Its been raining now in Charlottesville for the last 8 days and its getting pretty old. I started writing this when I got back from the World Conference last week and I finally finished it this morning.
As you know starting out in the tennis industry can be nerve racking and if you have been in the business for any length of time these tips may be reminders of things you should be doing or helping your staff achieve.
I’ve been in the business now for close to 30 years and I have seen a lot of so hopefully these tips will help you.
1. Improve your communication skills with your clients.
In our industry – as much as you may think it’s unfair – a lot of people are going to assume that you are on the court all of the time and all you do is hit tennis balls.
You’re “feeding” into that label each time you send an email with all lower-case letters or fail to utilize correction punctuation.
Take the time to actually read the email or text message before you hit send. If you are a pro that only sends text messages make sure the message makes sense and make sure that the words are the correct words.
When writing emails format them so it easy to read on a phone.
Most people will read your email on a phone first so make it easy for them to read it.
2 Continuing Education
Don’t make continuing education harder than it needs to be.
Your goal should be a minimum of 52 hours per year, or 1 hour per week.
It stuns me to think that it’s hard for people to not be able to do 6 hours over the course of 3 years of personal development.
Come on people we're not that busy.
3. Incorporate video into your coaching.
Many clients are visual learners who do best when they see themselves performing an exercise.
With cameras being on your phone this should be a no brainer.
4. Make it easier for potential customers to recognize your skills and knowledge.
There are a so many different avenues you can use to do this.
For instance, don’t expect a Facebook presence to mean much to your students who are 14-18, as they’re all on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Understand your client base and market towards that base.
5. Look professional
Yes, it does matter.
Dress the part, wear clean clothes, and be properly groomed.
There is nothing worse than seeing pros who are wearing dirty clothes and smell like they haven’t showered in a couple of days.
Clean it up.
6. Social media
Use social media as a means of building rapport with your customers and possible clients, celebrating customer’s achievements, and also in positioning or reaffirming your skills.
Don’t use it to be negative. People do look at your pages and what you are posting and tweeting.
7. Never be afraid to refer another professional
Remember that our top priority is to help customers.
I see too many pros that are afraid to refer their clients out to other professionals because they’re afraid the customer won’t come back and they’ll lose their business.
If that’s the way you’re thinking, then you should be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I create a better relationship with that customer?”
If you do a good job, you should create a sense of loyalty in your customers – this shouldn’t even be an question.
8. Watch what you are saying.
Don’t swear on the court or in the office…ever.
Understand that people are listening to what you are saying so if you talk bad about someone realize that it’s going to get back to that person.
There is no reason to be swearing in the office or on the court.
Watch what you say in front of kids. Kids talk and they will tell their parents as soon as they get in the car or at the dinner table what you said during the clinic or lesson.
When you see a tennis pro with a busy schedule, don’t think, “That pro is terrible why would anyone take a lesson with him. I should have way more lessons than he does.”
Instead, ask yourself, “What is that person doing so well that he makes people go to him?”
10. Never speak badly about another pro, club, or business.
This goes without saying.
11. Always be on time.
If you want customers to respect you as a coach and professional, you need to respect them first – and that begins and ends with showing up on time and being ready to coach.
Organized facilities/trainers/pros attract (or help to create) organized clients.
If a customer perceives you as disrespectful you may never be able to make that person change how they feel about you.
12. Religion, Politcs, and work is a bad idea
Never, ever, ever discuss religion or politics on the job...It’s just a bad idea.
Don’t just work to create a good network of teaching professionals around you, but also a great network of specialists.
Not all tennis pros have identical skill sets.
Some pros are great with adults and some are great with juniors.
Not everyone is the same so get to know everyone on your staff and your community.
14. Be GREAT at One Thing
You need to be great at something.
Be really great at one thing. Be the go to person for something. Find your one thing and you will make it in this industry.
However, before you can be really good at something, you should be proficient at a lot of things.
Remember that proficiency precedes popularity. You’ll get really busy when you’re really good at what you do.
Remember John Wooden’s quote that says “Never Mistake Activity for Achievement”.