The greatest stress is feeling behind at work. When the emails, phone calls and texts are coming in and I can’t do anything with them because I am putting out fires. I know you have all been there. It’s those days that we all look at each and ask: “Why do I do this job?”
So, how do we avoid those days? You get ahead.
We live in a world in which coaches and customers will wait to order product until the last minute. It’s human nature. We also live in a world in which screen shops and embroidery shops routinely get backed up and we can’t deliver up to our customers’ expectations. Team sports all generally start around the same time across the country and this creates a bottleneck with your time, as well as your vendors and suppliers.
I hate trying to deliver orders in 2-3 weeks. I want 2-3 months. Why? Murphy’s law.
Anything that can go wrong will. Nothing is more inefficient than having to stop selling and go check on orders you have already sold. Wouldn’t you rather be selling instead of having to check on orders every step of the way?
Sublimation has been a great addition to our industry. But, it has made the customer and the sales rep lazy. When uniforms had to be cut and sewn, you had to get your order in early to get the best pricing. This trained customers. When the rep quit coming through the door in April, they quit thinking it was a priority to order early.
Common Road Blocks
You need to retrain your customer. Get that order early. In the beginning, coaches will push back. Here are some common questions and responses I give:
“Can I just wait to order in the fall? I will know my budget then.”
–Most coaches can ask their AD or principal and they can get a rough idea. Most often, unless there is something seriously wrong with your local economy, it is going to stay similar. Uniforms should be the only item that would fall victim to this. Typically, spirit packs are money raised by the kids themselves and not dependent on if the AD or Principal will issue budget monies.
-Also, my customers know if they wait, they are opening the door to the possibility of an order not coming in correct and not having time to fix it.
-Many times uniforms cost more later in the year, this also will help incentivize both coaches and administrators.
I don’t know my sizes, I need to wait until I have cuts until I can order the product.”
This is the most common question I get. And, I have an answer! If a coach waits until they make cuts to order their spirit pack items, the kids are going to be without gear for 3-4 weeks (if they are lucky). Remember the bottleneck we just talked about? The 4 weeks after the season starts is the worst part of it.
What I propose is this:
-If a coach needs a $100 spirit pack for 50 kids, this would normally cost them $5,000. But, if they wait to order those exact 50 sizes, the kids won’t get those items until 4 weeks after the season starts. In some sports like track, that is almost half a season. Instead, tell the coach to order 60 of the spirit packs, and add in the most popular sizes (most often coaches know all but a couple of the kids who will make the team). Then, take the $6000 and divide that by the 50 kids they plan to keep. Charge those kids the $120 instead of the $100. I don’t know a kid who wouldn’t pay the $20 premium to get the gear 4 weeks early.
Getting the orders early will extend your sales career. You will not be as stressed out. You will more often retain customers because the orders will be timely and correct. Get out and get to your customers early. Save yourself the pain.