1. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to be in sports ticket sales?” If it’s because you’ve always wanted to work for a sports team, consider that you may have wanted the job for the wrong reasons.
2. Be in love with success as much as you are in love with the job. Don’t take the job simply because you wanted to see your name next to the team logo on a business card.
3. Understand that you’ll have all kinds of people you’ll need to interact with effectively, including some that you wouldn’t want to necessarily hang out with. Look past your own personal bias, and treat everyone the same: Like Gold.
4. Learn just enough about the team’s packages to be dangerous, then start selling. You’ll learn more in those first 100 calls about what you need to study further than anything your literature will ever tell you.
5. Don’t get “Analysis Paralysis” – thinking that you have to study everything about the team, the packages, and every nuance of the sport before you can get out and sell it. Good is better than perfect.
6. Study successful people you admire in your office that have been there for a while. Listen to how they do what they do, and borrow what you can reasonably incorporate into your own style.
7. Read books and publications that give you a taste of others’ selling styles; try several things, and begin to create your own style based on the success of others. (For starters, go to www.The800PoundGorilla.com and click on Free Articles and Helpful Stuff.)
8. Do NOT take someone else’s entire selling style and try to force it into your body! Learn from others, then adapt it and make it your own.
9. Be confident that every phone call has the potential to result in a sale. There are no “throwaway” calls! Be at your best on every one, whether it’s the first or the fiftieth of the day.
10. Remember that every single phone call you make is to your next potential employer. If you’re any good at all, you’ll get a lot of job offers from your prospects. How many offers will you receive? The better you become at selling, the more you’ll get. (It’s a great barometer of how well you’re doing!)
11. Be nice and get along with as many people as possible in your office; you’ll need every one of them at one time or another in your career with the team.
12. Learn where the problem areas are in your arena or facility, so that you can talk intelligently with your customers about blind spots, handicapped access, the path of the sun and shade, and the other things they won’t learn online.
13. Learn the positives about every seat. Believe that “every seat is a good seat” in many ways, and be able to sell each location – the good as well as the bad.
14. Use positive language for each kind of seat. You should never refer to the upper deck as the “nosebleed seats” or other negative word, even if the customer refers to them as that. Know the words to use to describe each of the sections of your facility, and USE them with your prospects!
15. Don’t assume that just because you have contacts in a community, you can sell them without asking for the order. It’s great that others know you, but until and unless you ASK them to buy, they probably won’t.
16. Know what’s different about the team you represent compared to every other sports experience and leisure activity in town.
17. What qualifies you to be the #1 choice in your community? Learn and know what you’ve done in the past that makes you the prospect’s best choice to work with.
18. Sales is helping people get what they want, so that you can get what you want. Don’t complicate it any more than you have to!
19. People need salespeople in their lives, whether they like to admit it or not. Don’t let anyone talk you out of the profession. Nothing happens in this country – or ANY country – until a sale is made!
20. You’re going to have to help people make decisions about buying tickets to your sporting event. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you’d do if it were YOUR money!
21. Some people are going to beat you up before they buy. That’s part of your job; to absorb the negative, listen to what they have to say, acknowledge their concerns, and then ask them to buy.
22. People enjoy buying from someone they like. Be likeable!
23. Help others to feel as though they can count on you to stand behind their purchase. Let them know you’ll be there to help them every step of the way, both during the season and beyond.
24. Many of us secretly want someone to give us permission to buy. As a sales professional, you should constantly give your clients the satisfaction of knowing that their choice of your seats will be the right choice. Give them the permission they’re looking for to buy!
25. Think about this: Why should someone deal with you instead of your Website when buying tickets? What do you bring to the buying experience that your team’s Website can’t?
26. Companies don’t need any more vendors; what they really want today are those who are willing to become partners in their success. Find out what your customers are looking to achieve, and help them get there with the benefits of your product.
27. Habits are formed through constant repetition each day. Get into positive habits on the job from Day One — # of prospecting calls, paperwork accuracy, less time jawboning with co-workers, etc.
28. You have 10 seconds or less to impress someone enough to continue to want to listen to you. If you sound disinterested, unprepared, or wishy-washy, you won’t get past “Hello, my name is…”.
29. Read into an audio recorder as if you were on the first 10 seconds of a phone call, then play it back. You’ll never understand how good (or bad) you sound until you hear it for yourself.
30. Be as prepared to leave a great Voice Mail message as you would be prepared to discuss a potential sale with a prospect. Since over 70% of the phone calls we make result in a voice mail, shouldn’t you be EXTRA-prepared to leave a message that begs to be returned?
31. Here’s a test: Leave yourself a phone message on your voice mail at home at the beginning of the day, then listen to it when you return home. Would you return your own message?
32. If you have scripts or phrases you want to memorize, read them into a digital recorder and listen to them on your iPod as you jog around, work out, or drive to and from the office. If you memorize the phrases, they’ll come out of your mouth at just the right time, with just the right amount of conviction.
33. If you’re not listening to yourself on an iPod or CD in your car, listen to something inspirational on the way in before work. The news won’t cut it. Choose something that will inspire you to be at your best that day.
34. Hang out with positive, successful people. If you have negative friends that bring you down with them, drop ‘em and get new ones. Your career is at stake.
35. Before you even pick up the phone, be sure you have all the information you need in front of you.
36. Make sure your mind is in a singular place when you’re calling. Daydreaming about that hot date later that night isn’t going to sell you any tickets right now.
37. When you finally reach your prospect, ask if it’s a good time to talk. Phrases like, “Did I catch you at a good time?” or “Do you have a moment?” are two examples. If you launch into your pitch right away, your tone screams “Salesperson” right away.
38. Open the conversation strong by asking a question that the dozens of salespeople before you aren’t asking.
39. Learn to vividly “paint the picture” of what the team experience is like for your prospect, in a way they’ll respond to favorably.
40. Some of the best “trigger words” you can use to begin to paint the picture are: “Imagine… How do you think…?” “Just think…” “Picture this…”, and “Here’s what I see…”.
41. Storytelling is a powerful means of selling ideas. Learn success stories of groups, individuals and businesses that have used your team’s product successfully, and tell those stories to others who are experiencing similar challenges.
42. Many prospects feel guilty, frightened, nervous, or any combination of emotions when making a buying decision; as a professional salesperson, learn how to help people say Yes to you by giving them “permission” to buy.
43. If your prospect begins to try to sell YOU something, politely tell them that you’d be happy to consider their offer, once you’ve been allowed to finish what you’re calling them about.
44. Gatekeepers can be your best friends, if you’re sincere about wanting to get to know them and prove it by taking good notes, asking questions that matter to them, and bringing up those conversation points each time you call.
45. Be prepared to answer the question, “Can I tell him/her what your call is regarding?” They’re listening for you to stumble, so that they have a reason to deny you access to the decision-maker.
46. If you communicate to the gatekeeper that you have something “new” to share with the decision-maker, she is more likely to let you through.
47. If you can’t get through the gatekeeper, try to find someone else at the company that can help you get you to him/her.
48. Have a list of questions or cheat sheet you can look at and refer to often when you finally have a prospect on the phone.
49. Best response to gatekeeper’s ‘What This Regarding?’: “It’s a business matter of a personal nature.”
50. Second-best response: “It’s about his/her Season Tickets with the (team). Are you a fan too?”
51. Get a mentor that isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear.
52. If you need a reason to get out of bed, make it for someone else other than you: the child that will attend their first sporting event because of your phone call, the business that will find a way to keep their best client because of a suggestion you made, etc.
53. If you’re not prepared with at least five solid answers to the “It’s not in the budget” objection, you’ll sell less than you’re capable of selling.
54. Best open-ended answer: “Does that mean you wouldn’t be open to a new idea?”
55. Second-best answer: “Which budget do you mean? Most companies have several.”
56. Thought-provoking answer: “Put the budget aside for a moment. If these seats were free, how would you choose to use them?”
57. Smart answer: “Most companies I work with are re-evaluating all their expenses, and figuring out what kind of REAL return they’re getting. What do you do for things like (employee incentives/sales incentives/client entertainment, etc.) right now?”
58. Best reason to keep tickets in the budget: Stress Reduction (employees, customers, suppliers, family, the prospect).
59. If a company just laid off people, they’re still a candidate for seats. Don’t give up too soon!
60. Always acknowledge their painful choice to lay off people before you get into the reasons why it may be the perfect time to get involved in a cost-effective product like your team.
61. Most companies still need to operate and do business, even if they’ve had layoffs recently. Ask if they plan on keeping the doors open, and if so, what their plans are for pleasing customers and motivating employees going forward.
62. Get wishy-washy people to tell you Yes or No sooner rather than later!
63. Suggest that phone tag is hard to play, and politely suggest that you’d rather have a Yes or No now, for the benefit of both of you.
64. It’s OK to get a No, because then you can move on – and so can your prospect!
65. Don’t criticize someone’s choice of buying tickets at the box office on the day of the game if they’re available; thank them for their support, compliment them on their choice of teams to see, and let them know what benefits they may be missing out on as a Season Ticket holder that they may not have known.
66. Too many games? Suggest that the prospect split ‘em with others, re-sell what you can’t use or give to charity – there are LOTS of ways around that objection.
67. If someone asks, ‘Are you trying to sell me something?’, they’re playing with you, and they probably expect you to play back if you’re to sell them anything.
68. Have at least 2-3 good responses to this objection. #1 suggestion: “Only if you’re buying!”
69. #2 suggestion: “Only if it makes sense for you.”
70. Warm and fuzzy response: “If you have a good reason to buy, then yes, I can set you up… but I promise not to sell you something you won’t absolutely love. Fair enough?”
71. Quick response: “Yes. Are you in sales too?”
72. Fun suggestion: “Only if you’re buying!”
73. Honest suggestion: “Selling you something is the LAST thing I’ll want to do in our conversation!”
74. If you have a lousy team, remind people that the media only covers the box score, not the fun and excitement that goes on in the stands.
75. Ask the fan, “Besides the wins and losses, what’s the most important thing to you when you come to a game?” Make 2-3 suggestions as to what it might be, and engage in THAT conversation.
76. Best short response to the ‘Lousy Team’ objection: “We’re not looking in the rear-view mirror, we’re looking ahead!”
77. Regardless of the team’s record, remind your prospect that every game is an unwritten script. No one can predict the outcome, which is why they play the game in the first place!
78. If someone already has season tickets elsewhere, be sure to compliment them on their choice, and the fact that they see the value of being a season ticket holder.
79. Remember that your value of money should be left at the door when you’re selling seats. You may not think that $250 is a price you would ever pay for a seat to a sporting event, no matter where it is – but that’s not up to YOU to decide! Lay it out for the customer, and allow him or her to make that decision for themselves.
80. #1 answer to ‘Your Seats are Too Expensive’: “Too expensive as compared to what?”
81. Thinking man’s response: “They’re only expensive if they’re not considered as an investment. I have clients that say that if advertising works, it’s an investment. If it doesn’t, it’s very expensive. Wouldn’t you agree?”
82. Once they have agreement to that statement, help them to see how you as their Account Executive can help them realize all the benefits of becoming a Season Ticket holder.
83. If someone says they need to talk it over with someone, ask if you can talk to them on a 3-way call right then and there.
84. If you hear, ‘I’m not interested’ right away, have 2-3 immediate questions ready to go in an attempt to continue the conversation. Most people are just making snap decisions, and really don’t know enough about what you have to offer to be ‘not interested’ yet!
85. Immediate Question Option #1 for ‘I’m Not Interested’: “I’m not sure if you were aware of this, but…” – and then fill in with something that’s positive that many people wouldn’t know about the product you’re selling (i.e., groups, seasons, etc.)
86. Immediate Question Option #2: “If you don’t mind me asking…” – and then ask something that gets them talking, like “Are you worried about what it might cost?” or “Is there something about our team that you don’t like?”
87. Option #3: “Before you go, can I ask you one more thing?”
88. If you’re lucky enough to get onto the rotation for incoming calls, understand that these are leads the company has spent a great deal of marketing dollars to attract. You must be at your BEST when answering these calls!
89. Look to gain some sort of commitment from your prospect on every call you make. Examples: a firm date and time to talk again, an agreement to do certain things in a period of time, the names and phone numbers of the other persons in the party, etc.
90. Remember that for outbound sales, most salespeople give up after the first two attempts to sell someone. If you stick with it after the second attempt and go on to a third, fourth, and so on, you’ve outlasted almost 75% of your competitors.
91. All top salespeople have goals beyond their current job that allows them to be their very best at the job they’re in today. Have a good number of your goals written out, and have them where you can refer to them often and measure your progress.
92. The majority of all sales are made between 8am and noon. Decide that you’ll devote as much time as possible to selling in the morning hours; your odds are far greater at that time of day.
93. Stay away from words and phrases like “Honestly”, “To tell you the truth”, “To be honest with you,” and others; it may leave the subconscious impression with your prospect that you’ve been dishonest with them up until that point.
94. In a challenging economy, Return On Investment (ROI) is king. Don’t present any proposal of yours until you find out what ROI means to your prospect, and how it’s being measured.
95. Get a few back issues of a trade publication of your best prospects’ industry; you’ll learn the language of their industry quickly, what their current concerns are, and the potential solutions that are being talked about among their peers.
96. Understand that people will be judging you, but you don’t have the right to judge them. This is the challenge of serving others greatly. Accept it with reverence, and do your best to be AT your best, regardless of what your opinion of your customer might be.
97. People will be judging you in many ways; by your physical appearance, your personal hygiene, your eye contact, the way you carry yourself, your tone of voice, and a dozen other measures. Do your best to represent your organization by paying close attention to the “basics”.
98. In today’s selling, there is no substitute for doing that needs to be done in order to succeed. Your good looks, your Ivy League Phi Beta Kappa, your charming wit, even your blue-chip Rolodex won’t bail you out. Do The Work.
99. Continually ask yourself this question throughout the day: “What’s the best use of my time right now to put myself in a position to succeed?”
100. When you get to the management level – and you WILL if you follow the 99 pieces of advice above — sales training experts from the outside can help your sales team accomplish more than you could ever do on your own. I consider it a privilege to help those in our industry to succeed, and you’re welcome to E-mail me anytime and ask about how I can help you at bill (at) The800PoundGorilla (dot) com
P.S. Which of these pieces of advice would you say has been most helpful to you? Let me know by clicking here and let your voice be heard!