Growing a sport, program, or business takes a lot of time, effort, and resilience. It also takes a level of confidence in yourself to step out and put yourself out there. You have to be the driving force, and you have to be able to express your passion, vision, or goals in a way that others can relate to. This is a difficult process for many, and is a skill that must be built over time. None of it happens if you don’t believe in what you’re doing or selling. For me personally, this has been a journey and has been a process for me to work through. I’ve had ups and downs, successes and failures.
Recently I traveled to the Cleveland, OH area for a family vacation. It had been about 10 years since my fathers side of the family had gotten together. The main reason was to celebrate my grandmothers 90th. While I was there for a vacation and spending time with family, and with the blessing of my amazing wife, I used that opportunity to work. I’m looking to grow the sport of Floorball in anyway possible, and the best way to do that is to get sticks in hands, and get people experiencing the sport for themselves. It’s the most effective sales strategy I’ve found to build Floorball. We have to get people playing. I’m going to give you a little insight that some know, or maybe they don’t, but if you’re looking to grow anything you need to do. Ask the question. While cold calling may not be your favorite aspect you have to do it. I did a basic google search of where I would be and I picked up the phone. I’ve been cold calling businesses for years for just this purpose, so I know what to look for or, how to get past the first line and talk to the decision makers. For this trip I looked at local YMCA’s. The main reason was that it was summer, and it was likely they would have a summer camp, a captivated audience, and a willingness to try something new. On the first call to the Lakewood Family YMCA in Lakewood, OH they accepted my offer to run a 2 hour Floorball clinic for them. I can tell you that getting a yes on the first call is not the norm, and in many cases it takes a lot of time to get to that point, but every now and then it works out.
The day came and 32 kids between the ages of 6-15 showed up to the morning day camp. Some knew what was coming, while most didn’t, and even the camp staff didn’t fully know what to expect. The first impression with staff and kids was to take control. As the lead on the activity it’s important to have control of the group, while also trying to make a positive connection with them in a very short amount of time. Through the camp we focused on teaching a broad spectrum of the skills and rules surrounding Floorball with the ultimate goal of spending time playing. I think it’s important to teach the basics. I don’t think you can skip that part, but you want to keep things fun for both the kids and supporting staff. By the end of 2 hours the kids and staff were hooked on Floorball, and were asking to keep playing. You can’t ask for a better outcome than that.
One thing I want to impress on anyone interested in going to businesses for a clinic. When making the pitch you have to make it clear that you’re there to serve them. You want to make the process as simple and easy as possible. Under promise and over deliver on everything that you do. Make it so easy that they want to bring you back time and again. This is important because people talk, and word gets around about good and bad businesses experiences. Talk to everyone. Engage the kids. Everyone in that room is the most important person, and while they may not be the one to make the decision to ultimately start a Floorball program you need to win them over. Program managers, intramural coordinators, directors are the ones to make decisions, but they do so based on their clients needs and wants. As a director, if I have a demo come to my facility and I see a group of staff and kids fully engaged in an event that we don’t offer I’m going to be seriously looking to implement that program, sport, or event in the future.
Floorball will continue to grow, and in order to do that effectively we need more people out there with boots on the ground working to get people playing. To do that we need to first educate and support new programs with educational resources and development. It has to be done in a way that allows them to learn without constant face to face interaction. We need more print and digital resources to grow and develop as a sport. This is one component to what Floorball Guru is doing and will continue to going forward. I’m excited about the future of the sport in the U.S.