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56 West Main St.
Norwich, NY 13815

Quarterly Strike Newsletter Volume 7

Expose Yourself

Before, during and after events, are you doing everything you can to get your business exposed. All forms of media should have the same curiosity in how fast people are as those that are participating.
If you see a remote radio broadcast at your event, invite them over to compete on the air. The odds are they'll recommend you for other events they do. When you are attending an extra special event or you are hosting a fundraiser, send a press release to the print and T.V. media. Remember that your business makes great news and the more news you make, the more credibility you develop in your community. Keep a print and video record of any press you get and use it any time you're presenting your business to a promoter.
Of course, it's not essential since the activity can sell itself but there will be those few times where you need a little extra to catch someone's attention. In many cases, the harder the catch, the greater the rewards and sending a press releases is so easy and unassuming on your time. Keep trying Until it works.


Don't Scream When Event's Aren't Exactly Scripted To Perfection

It's a Tuesday evening, I'm watching some tube and a commercial comes on for a Kids Fun Fest sponsored by Fox TV. It's a huge kids related event with virtual reality rides, 3D theaters and plenty of kid related vendors. Of course, I'm telling myself I've got to get in on this. The event was being held in 4 days so the chances of space being available are slim. However, if it hasn't sold out yet, it gives me better price negotiating leverage.

The next day I make a few calls and finally get the promotions people on the phone. They think the pitching booth would be great and they do have some space left, for $525. OUCH!!! Oh well, I've discussed negotiating price in past issues so here goes practicing my own methods.

I begin by acting surprised and overwhelmed, which I was, and begin the routine about it taking me 500 customers to break even, and this is way more than I've ever paid and a few bits about my dogs impending hip operation. They come back with how big the event is going to be and about the impressive advertising and activities. That's all well and good but I don't care, it simply is too much for space. She stresses how she wants me to come so she'll have her boss call me to see what they can do.

Her boss calls and offers a reduction to $395. I give him the same routine that it simply is not a workable figure and he again tells me all their doing to make this a great event. A few years ago I may have settled for his price but these days risk is unnecessary. I'll risk doing an event when the risk is lower than expected profits but I'm not into potential losses. He say's he needs to double check on location and to give him a decision on Thursday. By now it is down to last minute decisions. There were other events I could work.

On Thursday I give him my decision, I'll pay him $200 up front and an additional 30% of my gross over $400. If you remember from past issues, this sets a fair initial fee and allows everyone to prosper based on attendance. They continued with the babble about how good the event will be but they accept. Of course they do, why let the space go unoccupied. Despite my sarcastic tone here, it really is a fair and appropriate deal.

Friday night I go set up the booth, pay my $200 check and am very satisfied with the activities and feel of the event. It's always good to set up the night before an event to secure your arrangement and get a feel for the potential. Unfortunately, not every vendor choose to set up Friday night.
Saturday, I stroll in about 20 minutes before opening and boy was I surprised. Nabisco had rented a large area, paid top price and part of their promotion included a really nice speed pitch booth. Better yet, it was strictly a promotional operation which means they were not charging to pitch... IT's FREE! You better believe me and the promoter had some words about this. He was insistent that he had no idea they were doing that. They simply rented a large space for some activities. I believe him but still, what's he going to do about it.

As it turns out, nothing. They paid $3,600 for the space, what can be done. Unfortunately, I really did not sign a contract but it certainly is implied that I'm running this activity. Apparently my $200 didn't imply very much since his response was "well just see how you do, we'll work with you." I say "how are you going to work with me, theirs is FREE!" He responds "just see how it goes and we'll waive the 30%. The real dilemma here is that I'm stuck. Do I go home and make nothing or make what I can. There was a bit of potential. It was a large facility and we were separated by the 3D theater, plus I had some nice prizes.

My first move was to request my check back and I would agree to give him 30% of the total gross. Actually, I was really ticked that he never made that obvious suggestion. My second move was to begrudgingly lower my price from $2 .00 to $1.00. In hind sight a third move I should have made but didn't was to request that Nabisco at least have to charge $1.00.

So, for 2 days I had to sit there and listen to "why pitch here, the other one is FREE!" That was aggravating but if you can believe it, I grossed $203. Think about this now, even with a free pitching booth 50 yards away I still had 203 paying customers. Do people like this game or what. In addition to the money, I also made a huge contact with the Syracuse "Crunch" hockey team. They're the regional semi-pro team and their first year they were averaging over 5,000 in attendance. They were very receptive to having me time slapshots at their 40 home games this winter. Now that's a contact!

Another factor to consider is that the attendance at the Fun Fest was slightly respectable. Had I been the only booth I would have had to cover $200 before the break even point per the original agreement so I made out about the same. There still was the matter of paying the promoter the 30%. Boy, I would have loved to stiff him but I just can not operate that way. He not once came over to ask how I was doing and that is just bad policy. However, I didn't pay him at the end of the event. I made him sweat it and I sent him a check with a very detailed letter about my feeling on the situation. Most importantly, I first took the $61 I owed him down to the Indians Casino, played black jack with it, doubled my money and then sent the check!

Is Your Ship Coming In?

It took me about 6 months before I put a second system into action. However, it has taken me a few years to really get some true benefit from owning multiple systems. Of course, all the dues I've paid I will pass along to you so you can immediately profit and monopolize your market. I've previously discussed the problems in having someone run the booth so unless you know someone very well, consider other options for your second unit. Making the unit readily available to local leagues and organizations is an easy option. I usually just let them take the unit and they can split the profits with me. There is a bit of trust involved but I do write up an agreement for the proper and timely return of my equipment. Renting the system to them is the other option but it will inhibit their decision and it will require more sales work on your end. Try to also find a long term set-up for the booth. An in-line skating facility is an innovative possibility or any sports activity area that combines organized and walk-in activities. Again, the 50/50 arrangement will make your offer very attractive to facilities that usually have to buy expensive equipment. Just knowing that you can leave the unit for the summer and pick up money weekly is a great feeling.

Neatness Count

Do you pocket your wad of profits like Felix Unger or Oscar Madison. When you make change for a customer does it take you 5 minutes to dig out that 5 spot. Do yourself and your bank teller a favor and organize your cash as it comes in. I keep all of my 1's on the outside, all my 5's on the inside and the 10's & 20's together in the middle.
As I'm handed the money I calmly align the bills face up while talking with the customer. I also count my cash periodically just to give me an idea of the cash flow patterns throughout the day and to set some real goals for the end of the day. When I accumulate about $65 in ones I count out 50 of them and pocket them separately so I'm not constantly handling a big wad of cash. The bank usually bundles their dollars in 50 bills anyway so it saves alot of time at the bank.

News & Notes

The Mody Company is now offering optional cage designs. The new cages are a square frame 10' x 10' x 10 with snap lock joints. Higher clearance and and a more solid look are the advantages. Set up time is quick and the units are very portable as you would expect.

I would like to thank Carolyn Scollay of Market Source and Karen Reina of RHB Ventures for their recent decisions to let the Mody Company supply and consult their radar gun needs. Market Source was involved with Sports Illustrated's traveling college tour. RHB Ventures is handling promotion for "The Challenge Presented by Quality Inns" which host's the "Champions Cup". This is a summer long pro tennis tour featuring the likes of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. The Mody Company supplied them with a complete speed timing system for the event patrons and the on court radar guns & displays to time the players serves during the match. It was a real thrill for me to see my units on national TV with the greatest players of all time.