How to Engage with your Tennis Clientele
By: Joey Hanf
One of the biggest challenges for every tennis pro is building a clientele. In order to be successful, you need to have a reliable schedule of clinics, lessons, camps and events. Marketing yourself and your club is step one. You should be proud that you've built a business for yourself. But once you've gotten there, the work gets even more important. You must engage your clients as much as possible. Engagement is the key to a few very important things: communication, retention, word of mouth marketing, and once again RETENTION.
Yes, retaining clients is of the utmost importance. Just because you give a great lesson, that doesn't mean they are going to keep coming back. While it's great that you've put out flyers advertising the clubs upcoming events, not everyone is going to sign up. So today, let's talk about a few key engagement strategies.
Figure Out What's Important to Them
There are so many different priorities for tennis players. If they are just starting out or trying to move up in a rating, then improvement is is obviously a priority. Getting better is something that just about everybody wants to do. However, other players may not be looking to improve their forehand or volley all the time. They may have the priority of getting a great workout in, of being competitive, or simply having fun. Each of these things require a different approach. This is a simple approach in any business; find what your client is looking for, and then provide value in that area.
Build a Pathway
Once we know what players want, we need to build a pathway that they can easily see and understand. If a player is looking to go from 3.0 to 3.5, for example, a pro can easily create a months long plan to work on specific strokes and strategies. The key here is actually communicating this ahead of time with your client. Send an email laying out what you'll work on each week, and do that in conjunction with your open schedule hours so you can book those lessons. If somebody is looking for fun and entertainment, you should be regularly mentioning the group clinics and events that similar personalities are playing in, and designing drills based on FUN, not technique.
In person conversations come first, and having the interpersonal skills fine tuned is key for all tennis pros. But there are so many other communication channels that pros should be taking advantage of. Email, first and foremost, is a non-starter. Communicate with your clients all the time, not just when you are looking to book them for a lesson or clinic. Did you have a conversation about something on court and you can send them a link or video? Send an email. Did you talk about signing up for Summer Camp? Send an email. Did you talk about some of your favorite restaurants in the area. Send an email! Facebook and Instagram comes next; many of your clients will be using these platforms religiously. Try to connect with them and post relevant info as much as possible. Maybe even feature your clients; that shows them that you are important to them. Finally, some pros feel comfortable texting/messaging their clients, some do not. Both are fine, but if you don't feel comfortable, email and social become even more important. If you do, then sending updates and keeping them in the loop is vital to retention. Engagement is certainly a hot marketing word over the last few years, but there's a reason why. Relationships are built through communication, and more specifically, things people actually care about. The more you engage your tennis clients with things they are interested, the more successful you will be and the bigger your program will grow.