaning profile and the younger generations you need to capture to sustain the future business.

Ice rinks attract a wide audience between hockey and figure skating.

Gymnasiums, too, attract a broad range of participants from gymnastics to basketball and volleyball as well as their devoted spectators.

Sports training complexes provide facilities for an even wider range of participants, reaching out to individual and team players with squash, tennis, racquetball, weight training, aquatics, yoga, Zumba, Pilates, and a continuing and expanding list of traditional and new forms of training to keep fit.

Opportunity: Do you have a drop box and “clean closet” in the training facilities in your market?

Check back Thursday for the conclusion!

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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