Tennis Industry magazine

 

Racquets: Making a Play Date

When it comes to selling racquets, the frame’s specs can take you only so far. The customer then has to get it out on the court.

You need your customers to buy new racquets. And racquet manufacturers need you to sell their frames. But in a world where consumers are more and more tight-fisted with their dollars, you need to make sure you’re getting the right racquets into your customers’ hands.

While price generally is a factor with recreational players, if they find a frame that truly works for them, they’ll most likely shell out. But if the frame they purchase ends up not working for their game, they’ll have wasted their money. If you can’t match up your customer with a frame that works, that player may well decide to take his business elsewhere, and the one thing you can’t afford to lose in today’s economy is a customer — any customer.

So, bottom line, you need to do everything you can to ensure your customer picks the frame that will best help their game. How do you do that? Well, one good way to start is to use our Racquet Selection Map to help you narrow down exactly what your customer is looking for.

Next, though, you need to keep in mind three things when it comes to helping your customer find the right frame: Demo, demo, demo.

Bruce Levine, the general manager of Courtside Racquet Club in Lebanon, N.J., who coordinates racquet playtesting for Tennis magazine and Tennis.com, says a player considering a new frame needs to hit with it on court — multiple times.

“Players need to test-drive the racquet to make sure it will help their game and feel right to them,” Levine says. Encourage your customers to playtest the racquet on every part of their game, hitting every type of shot they can. One way to help convince players to demo a frame is to apply demo fees to the purchase price once your customer decides on what to buy.

Levine recommends that you encourage customers and players to demo racquets in four stages:

“When a customer thinks he’s found the right racquet for them, he should go out and play with it once more, just to make sure,” Levine says. “After all, it doesn’t do your business any good to sell people on the wrong piece of equipment for them. Ensuring that they have the right racquet for their games makes you a more credible tennis retailer, and helps to bring you repeat business.”

What Else to Consider?

Become as knowledgeable as possible on racquets and technologies, Levine says. Take every opportunity to go over the details provided by racquet manufacturers, and to question your sales reps about their products. And make sure you get your staff in on the education, too. Also, know the three main types of racquets:

And don’t forget the importance of strings — especially because strings mean high margins and repeat business. “Don’t sell a customer a fancy string if they don’t need it,” Levine says. “Sell them the closest string to gut they can afford and that fits their style and their level of play.”

 

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