Tennis Industry magazine

 

Ideas That Can Help You Sell More Racquets

By Joe Dinoffer

When I managed pro shops and players wanted me to recommend a racquet, I usually walked them over to the display area and asked them what color they liked.

Racquet center

This overly simplistic advice underscores something far more important. People play tennis largely for fun and for the satisfaction of improvement. Their racquet is as important to them as the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the cell phone they use, and the house they live in. They will select it largely because of an emotional reaction. And, yes, color is important.

Each year racquet manufacturers come up with higher performance, more sleek, and more high-tech equipment. Even the names of the frames are hot. For instance, Head’s “Liquid Metal Series.” It sounds like the nearly indestructible and ultra-cool she-villain in Terminator 3. Or Babolat’s “Pure Drive,” which Andy Roddick uses. Who doesn’t want to hit their shots “pure” like Roddick, whatever that means? Or Prince’s “Shark,” reminding us of that tenacious and sometimes deadly fish.

The point is that the racquet companies are working for us. They conceive, design, and promote new racquets each year to tickle your players into trying them out and ultimately purchasing them. The question is, how can we take advantage of the work that they are investing in our business?

Here are a few ideas to help you cash in on the investments the racquet manufacturers are making in the industry. Someone will be selling racquets to players. It may as well be you.

Demo Racquet Rack on Court

For under $50, you can purchase a professional-looking portable racquet center that will hold a dozen or more racquets. Have the pros at your facility bring it out on the court when they teach drill sessions and clinics, or simply keep it on the court for back-to-back lessons. Players will be eager to try new racquets, and you may just make a few quick sales.

Demo Racquet Center in Shop

Get a second racquet rack for the shop and, if you buy into this marketing concept, have a double set of demo racquets as well. Then, train your desk staff to ask all players going out to play if they would like to try a demo racquet. They should already be asking the players if they need a can of balls, so have them ask, “You’re on Court 6. Have fun. Do you need a can of balls? Would you like to try out a demo racquet free of charge?”

Pay Attention to the Demo Details

Treat your demo racquets like you do your car when you have it detailed. The racquets should always look and feel perfect. Strings, stencils, grips, etc., should all be in excellent shape. If they don’t look and feel terrific, who will want to buy them?

List the Top Pros’ Equipment

Everyone loves a celebrity. Look in Tennis magazine or check on the internet for a current list of the Top 10 ATP and WTA players or check out USRSA’s pro equipment logs. Type up their names along with the brand of racquet and frame style that each player uses. Then, spend 30 minutes or so and take your computer print-out of this list to a nearby copy center and have it enlarged to poster size. Buy a nice frame that makes it easy to slip the poster in and out each month and hang it in the middle of or next to your pro shop’s racquet display area. You’ll be surprised at how much attention it gets.

This idea is also a great icebreaker or conversation starter for your staff members who help customers with racquets. But, remember, the key is to update the list monthly. A little extra time each month will definitely help sell at least one extra racquet. With an average profit margin of $75 to $100 per racquet, isn’t it worth the effort?

Player posters of frames

Take advantage of pro player posters that the racquet companies distribute. But don’t just use scotch tape or masking tape to hang them — that looks tacky. Frame them nicely. And ask your racquet manufacturer for an autographed copy of the poster. Tell them that you are framing them in the shop, so it will last for years, and that some of the other racquet makers are helping you with this project. You may not get every player’s autographed poster, but if you’re persistent, you’ll most likely get a few.

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About the Author

Joe Dinoffer is a Master Professional for both the PTR and USPTA. He speaks frequently at national and international tennis teacher workshops as a member of both the HEAD Penn and Reebok National Speaker's Bureaus. He is president of Oncourt Offcourt Inc. and has written 16 books and produced more than 30 instructional videos.

 

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