Getting Your Foot In The Door With Local Youth Programs

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If you operate a fitness business that primarily caters to the performance-enhancement crowd, attracting youth athletes will be the difference between survival and bankruptcy. Thankfully, there are a whole lot of kids who fit this mold. The daily challenge we face is getting in front of these athletes in the fastest and most cost-effective manner possible.

One of the best ways to fast-track your way onto the radar of an abundance of pre-qualified leads is to align yourself closely with an elite travel team or organization. Their athletes are specifically focused on showcasing their skills with the intention of playing their respective sport at the collegiate level. Every one of these organizations is looking for competitive advantages or selling points that will draw elite talent to their program; your training and conditioning services could be the exact differentiator they are seeking.

Here are three quick and practical ways you can get your foot in the door with a team or organization of this nature:

1. Host an open-house for players and parents

My business partner Eric is fond of saying that fitness professionals need to give their audience as many opportunities possible to perceive their expertise. What better place to showcase your knowledge and service offerings than on your own turf?

Ask the athletes you currently work with which team they’ll be playing for this summer and politely request an email introduction to the coach or program coordinator. We have had success in opening our doors to players and parents for 60-90 minutes of exposure to our arm-care protocols, discussions relating to game-day warm-ups, nutritional habits, and an informative Q&A relating to our service offerings.

If you really want to up the ante, ask one of your higher-profile athletes to hang around to serve as the demonstrator of proper exercise technique. This better showcases your service, and also allows interaction for the parents and young athletes who aspire to play at an elite level one day.

Make this service free of charge, and remember: they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

2. Make yourself available off-site to assist at practice or tryouts

Use the same email address you’ve acquired using tip #1 to reach out and offer to send a coach or two out to an upcoming tryout to warm-up the athletes. This ensures that no one goes down with an avoidable injury at a time when they need to perform at a high-level to make a team. You think the guy who organized a 100+ athlete tryout wouldn’t like to email parents in advance informing them that he’s bringing in professionals to deliver additional supervision that will benefit their kids? That’s right… he’ll be all over your offer if he knows what’s best for his program.

Once you’re standing there on-field, in front of dozens of impressionable athletes, their coaches, and the parents lingering behind the chain-linked fence, it’s time to bring your A-game. Deliver the most thorough and well thought-out warm-up these kids have ever been exposed to.

After the kids are appropriately prepared to test their 60-times, verticals, or whatever metric it is that they’ll be evaluated on, you conclude by reminding them how you can be contacted with future inquiries before heading into the stands to mingle with parents. If you can’t sell yourself in this environment, you have no business expecting an entire program to embrace your services.

3. Consider a blanket discounted rate for the team or program

If you have a pricing structure that allows you to do so, offer the program director a discounted pricing format that is only available to his organization. As mentioned above, coaches are looking for any angle they can find to attract players. That advantage can simply be a relationship with a local strength and conditioning facility that exclusively offers free initial assessments to players from their program.

We’re affiliated with one program that is eligible for comped initial evaluations, another whose athletes receive our standard training services at our discounted family rates, and a rugby team that we allow to train during off-hours in a group format at a modified price-point.

The point is that your service offering and the pricing structure attached to it does not need to be set in stone. Take some liberties with it to attract a new audience and make a club or organization feel as if they’ve achieved some level of exclusivity with your business.

Don’t necessarily limit yourself to team sports

While each of the scenarios outlined above are specifically geared toward enticing teams of athletes to engage with your business, there is great opportunity with any organization that assembles individuals who could benefit from structured strength training. Consider approaching the owner of a local dance studio, golf academy, or even something as unique as a mountain biking club.

Every physical activity that has the potential of consistent and predictable overuse injuries can serve as a target for your business. Your first initiative should be to identify these teams, populations, and clubs. After doing your research, begin crafting your pitch for presenting yourself as a service that compliments their desire to stay healthy and competitive.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to positioning yourself as an informed expert with a unique skillset. Show organizations what separates you from the rest, and reap the benefits while funneling tomorrow’s future through your doors.