Most of us will do the things we are good at, or at least think we are good at, so it’s easy for us to do the books, stock the vending machines, fix a machine or two, check the inventory and schmooze with the customers; the latter being something we are really good at!
But we don’t do the hard things. For one, we don’t sell. Forget about creating a marketing strategy and tactics and social media campaigns and program content and all those really hard things, I’m talking about plain old fashioned- get- out- the- door-selling. When was the last time you got out into the community; yes you, not a hired hand, you?)
I have had more owner operators and managers tell me they don’t “like to sell”; that they are “not good at it” so they just don’t do it. Oh, they can talk to people inside the center or answer the phone and sell a birthday party like a champ, but get her outside of that comfort zone and, oh well; it often isn't a pretty site.
Now I’m not saying that this malady afflicts ALL bowling center owner operator and managers, but I am saying that based upon the amount of outside selling I see, and I’m in a lot of centers in a lot of cities, the percentage of bowling center management teams that have a cogent selling plan is probably less than 15%.
And I always ask myself the same question, “Why are we the only industry where our individual retail establishments do NOT have a dedicated sales person on premise working our market?”
WHY? The shoe store has a sales person. The clothing store has a sales person. The car dealer has a sales person. The hotel has a sales person.
What do we have? A “desk person/customer service/crew member/team member, etc.” who sprays shoes!
What don’t we understand that in order to make money, you, the owner must take responsibility for selling something?
Everybody has to sell something!!
Why do you think you are exempt from that fact? And when I ask you why you don’t hire someone to sell for you; you say you can’t afford it. You can no longer afford not to have someone to sell. Whether it’s you or someone else, you have to do it.
If you really don’t like selling or feel that you’re not good at it, do something about it. Take a course, read a book, hire a sales person, but don’t just sit back and tell me business “aint so good.”
Because in order to get something positive to happen to your revenue line, you will have to sell more product, It's just that simple. You need to sell more product and while the thought of outside selling leaves you feeling a bit queasy, the harsh reality is you no longer have a choice.
You can only pave over the hard things for so long before people forget you even have anything to sell.
Some folks in the industry, and wiser than I, might say that we are very close to or have approached that point already. I certainly hope not.
Because before you can work smarter, you have to work harder. It’s just the way the world works.