A Pro’s Work is Never Done!
May 14th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 14th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
Working for his sponsors means more than just fishing for pro angler Jim Carroll. Living in Minot, ND (slightly off the beaten path) means many days away from home and lengthy road trips to accomplish a full schedule of promotions.
For Scheel’s, one of his long-time, anchor sponsors, Jim conducted six in-store Walleye Universities, three “Fish Fests,” and the Fishing University for store associates. Scheel’s and sponsors like Berkley can actually track sales as a direct result of these efforts. “This is a tremendous value,” he said.
The six Walleye University one-day courses were in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota. He said 13 stores requested them, and expansion is in the cards for next winter. The students pay $50, with an average attendance of 75. In addition to gift coupons from Scheel’s ($10 gift card) and other sponsor certificates, students received tackle packs and a work-book. Jim teaches with friend and walleye pro Johnnie Candle.
“Selling is the most important aspect of this course – to the manufacturers – but with knowledge, Scheel’s customers are buying what will catch fish for them,” Jim said. The sales associates always seem to drop-in for the electronics sections. Two courses are taught in alternating years. The cornerstones of walleye fishing: jigging, rigging, spinners and trolling are followed the next year by a “when, where and how” class, with an emphasis on seasonal walleye movements.
The weekend Fish Fests were promotions for customers, and Jim did numerous youth events and seminars, promoted products in the aisles, and talked with fishermen.
The Fishing University held in Chamberlain has been one of the most popular internal training sessions for Scheel’s. “I call it intensive training on all things fishing,” he said. For three and one-half days, it’s classroom teaching and on-water experience for the sales associates. His responsibility has been rods and reels. On the water, in his boat and boats of the many industry representatives, associates could see, handle and test the exact models they would be selling as soon as they returned to their stores. New products like the Lowrance HDS features were demonstrated and used by each employee. Store associates tell Jim, “This is tremendously valuable, and gives us so much knowledge to help customers.”
He is also on the Internet, visiting many walleye and bass sites. “I may be one of the most active ‘posters’ on the forums, and I always sign my name. This is one of the ways I can help my sponsors, although I’m trying to help the anglers who are seeking information,” he said. With the demise of the printed word, Jim feels the Internet will be the place for pro anglers to utilize their talents. “I look forward to fishing the AIM tour this year, and know the Internet will bring walleye fans the immediate news of what we learn,” he said.