Perfect Your Pitch

by ticketprinting on March 14, 2011

At a local fair last weekend, a pair of young boys approached me as I was talking to a fellow I knew from my gym.

“Buy a raffle ticket?” the bigger one said, waving a single ticket in my face.

“Um…” I replied.

“What’s it for?” my friend asked.

“For our school.”

But what would that ticket do for his school? The little chap couldn’t say. He didn’t know anything about the cause for which he was raising money. All he knew was the name of his school, but he couldn’t say whether they needed to raise funds for a new gym floor, to send the band to a competition or (as is the case with some schools) to purchase base essentials like paper and pencils!

“You can win $500!” the kid continued. “And the ticket is only $1!”

“But how many tickets do you think you’ll sell?” I asked. “How many did they print?”

The child didn’t know. And while $500 is a fair sum, the odds of winning depend only the number of tickets sold. For a cash raffle with a prize of $500, they would need to print at least 1000 raffle tickets and sell them all to make an appreciable profit. A “50-50″ cash raffle is the standard, although, by selling enough tickets, one could offer a large prize and still keep an even larger profit. In the case of a $500 50-50 cash raffle, that $1 ticket has a 1 in 1000 chance of winning.

But I couldn’t calculate the odds. I simply wasn’t given enough information to be moved by the child’s pitch, and these boys were old enough that there were no adults kept handily about to answer my questions. (Meaning, of course, that they were old enough that I wasn’t moved by the cuteness factor of their pitch, either.)

This underscores the need to prepare your sales team, whether they are seasoned professionals or 10 years old. Make a list of all the questions someone might conceivably ask about your raffle before you start selling booklets, and coach your crew to memorize the answers.

Needless to say, those kids didn’t sell me a raffle ticket that day.

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