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Its All about Making the Sale...

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by spitter, Nov 16, 2011.

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  1. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    There are a lot of threads on TS.com about dwindling ATA membership, lower participation and higher operating costs to both operate and shoot...

    I occasionally get hammered at my home club, when I make the comment that we're a business and in the membership selling business at that... yes, we throw targets, offer recreation and entertainment, but if we don't sell memberships, ultimately the club is out of business...

    I can't speak of the few clubs which operate as truly private (invite-only) clubs that be the rare exception, but the rest of us need fresh red and green (blood and money) on a regular basis.

    Some make the argument that this is a hobby... well, shooting may be a hobby, but running a club or range is a business. It takes work and effort to maintain and support non-profit status, obligatory tax forms, ordering supplies, equipment maintenance and that all takes money... we all should always be selling...

    The ATA's mission may be to "promote" amateur trapshooting, but its primary task is to sell more ATA memberships and it is in desperate need of a "sales manager" to run the selling operation...

    Doctors, dentists, plumbers, trap clubs, etc... they're all on straight commission - they don't bill, they don't make money. Employees are only an expense, so why is the ATA any different?!

    The ATA isn't growing because it has lost its sales focus and has been lax in selling the ATA and not making the sales!

    Respectfully offered,

    Jay
     
  2. yakimaman

    yakimaman Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I've been dealing with consulting firms and product sales people for years and for any of them to be successful they have to convince you there is a need for their product/service or instill a desire in the customer for that product. Don't see it from ATA at all.
     
  3. ky4some

    ky4some Member

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    Jay - another great post. I agree completely. Any location where a "hobby" is practiced is a business. Same applies to golf courses, driving ranges, batting cages, go cart facilities, gyms, rock climbing facilities, etc.

    I say the ATA negotiate with spitter to become National Director of Sales. :)

    Mike Kamer
     
  4. dead on 4

    dead on 4 Well-Known Member

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    Jay, You're spot on, any time you sell service or product you're in business and that operation should be treated as such, regardless if labor is compensated or volunteer. Any club has a business component which seems to escape many in the membership as they fail to realize, cash flow not just labor is required for the clubs survival.

    As many clubs including the ATA are finding, the once unending throngs of people aren't clamoring to their doorsteps asking to participate in the sport we dearly love, things have changed along with peoples wants and desires.

    Shooting sports come under the heading of leisure time activities, a catagory that has grown in choices by at least two hundred times in the last twenty-five years.

    The common thread amongst these new choices avaiable to our population, are the onging battles from these differnt industries trying to attract new participants, this effort should be no differnt for your club or the ATA, our life'a blood are new participants, with out them we will die.

    No doubt ATA should have a strong ongoing marketing and sales campaign which requires sales and marketing personel to drive it to the masses. Such a program is not cheap and requires heaps of money, so the number one question where is the funding going to come from? It's always a catch 22.......

    Surfer
     
  5. Barry C. Roach

    Barry C. Roach Well-Known Member

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    You're 100% correct spitter......but most folks don't understand sales and just how much hard work it can be. I've done it all my life and would like to see sales techniques, primarily, and in support of a good sales campaign, secondarily, marketing techniques.

    I have come to realize that the folks at the head of the ATA do not understand the differences in the definitions of "sales" and "marketing". They are two very different concepts. We need a concerted and well constructed sales effort far more than a marketing campaign. Marketing and advertising looks "glitzy" to us but it is sales that brings new customers to the game.

    There is one very important component at play in the ATA promotional scenario that is the biggest obstacle to convincing the 'purse string holders' that sales will work.
     
  6. bobski

    bobski Well-Known Member

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    you wont sell a thing if you dont convince the buyer he needs the product.
    ive been in sales since 1979.
    you best find out why shooters would want the ata in the first place,
    and sell why YOUR club is the one they need.

    come on all you salesmen...remember hungry harry? (closing the deal 101)

    good luck.
     
  7. birdogs

    birdogs TS Member

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    I agree but only partially. I have run businesses AND membership organization. They are similar but also substantively different. Members pay their dues and then expect perfect service. They think (or don't think) that all of the functions the club provides somehow just happen. They don't realize the work necessary to provide them with those things that make the club work, ie, electricity, targets, machines and their maintenance, etc.. They are quick to complain and slow to help. Selling memberships to these folks is self-defeating since they will not take an active roll and the present officers will either get tired or age out. Running a club requires that you realize this and don't get angry or discouraged, especially when these dolts bring their friends to join; similarly lazy louts.

    A club runs on the energy of a few members who do everything and the vast majority who do nothing except pay dues. For those dues they expect perfection and reserve the right to bitch about anything, which they do often and loudly. Running a club is a thankless job and I don't know why anyone would want to do it. Fortunately, there are the few who take on these tasks and that is what keepe our sport and these clubs alive.
     
  8. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    If you don't shoot registered targets what does the ATA give you in return for your dues? HMB
     
  9. Beni

    Beni Member

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    Why join the ATA if you dont shoot registered targets???? beni
     
  10. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Why join the ATA?! They should be making the argument, but registering targets should be one of the lower issues on the totem pole...

    First and foremost, the ATA is the governing body of American Trap... if you shoot American Trap you should support the Amateur Trapshooting Association - period. We're talking about a $20 business decision?!

    If you shoot Skeet and Sporting Clays you should support those organizations also...

    For $20, it shouldn't matter that we get anything in return... There is not enough margin in the $20 to get anything - maybe a sticker might be nice... but we do get a nice embossed plastic card and an annual score card... that's enough for $20 a year... need a replacement card - they don't charge you...

    Don't forget the access to good firearms coverage as an ATA member... no upfront coverage like the NRA, but the SIAI package is damn fine coverage to be offered...

    I tell everyone to join the ATA.. if I had a say - I'd make it mandatory at my Club... you shoot Trap, join the ATA...

    off my soapbox...

    Jay
     
  11. Crickets

    Crickets Member

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    Spitter,
    I think you are real close. I agree trap clubs should require ATA memberships, just as most require an NRA membership. However, from what I have read and understand of the ATA bylaws, I think they are actually doing exactly what they were set up to be. As apposed to the NRA. The ATA is a governing and record keeping organization. Unfortunately, times have changes and I don't think the ATA has changed with the times. Not the ATA's fault, just the way things are set up. I don't think they are up for the job of really promoting the sport in a way that meets the demands of today's "culture" (?). Unless major changes are in the works, which I doubt, ATA will continue to be a Record keeping and governing body - nothing more. Nothing wrong with that just not what the sport needs right now and in the future. Unless people have the stomach to pay ATA dues that are closer to other sporting associations ($30 -$50 yr) that would be needed for the ATA to really do a national campaign, I think the future of the sport depends on the state associations. It would require state association dues, BUT I think the states associations would be much more effective at marketing trap for their localities, organizing clubs and sponsors. There is nothing that says that state associations can only be involved in ATA registered shoots. Right? State associations would have the flexibility to develop teams and tournaments that could bring in some of those people that like to compete but are not wanting to get involved in the ATA registered shoots for whatever reason. Just my random pontificating.
    CR
     
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