Fill the Stadium!

An epic post to get you thinking about your primary role.

The first AFCA convention I attended was in Nashville, Tennessee and the keynote speaker was “Bo” Schembechler. Sitting in the front row, I heard him say something that has guided my path in coaching to this day…

Fill the Stadium: Your Mission

He was talking about the role of the head football coach – regardless of the level. “Bo” made mention that we were all entrusted to do one thing and that was to “Fill our Stadium.” He also stated that since he had the largest stadium in the country, he had the most difficult job in the nation yet he had filled Michigan Stadium to capacity every year.

Basically, it doesn’t matter where you coach your duty as a head coach is to build the type of program that fills your stadium to capacity. It’s easy to say, but I believe there is a formula that one must follow to complete this gargantuan task.

You see it’s not as simple as Al Davis’s mantra, “Just Win Baby.” We can name so-called high profile football programs that never even get close… Miami Hurricanes, Houston Cougars, San Diego Chargers…

Wake Forest Football Game... ACC Football!

Wake Forest Football Game… ACC Football!

I’m actually embarrassed when I watch some of these games on ESPN where they don’t show the fans – on purpose. Think about it, why do they do this when Ohio University plays Kent State, on a Thursday night?

Because nobody is in the stadium. Shame on them… We coach the greatest game in the world yet we are so myopic in our view as football coaches we play it off on the administration or even worse blame the fans for lack of support. The recent trend of lackluster attendance is frightening and it’s going to take some creative leadership to turn it around.

My question to you is…

At Emporia State, I was obsessed with fulfilling the obligation that Coach Schembechler had bestowed upon us as coaches (Photo of Welch Stadium above). To accomplish this mission, I had to research and do a study as to what was the recipe to fill the stadium. At the time, I was fortunate to have been the CEO of American Football Monthly while coaching at ESU. I put together a focus group and studied programs nationwide to come up with my “3 D’s to Filling the Stadium.”

This blueprint has served me well as in accomplishing Bo’s mission at ESU, Texas State University and Enka High School in Candler, North Carolina. However, it is more than this blueprint; I believe it’s a “way of being” that results in filling the stadium.

As unconventional as this may sound, my underlying philosophy to running a football program has always been guided by this one simple question…

Here’s a taste of how a question like this works as my compass toward guiding a football program…

In selling it to the players,

  1. How does doing the right thing off the field result in filling the stadium?
  2. How can becoming a better student help us fill the stadium?
  3. Does representing our program affect filling the stadium?

You get the point…

If I believe that an action contributes to filling the stadium – we need to go full speed ahead with that action.

Now, with this as our guiding light, let’s take a look at each of the three parts of my blueprint. “The 3 D’s of Filling the Stadium”: Discover, Disseminate and Deliver.

Fill the Stadium: Discover

There are three parts to the Discovery process:

  1. Eliminating limiting beliefs.
  2. Using surveys to understand our public.
  3. Clarifying what our product is.

Eliminating Limiting Beliefs

Over the years, each of us has accumulated various ideas about how to do things. Most of these ideas help us in one way or another. There are some ideas, however, that actually prevent us from getting on with it. A particular type of idea that has been actually quite destructive is known as the “limiting belief.” A limiting belief is something accepted without personal inspection or agreement. This is a concept I was fortunate enough to glean from Bill Snyder (Kansas State) while working with him to turn around the worst program in the history of college football.

Let’s take a look at some examples of limiting beliefs that you might notice:

  1. There are certain times of the year that we can’t sell season tickets.
  2. There are too many other football programs in my area who sell what I sell.
  3. There are just too many other things for people to do where we are located.
  4. Our location prohibits us from filling the stadium.
  5. It’s difficult to find and hold onto competent staff who are willing to go the extra mile.

Those are some of the limiting beliefs that I’ve heard from administrators and football coaches. There are quite a few others. But the key to a limiting belief is this: this belief does NOT solve the problem. It actually prevents the problem from being solved.

People use limiting beliefs to rationalize or “excuse away” non-optimum situations.

YOU are superior to any idea that can be created, BUT when you accept an idea without really inspecting and understanding it, then that idea has power over you. That idea can now prevent you from doing things that contribute to your success.

Handling The “Limiting Belief.”

You can undo the power of a limiting belief. This is done very simply by recognizing that it is a limiting belief. Inspect the idea very carefully, look to see why it is that way and also how it can possibly not be that way. This opens the doors to solutions … doors that were not open before.

Let’s look at another example of a limiting belief and the effects it can have on a football program:

‘The economy is bad. People just don’t have the money to buy season tickets.’

Whoa! Is that ever a perfect example of a limiting belief! Now I realize there are probably quite a few economists out there right now who are willing to argue with me on this point. They will give the most rational arguments about how, when the economy is in bad shape, people just don’t have the money to afford much, and when the economy is in better shape, people do have more money to spend on things.

And on one level, that is true. But let me ask you a few questions here. What happens when YOU really want something? When you have an unyielding need and want for something, don’t you more times than not go out and get it? Don’t you either make the extra money or use your available credit to purchase these items?

More times than not, when a consumer actually wants a service or product, they will find the way to purchase it. Does our customer really want/need our season tickets? Whose job is it to bring about this recognition of want/need? Our’s or the prospective fan?

Answer that one without flinching and you’ll have one of the keys to your prosperity.

And what about the businesses that ARE doing well while the economy is not doing well. How is it that football programs that are delivering the same product or service as you, in the same area as you, are doing better than you?

I’ll tell you why…

Yes, the economy can be in worse shape, there is no denying that. But to accept that fact as why your program will now be in rough shape is simply and only an example of how an idea can have power over you!

What Elements Do You Actually Control?

You have control over what happens inside your football program. You do not have the same element of control over what happens outside your program, i.e. the state of the economy, or when Christmas comes each year! But you have full control over the affairs of the program; you have control over how much to promote and when to promote; you have control over how efficient your staff is. If you are not exercising full control over these areas, then that needs to be addressed. But don’t succumb to a limiting belief as an excuse for not having control over your internal scene.

Realize this, a limiting belief is something you have not fully inspected. A limiting belief is something that is used to explain some kind of non-optimum situation in life or in business. A limiting belief will NOT open the door to any type of a solution.

Look hard at some of the ideas you have about how you view and manage the organization. Get rid of the limiting beliefs and watch the bottom line go through the roof!

Using Surveys To Understand Our Public

Surveys are an aspect of marketing that is critical but seldom used to its full potential.

Surveys help to analyze your fanbase...

Surveys help to analyze your fanbase…

The first action you want to take to improve your marketing effectiveness is to truly find out what your customers need and want from you.

How recently have you asked your fans to answer a survey that could provide vital information to you? What kind of information could this provide?

Sometimes things happen that you are not always fully aware of. Do you believe it is possible that someone in your organization might intentionally be turning away business? How would such a person “turn away business”? Here are a few tricks this person uses: a not-so-happy greeting when a fan first walks in, rudeness over the phone, not answering customers’ questions, losing their files, and yes, most or all of this is done outside of your observation.

But guess what? It is definitely not done outside of the observation of your fanbase! Your customers get the full “benefit” of this person’s performance.

However, if you were to survey your fans, you would find this out! You might be amazed at what may be happening inside your organization … that you were not aware of … and you can find out by asking.

Seeing Your Fan’s Point Of View

Are you providing the specific services and products your customers truly need? Do they need something else from you that you’re not providing? Do you really know what they need and want, or are you providing what YOU believe they need and want.

Here is a quote by Peter Drucker regarding surveys…

If you take the time to find out, to ask as many of your fans as possible how you can service them better, two things will happen:

  1. You will find out for yourself what THEY need and want and will be able to adjust some of your actions to better meet those needs and wants.
  2. By asking your fans how they feel about your service to them, this all by itself increases their affinity for you.

Each person that is surveyed feels he/she has a voice in how the service can be better rendered. When you enhance their willingness to interact with you, you increase their willingness to send others to interact with you.

Do not underestimate the value that this kind of survey can have.

Here are sample questions that you can and should be asking your customers:

  1. What part of our service can be improved?
  2. What part of our game day experience can be enhanced?
  3. Is there someone here who services you particularly well?
  4. Is there someone here who does not service you well?
  5. Should we be available to service you at other times of the day or night? What times?
  6. Is there something we have done that you have not fully understood? If so, find out what it is.
  7. Is there something we have done that you did not agree with? (Get details)
  8. If there was something that we could change about ourselves that would make things easier or more satisfying to you, what would that be?

On the questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – the customer should, of course, be urged to amplify and give as much detail as possible.

The survey questions can be asked in person by someone at your organization, or you can have survey questions done with an online service such as Survey Monkey. Either way, you are keenly interested in candid responses so be sure to preface the questionnaire with a request for such.

The results of your studies may be fascinating.

You may not like what you find out, but you will be in a much better position to do something about it.

Find out how to better service your fans and how to gain more cooperation from your staff. And then USE that information to better your situation. Simple.

But Important.

Clarifying What Our Product Is.

If you know what your product is and you know this with crystal clarity, and if your staff also clearly know what their products are, you are an immeasurable step closer to filling your stadium.

Now that statement may have sounded incredibly simple, but let’s take a look at this a bit more carefully…

What IS your product?

What IS your product?

Before you read any further into this post, I want you to get out a piece of paper and write down what your product is.

Have you done that?

Seriously … take a minute and write down what your product is … this could be very revealing for you.

All right, you’ve done that. Magnificent!

Now let’s get a proper definition for the word “product.”
Peter Drucker defines it in this way:

“A product is a finished high-quality service or article in the hands of a consumer as an exchange for a valuable.’

Per the definition above, is it really a product if it hasn’t been exchanged yet? Is that beautiful new car on the lot a product? Well, in a sense it has been completed and it has come off the assembly line, so it’s a product for the manufacturer and for those on the assembly line.

But from the car dealer, is it a product?

The answer is a resounding no! If the car dealer has tons of beautiful, nice cars on his lot and not a single one has been exchanged with a consumer for a valuable (most usually money) – does the car dealer feel productive? Does he feel that he is producing? Not hardly.

Some administrators and coaches are actually somewhat hazy on this critical definition of a product. For instance, in speaking with several coaches at a seminar I held a few years ago, the product that they gave for their program ranged from quality game day experience to loyal fans. But not one was able to give a clear, concise statement of what their football program is producing.

When they were shown the following statement of a product for a football program, their eyes lit up:

‘A happy, passionate, loyal fan who is fully completed and paid for their tickets and refers others to your stadium.’

When you look at a product such as that, you can see that everything that is occurring in a football program lines up with it. Each and every staff member in the athletic department can now contribute their actions and duties towards the attaining of a very clearly stated and attainable product.

Let’s take a closer look at this product.

First of all, it is “A happy, passionate, loyal fan“. That makes good sense. The receptionist contributes to this by being friendly and caring; the players do their part by taking good care of themselves to deliver on game day. The other staff can align their efforts to achieve this.

So a happy, passionate, loyal fan is definitely part of the product … but only part of the product. For most football coaches I’ve spoken to, that was the entirety of what they felt their product was. But they left out several very essential elements.

The next part of the product of a football program is: “A happy, passionate, loyal fan who is fully completed. “Here is an interesting question: if the fan is not completed with their game day experience, is he a product? Remember, a product is a finished item.

Which brings us to: “A happy, passionate, loyal fan who is fully completed and paid for their tickets. “If the fan doesn’t pay for the service, is it really a product? Well, the definition above states:

“A product is a finished high-quality service or article in the hands of a consumer as an exchange for a valuable.”

If the fan doesn’t exchange for the work done by the football program, how does the organization feel? Do they feel as if they’ve actually produced? No. The organization actually feels somewhat let down. How does the fan feel? Also not very good. The fan knows that he has received a great experience and has not exchanged for it.

So, this point of getting paid or receiving an exchange IS part of the definition of a product. And the receptionist who collects the money for the service now knows that collecting the money is not just something that she is supposed to do, she knows that if she doesn’t collect the money, the program isn’t producing!

“A happy, passionate, loyal fan who is fully completed and paid for their tickets and refers others to your stadium.” How do we really know that we’ve made a truly happy fan? Yes, you got it! He refers his family and friends to you! Would you refer somebody to a store or to a dentist if you had reservations about how you were handled?

For a football program, if the fan refers others to you and if you have completed the game day experience for him and if he has paid you for the service (in full) then that football program has produced a product! Enough of these kinds of products and the program will flourish.

“What is your product?”
How about you?

What did you write down earlier? Are you fully satisfied with what you wrote? If not, take a look at the product above for a football program and take a close look at the definition of a product and work out a good, clear statement of what your product is.

Then sit down with each and every one of your staff and go over with them what the overall product is and help them determine a clear statement of what their product should be. Their individual product will, of course, align with the overall product, but make sure that their product is not something they DO. It must be something they PRODUCE and it must be of high quality and it must be exchanged. The individual staff member may only exchange his or her product with another employee. That’s fine. That fits the definition above. But make sure it is a PRODUCT.

A product is something that is created. It is something that you HAVE as a result of what was done. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you or your staff are DOING is the important thing. What you and your staff are PRODUCING is the key. Some people instinctively know this for themselves but have trouble helping others to operate in the same way. But there are also some who have spent their entire lives judging themselves and others on what they DO, not on what they PRODUCE. Get your wits fully around the differences on this and it will serve your program well.

You may find that you have a staff member (or two) whose product is the result of negative intentions. They may be busy, busy, busy, but what they actually produce is confusion for others, unhappy customers, disgruntled staff, lost materials, etc. Clearing up products as stated above may help you locate such a staff member.

With all of your staff, you can now start asking questions like: “Where are your products? How many products have you gotten out? How many products can you get out in the next 24 hours?” Of course, you’ll want to use a lot of positive coaching as you groove in this change of operating basis, but your staff will start focusing on what’s important, and a lot of “busy work” will drop off.

Every day you should talk about products to your staff. You should bring it up at staff meetings. You eat, drink and breathe products. You dream about products. And the staff who enjoy producing will love it – the staff that doesn’t? Well …
Developing a clarity for you and your staff on products is a tool that you can immediately use to streamline the day to day activities of your football program and it is a tool that will help you increase prosperity & fill the stadium.

Fill the Stadium: Disseminate

There are three parts to the Dissemination process:

  1. How to get our fans to know we exist.
  2. The importance of promotion.
  3. Setting up sharp lines of communication to our public.

How To Get Our Fans To Know We Exist

Let’s compare two different football programs. They both have excellent locations; they’ve both been operating the same number of years; they both have the same number of competent staff working for them. Yet one has many more fans/customers than the other? Why?

I am going to give you one major reason why this is the case, and before you decide that the reason I give is too simplistic, read the rest of this section…

The football program that regularly and effectively communicates with its fanbase will have far, far more customers/fans than the program that does not accomplish this.

Here is a quote from Napoleon Hill…

For communication to be effective, it must be fully understood on the other side of the communication line.

Can they hear you?

Can they hear you?

If we use terms that our fanbase cannot understand fully, we are not effectively communicating. We must treat each and every one of our fans with respect and communicate effectively with them for us to have active & productive interaction.

This is not really a new concept, but it is an important one. To the degree that we are “out of communication” with our fanbase … to the degree, that our fans are “out of communication” with us – to the degree our organization is losing income, possibly bucket loads of income.

More Communication = More Customers

For us to increase the number of fans coming to us, we need to increase the level of communication and understanding we are having with them. What are some of the ways we can enhance the communication with our customers?
Here are just a few: 

  1. Personal letters via e-mail & snail mail.
  2. Social Media posts. (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube)
  3. Periscope broadcasts.
  4. Customized form letters.
  5. Interactive website with a mediated message board.
  6. Postcards.
  7. Holiday Greetings.
  8. Newsletters.
  9. Press Releases.
  10. Special Events.

It is rare in today’s technological society for an organization to actually take the time out and write a personal or even “hand-written” letter to someone. But just imagine the positive effect of adding this to our communication arsenal. People will really appreciate when they receive this type of communication from us. The person feels wanted. Cared for. Communication accomplishes this. The absence of communication achieves the opposite.

Yes, this is a very hectic world today and yes, most folks will not give two hoots one way or the other if they never receive a letter from you.

But what about the person who does receive letters on a relatively regular basis from you? Talk about standing out in the crowd! You can almost do no wrong. When you increase communication, the result is always an increase in loyalty. And the more loyalty your customers have for you, the more willing they are to come in, and the more eager they are to recommend others to you.

The communication we send out to our customers/fans can be broad and varied. From letters wanting to know how they’re doing or posts providing them with some piece of data that will benefit their lives. There is a significant amount of data that one could send out to customers that can be beneficial to their day to day living and enormously helpful in keeping you and them IN COMMUNICATION with each other.

An incredibly easy way to care for people is to stay in contact with them.

The most efficient way to keep in the minds of your customers/fans is to continue to communicate with them. You can send them notices of new merchandise or special events. You can send them an information type of newsletter. The closer you get to “personal” letters, though, the better. What if you were a recently subscribed season ticket holder and you received a personal letter from the head coach that thanks you for your support and also notifies you of an upcoming event?

While your customers/fans are in the stadium or at a particular event, you can use this opportunity to increase the level of communication with them.

You can implement this type of strategy:
Ask every person that comes in contact with our organization a simple question: “How can we service you better?” Write down each person’s response and act on what your find.

You can use all kinds of creativity here, but the main thing is to increase the quantity and the quality of communication with your most treasured commodity: your customers/fans.

If you want to know which to concentrate on first: quantity or quality, I was surprised to find out that the first thing to address is the quantity of letters & communications, the amount of outflow out to customers and prospective customers.

Concentrate initially on getting a good quantity of communication and then increase the quality.

Get yourself into thorough and regular communication with your customers and fans and watch your football program grow!

How Important Is Promotion?

Promotion gets the attention of your fanbase...

Promotion gets the attention of your fanbase…

What it takes to promote properly a football program is not always well understood.

Some people feel promotion is an expense they cannot allow for. Perhaps they spent money on advertising before and saw little or no returns.

Maybe they advertised in the local newspaper or online and only one or two people came in from the ad, and the ad cost, let’s say $450. Of course, if 2 people came in from a $450 ad and each of those people purchased over $500 in services from you, then the ad was not a total waste.

But what if nobody came in from the ad? Then the ad was a total waste, right? Well, not exactly. You did promote yourself and your business and it is entirely possible that somebody or a few somebodies came in later who saw the ad and then, after driving by, decided to come in. They may not have said anything to you or your front desk person about seeing the ad, but they might have seen it AND it might’ve registered somehow for them while they were driving by without their being fully aware of it.

And then they pop in to inquire about your program…

Now, I’m not trying to get theoretical here, but the fact remains the ad was a promotional effort on your part and it was not necessarily a wasted effort. Yes, we would far prefer that this same ad has sent 10 or 15 people to the ticket office and then we’d feel an awful lot better about the $450 spent on it. We might even feel fine if we spent $1500 on the ad and it got us 10-15 new season ticket holders!

My intention with this particular topic is to make a point that has more to do with your attitude about promoting than about how specifically to promote.

If you think promotion is just a necessary evil, then you might want to rethink your position. If you think promotion is unnecessary and is just a waste of your time and money, then once again I’m going to ask you to reconsider things. If the promotion is done wisely, often and well, your organization can and will flourish.

Peter Drucker had some fascinating things to say about promotion…

‘The fundamental principle of promotion is to drive in more business. This applies to promotion anywhere. Promote as much as possible and you will win.”

Every person I know who applies that piece of technology always has a steady stream of customers.

And I also know a good number of people who do not promote, or who do not promote regularly or consistently … and I observe their business going through the ups and downs that some people think are a fact of business life. The ups and downs, where the business is doing well for awhile and not well at other times – wherever you got the idea that this is a fact of business life, throw that idea away! It is a piece of false information, proven wrong countless times by businesses that stay busy every day of the week, every week of the year … and one of the key tools that they use to accomplish this is PROMOTION.

Setting Up Sharp Lines Of Communication To Our Public

Earlier, a point was brought out on the importance of writing letters to your customers/fans. In this section, I am going to amplify some on this point. I will also discuss how the telephone and other innovative media can be used to increase business.

“Any letters, e-mails or phone calls are better than no letters, e-mails or phone calls.” “The volume of the income of an organization is in direct proportion to the number of letters, e-mails & phone calls and letters of an organization.” – Jay Abraham

How does this apply to a football organization?

If you start a project that gets a real volume of letters to our fans every week, you will see a rise in your program’s income. It may take a little time for this to come to fruition, but it will occur.

Personal letters from the head coach to the fanbase are worth their weight in gold. Yes, your day is swamped with all kinds of activities and it is a real trick to getting everything done. Well, I’m going to give you one more thing to put on your day’s activities. Take 20 minutes of every day (or every other day) and call this: “letter writing time.” Sit down and write personal letters to your constituency … you will find this very rewarding on two scores:

  1. You will feel better because you are outflowing communication to your customers/fans/supporters.
  2. The people who are the recipients of these letters will feel in much better communication with you and your program and will be more willing to interact with you.

These letters could take the form of a thank-you letter directly from you showing appreciation for their support, etcetera.

You could write to see if the person has any questions about his recent season ticket purchase. This always makes an excellent impression on the customers/fans, especially if it is a big purchase or sponsorship. But even if it’s a small ticket item, you can still write and ask if they are happy with their purchase or you may offer some tips on how to fully utilize their purchase. i.e. A special tail-gaiting section for people who buy personal seat licenses…

You could write letters to people who haven’t been around your organization recently and invite them personally to come in and see or meet the “new so-and-so” … or give them a very special discount if they come in in the next 2 weeks.

There are many different things you can say in a letter to your customers/fans. The thing is to start telling them and keep communicating with them in this format. A continual flow of letters from YOU and your staff WILL make a difference on your bottom line AND your pride as a leader in the organization.

Getting Out A Real Volume Of Letters & E-mails

Would you consider a handwritten note?

Would you consider a handwritten note?

I also have found that you want to look at getting out a real VOLUME of letters each week. And you, personally, do not have the time to do massive volume – let’s say, a hundred or several hundred letters every week.

How does one get that accomplished? This is where the concept of a “customized letter” comes in. Let’s say in the past few months, you have reached out and created a database of 500 prospects. Every week, you should get out 50 or 100 or even more letters, AND after you’ve gotten the first customized message out to everyone, you then get the new personalized letter sent out and start rotating again through your prospect base.

Another option is to assign “letter-writing duties” to members of your staff. We did this for recruiting at Texas Tech and it worked out extremely well. An example of this would be to arrange that appropriate staff send out 10 or 20 personal letters each week to customers/prospects/fans. This would not take a great deal of time on the part of the staff and it is a superb way to keep your staff in regular communication with your customers/fans. (I have even had our football players write the letters and received raving reviews from season ticket holders)

For organizational purposes, each person writing a letter should make a record of the letter that went out and forward that information to the office manager. This way, a few weeks or months down the line, the person sending out the next letter will keep in mind the letter(s) sent previously. Also, any and all letters that come back in from customers should be placed in their folder. This will give a good, running record of correspondence. Electronic communication should also be organized in the same fashion.

The more letters you send out each week, the more productive of income this will be. The cost is not that great and the benefits far outweigh the risk.

A point to consider. Won’t some of your customers feel you are “harassing” them with these regular letters. You may get a comment from a few, but they will definitely be in the minority. If you provide useful info and your care and concern for them is evident in these letters, and you get out a good VOLUME of these letters, good things will happen.

Using The Telephone Effectively

Should You Use the Telephone?

Should You Use the Telephone?

Where does the telephone fit into this equation? The earlier quote said:
“The volume of the income of an organization is in direct proportion to the number of phone calls and letters of an organization.”

So, in addition to letters, we need to consider phone calls.

What kind of phone calls should you and your staff be making?

One type of call that can and should be made: a call from someone in the organization that just asks how the person is doing. This call does not even bring up the subject of purchasing something, it just opens up lines of communication. Take the viewpoint of a person who has just received a call from the organization and the entire purpose of the call was just to ask how things were going. What a bold situation we have here. The organization is just calling just to see how things are going!

Now, I don’t mean to call Mr. Jones and say: “Hi Mr. Jones, how are you doing?” and that was the entire substance of the call. This could be made more specific by calling after the person bought season tickets or confirmed for a particular event. You call a few days later, to inquire as to his enthusiasm and expectation of our product. Yes, the staff can make these calls, but YOU should make some of these calls yourself. It will make a real difference to the customers/fans.

This kind of call can indeed lead to filling the stadium. But even if it doesn’t immediately lead to a larger fanbase, it will definitely increase the level of communication between the organization and the customers/fans. When you increase the level of communication, you also increase the customer’s willingness to do business with you.

You can create very long-term relationships with customers by phoning them when there is something new happening. Don’t just rely on social media to handle this for the organization. Yes, there will be some folks who might object being called and that’s understandable. But the vast majority of your clientele will appreciate a call here and there that gives them enough information and shows your care and concern.

This is not the kind of thing where you scientifically measure the results of individual calls and letters to Mike and Joe and Sue to see if they will do more business with you.

It is a matter of an overall strategy you have of getting a real VOLUME OF COMMUNICATION to your customers/fanbase.

If your organization regularly makes lots of calls to your customers and regularly sends out lots of letters, you will see increases in your attendance. Do this for at least 6-8 weeks and you will have the proof of this.

Fill the Stadium: Deliver

The Delivery process is broken up into three parts:

  1. The speed of service.
  2. Expanding the football program.
  3. Exchange in abundance.

The Speed Of Service

How fast can you respond?

How fast can you respond?

How fast should your service to the public be? How quickly should your staff move around? How speedily should communication move from one internal point of your organization to another? Should you even have any attention on the subject of speed?

These questions are answered by Peter Senge in his book, “The Dance of Change” a Fifth Discipline Resource:

Let’s see how this point can be applied to your football program.

How Fast Does It All Happen?

First of all, I’d like you to do a very simple, but revealing, exercise. I want you to go around to every part of your organization and observe your organization regarding SPEED. During this exercise, you are a “fly on the wall” so to speak – your staff should not be aware that you are observing them as to how fast (or slow) they handle things.

During this exercise, observe the following things:

  1. How fast does each of your staff move from point A to point B? This is a very simple observation. Do they go straight from point A to point B, or do they sometimes take a small break at point C and maybe have a chat at point D and then eventually get to point B? Do they move slowly or even very slowly from point A to point B? Or do they walk briskly? Take some careful notes on this.
  2. Observe how long a person has to wait for anything. If you have a reception area, how long does the customer wait there before being seen? How long does the customer wait to check in at the reception? In other words, does the receptionist attend to something else while a live customer waits? How long does it take to pay season tickets? Make some notes on what you find out.
  3. The next thing to observe is the speed of movement of internal particles. How quickly does a memo of yours get to the person it was intended for? How quickly does this person READ the memo? How rapid is the response to your memo? Does the person respond at all? Take more notes.

Okay, you’ve noticed quite a few things and you’ve made quite a few notes. Are you pleasantly surprised that all parts and facets of your organization are moving along at a very rapid rate? Or are you somewhat shocked at the many slows and delays and even stops that exist?

Don’t despair! The remedy is simple. It is contained in this quote from Mr. Senge…

‘Anything which prevents or delays the flows of a business or delays or puts a customer or product on WAIT is an enemy of that business. Good management carefully isolates all stops on its flow lines and eradicates them to increase the speed of flows.”

The word “eradicate in the paragraph above means “to get rid of, to remove all traces of.”

Yes, it would be an excellent move on your part to remove all traces of any stops on your organization flow lines. Communications and computer technology also run on flow lines. …

Get Your Staff On The Same Page

After you’ve done the above exercise (where you observed the speed at which things move in your organization), I recommend that you hold a staff meeting and explain to your staff your intentions to speed things up. That you will be going through each area of the organization and wherever and whenever you can, you will be insisting that things go faster. You can even read one of the above quotes to your staff. This will give them an understanding of your purpose. To speed up the whole scene so that the organization moves quickly.

Yes, the most important area to accelerate is the service directly to the customer. But don’t stop there. The principle above applies to ALL aspects of running an organization. If you take this principle and apply it to every aspect of the organization, the change could be dramatic.

Objections to Speed?

And if YOU are a rocket ready to be launched into space, I would also suggest speeding things up somewhat gradually. This just makes it easier for your staff.

If you are a one-man show and have no staff, this information still applies. It just applies totally to YOU … how quickly you operate your program.

The main point is to get the slows and delays and stops out of the way. Remove all traces of them. Speed up service to your customers/fans. Accelerate the movement of all parts of your organization and watch the stadium fill to capacity!

Expanding The Football Program

Expand & "Fill the Stadium"

Expand & “Fill the Stadium”

There are some things to consider in expanding the size and production of your football program: promotion/marketing; increasing new customers/fans; maintaining a high level of quality service, etc.

In this section, we are going to look at expansion from another point of view. Let’s look at a quote from Jay Abraham on the subject of expansion…

The first thing to do is get a clear statement of the fundamental purpose of our organization. Our primary purpose can indeed include the production of revenue in it (Or imply it), but the focus of any organization should be on delivery of an excellent product or service that the public are happy (and willing) to exchange a valuable for. For example in our case, we may want to start with the purpose of “Filling The Stadium”.

If our purpose is to “Fill The Stadium” we would then want to make sure that everything in our organization is aligned with that purpose. Some things to think about might be:

  1. Are we creating a big enough database of qualified fans?
  2. Do our fans know who we are?
  3. Are we conducting enough high-quality events to generate interest in our football team?
  4. Is our corporate infrastructure aligned with the purpose of the franchise?
  5. Have we set up host-beneficiary relationships that “get the word out” about our football team?
  6. Have we set up joint ventures that are mutually beneficial to our organization and each group we are in alignment?
  7. Is our administrative staff friendly to our public?
  8. Have we launched an active season ticket campaign to fill our stadium?
  9. Have we planned to make the game day experience exciting enough so our fans come back every week?
  10. Have we utilized the tool of “referrals” from our fans to it’s maximum benefit for all involved?

This brief capture list is certainly one we can build off of to fill our stadium to capacity. There is no excuse for not accomplishing our purpose if we are completely aligned with operating in such a fashion.

It is paramount that you remove distractions, barriers, non-compliance and opposition to fill the stadium.

Exchange In Abundance

In the business world, there is the concept known as “fair exchange”. When you give a product or service in exchange for money and the person receiving the product or service feels he got “his money’s worth,” this is considered “fair exchange”. Businesses have operated for hundreds, actually thousands of years on this principle of fair exchange.

Exchange In Abundance!

Exchange In Abundance!

I once had a conversation with Marshall Reynolds (CEO of Champion Industries) and I paraphrase him…

‘Fair Exchange gives one a rather steady progress. It is considered ‘honest,’ is socially acceptable and very legal under the law. It does not, however, guarantee any expansion a business. It is barely comfortable.’

Is there a form of exchange that will guarantee expansion and improvement?

Yes, and we will simply call it: “exchange in abundance.” Now you may already have a good idea of what it means to exchange in abundance, but I am going to give you a perspective on this that can make a significant impact on the success of your football program.

With regards to exchanging in abundance, Mr. Reynolds stated…

‘To exchange in abundance, one gives something more valuable than the money was received for. Give better than expected quality, but deliver better than was ordered and more.”

The principle of “exchanging in abundance” is not a marketing gimmick. It is not a sales gimmick. It is a powerful piece of technology that can be applied to your circumstances right now and produce excellent results.

If you were to operate relentlessly to give your customers/fans MORE than what was expected, and if you instill this point of view into your staff … and if you (and your co-workers) wholeheartedly implement this concept, your organization would flourish.

In actual fact, even if you only halfheartedly start applying this concept – you will see some interesting things happen. Figure out different ways that your customers can be given more than what they expect from you and then deliver such.

In actuality, this is not done very often in the business world. Sometimes the salesperson doesn’t want the client to know about a certain aspect of the transition because the salesperson is worried this may block the sale. If you withhold information from your client, you don’t feel very good and the sale “sticks” with you.

On the flip side of this, if you ensure that your client understands all the details of the transaction, two things will happen:

  1. You will feel a lot better about the transaction and
  2. Your customer/fan feels you’ve gone the extra mile to make everything right.

According to Mr. Reynolds, the principle of exchanging in abundance “is almost unknown in business or the arts. Yet it is the key to success, expansion, and growth.”

You can apply as little or as much of this principle as you like. You can start off slow and do something more for several clients the first week. Or maybe you want to apply this concept with a vengeance. Maybe you are the kind of person who will look for a way to give more than what was expected to every client you service and in every possible way you service them!

Don’t let me stop you!

Whatever you choose, I will tell you this: exchanging in abundance is indeed “the secret weapon in your arsenal” and if you apply this principle, you will fill the stadium!

I am here to help you develop new strategies to create the life you want coaching football. Take a look at some of these concepts, give them a try and if they work for you, great. If not, take a look at some others as you work to establish the ‘work – life’ balance that is rare in our profession.

Let’s work together to Propel Yourself to Raise Others to Extraordinary Levels!

Talk soon.

P.S. I’ve created this epic post because I believe that you and your players deserve to play in front of a packed house. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

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