Discussing First Strike rounds (what they are, what markers shoot them, how well they perform, how much they cost, etc).
If you want to get these rounds approved for use on your local field, read on.
In some cases, the sheer numbers of players asking may prompt a field into allowing them. In other cases, the field staff may want more information about the rounds themselves. Some fields need information and a strong enough interest from their customers. This is where we come in. Informed players/customers can make a difference. Not only can we show our enthusiasm and build enthusiasm amongst other players, we can intelligently answer questions that a field operator could have.
I'd like to point out that while these rounds meet the technical ASTM definition/specification of a paintball, I strongly suggest that you do not show up and start using these rounds on a field without getting explicit authorization from the staff beforehand. Additionally, we must not deceive or deny owners of information that may be important to them, or their customers (your fellow players).
Imagine the following scenario: you show up and you start hitting people from further away and the recipients think you are shooting hot, or you hit some bare skin and gave them a minor cut/scratch. They're going to go to the refs/managers and complain. Before too long, the staff will know it is you. Then, the ref/managers will most likely snatch you up and ask to see you chrono your gun. Then, he/she notices you're not shooting a paintball and instead they're some sort of plastic looking projectile they know nothing about (or maybe some player turns in the bits of plastic shell). Now you're forced to defend a product rather than pitch it. This is bad for the sport, bad for the product and bad for the community.
Please understand that for the field you are approaching, this is a business decision. Conducting yourself in a professional manner will help your points come across more effectively.
Before Contacting the Field
Research- If you're pitching these rounds to the field, chances are you're their informal 'subject matter expert' on the rounds. So, you better know your stuff. Things you need to be able to discuss (both the manufacturer's claims and what players are seeing):
What the rounds are specifically (i.e. .68 caliber, photodegradable polystyrene, aerodynamic paint marking projectiles).
The performance (range / speed / fragility / accuracy) of the rounds
How these rounds interact with the human target
Photodegradability of the rounds
Which markers can shoot them out of the box (and how other markers can shoot them)
How these rounds compare to the Less-Lethal FN303 rounds- A lot of folks have heard of them (thanks to the Boston killing) but, most do not know the differences and the negative association may influence a field operator's decision.
Field Paint Only options – Currently the FPO variety is a pale blue. They can, and do, group geographically separated fields together for a custom run of a specific color.
Retail Costs, and units of sale (bulk box, tubes, etc)
Where the staff can go for more information
Some fields may not care about all of this stuff, but it's better to have the information and not be asked than to be asked and to say you don't know or put out some bad info.
Recommend reading / viewing (links will be provided soon):
Tiberius Arms product literature
Users / Reviewers YouTube videos
Lord Odin's Safety Tests
Lord Odin's Degradability Test
Punkworks Drop/Break Test
Punkworks /TechPBMike Performance Tests
FN303 Rounds (so you can be able to explain the difference between FS rounds and the Less Lethal rounds that look similar)
Gathering materials- Try and get a small amount of the rounds for you to show the field (an 8-round tube should be just about enough), print out a list of sites the staff can visit for more information.
Prepare/rehearse your talking points. You need to give this information in a clear and structured manner so that the owner can understand you, and retain what you've said. Preparing and/or rehearsing these points will help you communicate effectively.
Meeting with the staff
This doesn't necessarily need to be formal. Just ask for some of the manager's (or owner's) time to discuss your interest in using the rounds at their field. Personally, I phone ahead to the manager. Remember, you're informing the field owner about the rounds, and you're not acting as a salesman. Keep the conversion factual, and be clear when you are giving your opinion (they are often interested in your opinion as well as the facts).
Be sensitive to the concerns of the staff. Be willing to work with them to reach an agreeable solution. Be prepared for, and offer to do a demo because, some people don't care what they're told, they want to see it for themselves. Expect for them to want to 'sleep on it'. Finally, realize that despite your best efforts, they may still say "No".
After the meeting
Within a week (or longer if they tell you they will be away for trade shows, etc), give them a polite call/email to follow up on the conversation. If they say no, wait a month or two and ask if they've changed their minds.
On the field
Adhere to the policies of the field. Be an ambassador for the rounds to the staff and other players. Make sure the refs are familiar with them (the color, smaller amount of paint, etc). Answer the questions of other players (the only question I don't answer: "How many rounds are in a magazine?" when asked by a member of the opposing team). This is your opportunity to generate interest. Even if you are rejected, there is nothing that says you can't show other players the rounds and point them to additional info. I can't think of a player I've met in the last year that wasn't impressed by their design. One of the fields I approached initially said "No" but has since said "Yes" due to an increasing number or requests. Enthusiasm can be a good thing- the more people ask about it, the more likely the field operator is going to allow them.
Some particular points of interest expressed by fields I approached
Field Paint Only: Seeing as all of the fields here are FPO, this is a key interest. Of the two fields that allow me to use them (a third did before they closed down due to Zoning issues), neither field wants to stock them (cause so few people are asking for them), so they grant users of these rounds special permission to use these rounds after paying a BYOP fee. Another field is considering them but, even if they did stock them, it could pose a problem for their refs, since they rely upon paint color to enforce the FPO policy, and the field color is orange.
20ft rule: One field that has a 20ft rule was concerned by the fact that they slow down negligibly in 20ft. This was addressed when the owner had me shoot him in the back at 15ft. He said it felt like a bounce; the fragility of these rounds work in their favor.
Biodegradability: Not a concern to any of the fields I approached. One field highlighted decades of 10rd tubes, busted pods, 12g CO2s, plastic elbows, etc.
Finally, have you made the pitch for these rounds at a field? If so, share your experiences. If you've gotten them approved, be sure to go here.
Edited by UV Halo, 19 October 2010 - 12:02 PM.