Bottom Line Up Front: Sports might look different now, but teams and their communities need their spirit more than ever. Here’s the selling strategy that will ground your pitches, boost your sales, and help energize fans and athletes everywhere — on and off the field.

2020 has taken the normal we’re accustomed to — in every aspect of our lives — and spun it on its head. And, to top it all off, the world of sports didn’t get a free pass.

From not having a professional game to watch for months and months to not knowing whether our kids will get to run the field this Fall, the changes in athletics have been sudden, far-reaching, and overwhelmingly disheartening. Health and safety come first — but that doesn’t mean we’re not all left reeling from the changes.

We’re a nation that loves sports. It’s built into our culture, our communities, and our spirit. And for us decorators, it’s built into our business operations too.

So how do you pitch to teams and organizations that no longer have seasons planned? How do you get fans and communities excited about sports apparel when they’re not even sure they’ll be able to cheer their teams on?

The answer is not as gloomy — and not as far-fetched — as you might think. In fact, it’s actually pretty simple.

All it takes is some creative thinking, open-mindedness, and drive. And if you’ve already come this far in 2020, then we’re pretty sure that you already have an impressively hearty dose of all three.

The Selling Strategy for Unity

As you imagine selling to the same sports-related customers — and new ones — this year, the most important thing to remember is that nothing’s really changed.

Sure, there are more crowd limitations and game regulations (or cancellations), but the core of what attracts people to sports is still intact. And not only is it intact, but it’s more powerful than ever. Why? Because we’ve gone a long time without normalcy.

We’ve gone a long time without stress-free socializing, without having mindless fun, and without experiencing pure, all-encompassing community spirit. Whether you’ve been out and about or largely inside your home, we can all agree that the mood — locally and nationally — hasn’t exactly been conducive to any of those things.

Sports give us a reason to sit back, relax, and come together. They provide an escape, an endless source of entertainment, and a community-minded backbone that reminds us we’re all connected. That we’re all rooting for the same team. (Or, if we’re not, a little bit of friendly competition.)

That’s the basis of your selling strategy — that emotional groundwork. Because it’s authentic, it’s urgent, and it’s true. We haven’t been separated from sports, and we haven’t been separated from community spirit. We’ve just been separated from normal.

So make a new normal.

Fans might not need coordinated t-shirts to wear to the bleachers of home games — but they certainly need coordinated t-shirts to wear while watching the game from home. Players might not need custom hoodies for team travel — but they could certainly use hoodies with hopeful messaging while their season is on pause.

You’re not just pitching apparel for its functionality. You’re pitching it for what it signifies. And in both of those use-cases — and the hundreds more that are out there — what’s signified is community. The unwavering spirit, determination, and love-of-game that’s present in every state, in every city, and in every neighborhood.

It’s up to you to reframe what this season looks like. It’s not just a bleak period of time filled with pauses and empty stadiums — it’s a time to invest in unity. It’s a time to strengthen networks and increase spirit, and it’s a time to give community members something to be excited about.

Give them the fan wear — the t-shirts and hoodies and jerseys — that rejuvenates their enthusiasm. Give them the high-spirit gear — from hats to face masks to car decals — that shows their community that they haven’t given up.

Because they haven’t. Because we haven’t. It’s a new normal, but there are still just as many sales opportunities. 

And now you have the power to make the biggest community impact you’ve ever made — all by reminding your customers, and their end-users, that the love of the game doesn’t die just because of a few changes. 

The power’s in your hands. So use it. 

Support Like Never Before

It’s one thing to alter your offerings so they make sense for what your customers (and their end-consumers) are experiencing now. It’s quite another to offer them new ways to approach, and sell, those offerings.

What do we mean? Online Stores — and Online Fundraisers.

Let’s get into Online Stores first. Online Stores are an obvious way to ramp up access, engagement, and impact across the community — because they don’t require a player or fan to make a purchase, or pick up an item, in-person. 

Instead, they grant each individual freedom. The freedom to browse and shop as they wish, to enter the store when it’s convenient for them, and to engage with their team — however they’d like. 

Maybe they want a t-shirt that showcases their pride — even in this strange time — with messaging like “Eagles Strong” front and center. Or maybe they go a different route, purchasing the hat that celebrates the weirdness — reading, “#1 (Virtual) Eagles Fan.”

Online Stores make buying into game spirit, team spirit, and community spirit easy. They make the enthusiasm customizable, they make the cheering more fun, and they make the experience of the game — whether felt in-person or at home — all the greater. 

Now let’s talk Online Fundraisers. 

Online Team Stores
InkSoft Online Stores makes it easy to sell to teams and fans.
Click here to see the example store

We don’t have to tell you that this year has left a lot of damage, uncertainty, and stress in its wake. Or that teams, organizations, and community hubs everywhere could use a little extra monetary support.

The good news is, you’re already equipped to offer them something they need: a way to rile up enthusiasm, reconnect communities to each other, and raise some money. How? 

With Online Fundraising Stores. 

Online Pop-up Stores for Teams and Sports
InkSoft Stores come with easy-to-use and built in fundraising capabilities.

Whether seasons have been postponed or hit hard with new regulations, fundraisers give teams and their communities a way to look towards a different future. One where travel is easy and within reach, where fans can crowd the stands and cheer loudly, and where they have the funding they need to partake in everything they need — and want — to partake in. 

Remember: just because sports are on pause (or slowed down), doesn’t mean student athletes’ dreams are. They still need to feel the support of their community behind them — and with Online Fundraising Stores, they can.  

They can see that “Eagles Strong” t-shirt. They can scroll past that “#1 (Virtual) Eagles Fan” hat. And they can know that their peers, their families, and their entire network is still buying into the spirit of the game — which reminds them that they should be, too. Because if all of those people are investing in the team’s (or league’s) future, then that means there will be a future. 

And that might just be the reminder athletes everywhere need this year.

That’s how you should be pitching your customers — by reminding them of what your capabilities mean for their community. What they can make possible, and how they can single-handedly restore the spirit that might’ve otherwise been wavering. 

You’re Actually In-Demand

When you’re calling up old customers and reaching out to new ones, the one thing that should always be at the top of your mind is this: athleisure, sportswear, and fan wear is having a moment

A huge moment.  

With work-from-home as the norm and people everywhere more preoccupied with keeping their stress levels down than with donning the most on-trend business attire, comfort clothing is prevailing. That means product categories that include athletic apparel, lounge-worthy apparel, and other items that once were forbidden during the work day are now flourishing. 

In fact, they’re flourishing so greatly that Lululemon recorded its highest ever share price in May. If that doesn’t prove that people are flocking to comfort, we’re not sure what does.

And that means that end-users aren’t looking at more t-shirts and hoodies like they’re just going to wind up at the back of the closet. They’re looking at them like, hey, another comfortable piece to add to the rotation.

But remember: you’re not just selling comfortable. You’re selling meaningful.

Something that reminds them they’re still connected to their team, that they’re still taking part in their community spirit, even on the days where they don’t get past the living room.

When you remember that you’re not just selling products, but you’re selling solutions — things that keep end-users connected to their old normal, and to their community, and to their hopes for the future — that’s when your pitches will stand out. And that’s when your customers, new and old, will buy-in.

In Conclusion: Sales Opportunities Are Waiting

That’s right — they are. 

So whether you open an Online Store for a local soccer league that doesn’t need jerseys, but could use t-shirts that voice the love of the game, or you open an Online Fundraising Store for a high school football team that wants to raise some funds for next year’s travel, or new uniforms, or new equipment, remember that your offerings are still needed.

You’re still helping that soccer league bank in on an alternative revenue stream, while letting it engage with its community. You’re still helping the athletes on that football team feel supported, while giving them an actionable way to look forward to the future.

When you ground your pitches and proposals in these meaningful, emotional frameworks, you’ll be showing your customers that you’re selling more than just athletic apparel and fan gear. 

You’ll be showing them that you’re selling a way to restore community connection, excitement, and forward thinking. And that will be showing them — your customers, your prospects, and their end-users — that you care

So start thinking creatively.   

Start coming up with specific ideas for customers that are grounded in their community’s needs, and start believing that your offerings, and your capabilities, are the solution they’ve been waiting for.

Because they are. And once you know that to be true, it’s only a matter of time before they do too.

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Team & Fan Gear Graphics Kit

Need fresh apparel designs to compliment your team and fan gear sales approach? Good news! We have the perfect sales tool. Our friends at Digital Art Solutions created a special Team & Fan Gear Graphics kit to provide you with production-ready vector designs themed for spirit wear, team, and fan gear. See the collection below. Hurry, this kit is available for a limited time only for just $99.

The Secret to Team & Fan Gear Sales? The Right Sales Tools.

You have the strategy and marketing kit to crush team and fan gear sales opportunities. Now, you just need the industry’s best e-commerce sales tool to slay sales. With InkSoft Stores and the built-in fundraising features, you’ll have everything you need to sell online to groups. We’re ready to show you how! Schedule a free consultation with one of our industry experts and see how InkSoft can help you sell smarter.

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