Since we opened PSO360 a few years ago, we have had the opportunity to experience the best of minor league sports business operations and the not so good. We have helped a number of teams turn around their operations by either setting up their front offices for them, or creating an atmosphere of continued learning and growth.
The last few weeks, however, have been somewhat of a challenge.
Three times in the last month, we have had great opening conversations with prospective teams looking to join the PSO family. Two soccer clubs (both indoor) and one Indoor Football team. For those that have followed our company over the years, you know that we specialize in niche’ indoor sports like soccer and arena football, so we have been down this path before.
In each instance, these teams have a full time staff of one. You didn’t read that wrong – one. They have filled out the rest of their staff roster with part time people (all of whom have other jobs in the community) and interns (who don’t have a personal stake in the results).
A commission only staff with no training is a recipe for complete disaster. Part time staff have no risk and only reward, and the team is not seeing the full benefits that a full time staff can offer.
When your staff have full time jobs that provide a full time income, health insurance and more importantly security for their family, they will work very hard for that employer, while doing “what they can” for your team.
When you take into account that they might have children who have dance or scouts, church or other activities, not to mention having to invest in their marriage, what time will that leave for your club? It’s hard enough to sell tickets or sponsorships on a full time basis if your a minor league club, imagine if you have someone simply sending emails, or making a call here and there – and imagine how much worse it will be when that person doesn’t connect with the right contact, says the right thing, or even worse – makes promises that the team can’t keep.
If you can’t afford to have a full time sales team, then you shouldn’t be the owner of a professional sports team. If you can afford it, then you should have them trained appropriately, either by our firm or another.
Knowing what to say when you reach the right person, and how to develop a long term relationship with your club is key to the long term stability of your franchise. If you currently do not have a full time sales staff, know that the other teams in your market do, and when they are talking to the Boy Scouts, or a large automobile manufacturer they will win the business. It takes between 8 and 12 calls (contacts) to sell a client – how often is your “part time” sales guy reaching out to your key prospects when they are not really held responsible for their activity?
In my 20 years in sports, I have never seen the “no staff” approach work. As buyers become more sophisticated in how they interact with the local team, I don’t believe it’s going to begin to work now.