KEEP IT FOLKSY
Working in Reading we referred to ourselves as being folksy. And although that wouldn’t work everywhere it worked for us. I believe it’s what bonded us so closely with our fans and clients. When we sold to a new company we were essentially inviting them to be a part of our world. We had attendance figures and other numbers to share but the primary sales pitch was that we had a fun, passionate atmosphere which they would be associating their company and products with when they advertised.
DON'T WAIT TILL THE SEASON ENDS
Obviously, the purpose of Proof of Performance is to provide advertisers proof that their ads actually ran as expected, fulfilling the requirements of the contract. It's a form of insurance that they got what they paid for. In addition to the end of season P.O.P., I think it's important to offer proof along the way. In Reading we'd do little things like offer the sponsor of a between inning contest the opportunity to provide a contestant and participate. We'd take pictures and videos and turn it into a special event for them at a game. We’d also send out photos of a new partner's billboard being hung in the offseason and later post an amazing catch taking place in front of their sign and tag them on it. In my opinion our most important P.O.P. was provided by inviting our clients to be around the ballpark; see the action, feel the excitement, and hear their own PA announcement.
GET PERSONAL AND GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SALES MEETINGS
The importance of the sales meetings cannot be overstated. It's much more than a time to get a contract signed, it's a key-time for relationship development. This is when you truly find out about the type of company and people that you might be working with (While working for the Fightins, we found a mascot performer this way!). Remember, make it personal. Come to a meeting prepared to make notes of important events and people in your clients' lives. Some of my favorite tricks to connect with clients are documenting kid's and spouse's names, activities that their kid's are involved in, and any birthdays or anniversaries they may have mentioned. If they favored a different affiliate than the team I was working for, I'd invite the client when that favorite affiliate club came to town. Always be on the lookout for ways to re-engage throughout the year. Finding the joy in getting to know your clients is important. Make your clients feel like they're part of your baseball family.
GET ORGANIZED, GATHER MATERIALS AFTER EACH HOMESTAND, AND USE THOSE INTERNS
Even though P.O.P. is a year round endeavor, there's still a big opportunity to deliver an impactful P.O.P. via email and print. Not every client deserves the same amount of attention. It's important to decide which clients will receive an email or printed package. Once it's time to assemble the P.O.P.s, organization is the key. In Reading we had a photographer who'd take pictures throughout the season. We developed an extensive list of all of the photos we needed, created folders for our partners, then we labeled and categorized our favorite photos at the end of every homestand. Wondering who can do this for you? Otto Klein uses his interns. In our interview he told us, "This is a great intern project. It empowers them to be a part of the sales process." I absolutely agree. Being organized throughout the season will save you time when it's time to create the actual P.O.P's for your sales meetings.
Proof of Performance should be make your client a true partner and invite them to be a part of your world. Whether you create a book, a video, or email photos it's you and your staff's job to over-deliver on the relationship as "proof".