Simple, Not Easy

I can’t tell you how many times I tell people what I do for a living, and they come back with one of the following two responses:

1) What do you do in the off season, golf? or;

2) Selling sports tickets must be easy.

Please note, if you know someone that works for a professional sports team, don’t say either of those things.  It’s like asking a police officer if he takes a nap between pulling people over.

I am going to address the second comment during this entry.  As sports marketing professionals, what we do is simple – but it certainly isn’t easy.  While it might seem more glamorous than selling life insurance or blue widgets, I have some news for you.

– We have desks just like you do at your job;

– We have telephones, email, and computers, just like you;

– We have the same life issues that you might encounter at work, like that annoying co-worker who doesn’t always smell right.

– We have to work long hours and holidays when others have the day off (the NBA plays on Christmas, the NHL on New Years, and don’t forget about College Bowl Season!)

The only difference is, often times our office is located at a sports arena or stadium, oh – and we sell something that nobody really needs.

Our process, like yours is a simple one however, and even with emerging technology (facebook, twitter, this blog, linkedin) the process remains the same, and it works for every team, in every city, in every market across the country.

  • We pick up the telephone and call the prospect and work hard at getting an appointment (our ticket sales training goes into specifics, you understand why we won’t do that here);
  • We go to the appointment and speak with the person that can buy the tickets – and we ask a lot of questions about their business;
  • Because we are the experts in sports marketing (like you might be a great engineer, or amazing police officer) we are able to make recommendations to the decision maker on how our tickets can benefit their business;
  • Then we ask them to buy.

Yea, there are more steps involved – but the process is simple, not easy.

While it might be good to reach out via linkedin or other social media platforms (I have about 550 linkedin connections, 200 of which have come over the last 40 days, and most have come because of a personal connection first), you honestly don’t know if they know who you are or if they are just collecting linkedin contacts (which some people do).  Then when you follow up with an email, and even if you personalize it I have some news for you (key decision makers know it’s generic), it gets deleted.  Then when you finally get to calling them, they might recognize your name and didn’t read an email from you.

You think it’s a warm call, and they have no clue who you are or what your product does.

In addition to all of this – it takes somewhere between 8 and 12 calls to close a sports related sale.  Most sales people give up on call six.  Understanding the metrics and how it works in our business is necessary for success, and I want to share the averages for you right now:

  • It takes 100 calls a day to get 2 appointments;
  • It takes 2 appointments a day (ten per week);
  • It takes 10 appointments (see where the two per day comes into play?) to get 2 sales;
  • It takes 8-12 contacts with the prospect to get them to buy.

There it is.  The magic formula to your ticket sales success.

I know what you’re thinking though, so let me answer the objection before you start in on the excuse.  In every single sales training we do, when we tell the staff that they need to make 100 outbound calls a day, I am told (100% of the time) by one sales executive in each group the following:

  • “It is impossible to make 100 outbound calls per day”

Let’s do some math, shall we?

If you are an average sales person, you have eight hours of work in your day  – so we are going to start with that number – 8 hours.

If you are like most of us (and one of the reasons it takes several calls to get an appointment), on average, you leave 75% voice mails.  As long as you are leaving proper voice mails, they should last anywhere from :30 to one minute.  For easy math, I am going to give you the one minutes.

8 hours in a work day.

75 minutes of voice mails.

Two appointments out of the office (3 hours)

That is a total of four hours and 15 minutes used in a day, so I have another question…

What do you do with the other 4(ish) hours that you’re working, or if you are a successful ticket sales rep – 6 or 7 hours?

The first thing we cover in sales training is how to balance your work day – if you do it properly, you can and will hit these metrics.

Now go sell something.


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