(This is a guest article by Cabe Flesher)
As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and this can’t ring more true than in the wide world of sports, specifically sponsorships sales. We are out there everyday trying to get in the door somehow and we have all heard the phrase, “Oh, I know someone I can call or email”.
Well, speaking from the trenches, it’s best to build on that network as much as possible. Networking now isn’t always about hitting the latest local networking event, which we all know is filled with the same sales people trying to sell each other and vying for the for real buyers in the room. It’s more about reaching out to our peers on a national level trying to develop a bond there that will someday pay off. Let’s face it we got into sponsorships because we want to get paid. So however you can achieve that should be your goal.
Now I am not saying that we are all devious in our actions, but in order to reach the goals that have been set by our glorious managers and leaders, we must expand every possible aspect to our job. So developing our national network is key to assisting in those goals. How do we do that? It’s up to you to figure that out as I have sat through enough day long seminars by so called “gurus” of the sales world to know that the only expert in how you hit your goals is you. My advice though isn’t that you have to listen to it all and take what you want, how you want, to get what you want.
The ways that have worked for me include emails to peers within the league that I work in. Just reaching out and saying hi works, but be prepared to swap some good leads. This is a business and we all have to give in order to get. To quote the great Bill Murray in Caddie Shack when he offers his infinite golf wisdom to the “Dali Lama himself” he too wants something in return when he asks, “How about a little something for da effort”. Another successful strategy had been to milk social networking sites for all that they are worth. Get to know sites like Linkedin. Avoid reaching out excessively, because you don’t want to be known as “that guy”. You know the one that is always posting things about what they are doing or constantly harassing his or her peers for leads or info. We have all dealt with that person.
The economy is tough right now and in order to get in with new organizations we must do all we can. This is just one man’s opinion, but any advice is worth listening to in this economic climate. Especially coming from someone who is still in the trenches…
Cabe Flesher has been working in sports sales for more than five years now with knowledge of markets both large and small. He has developed partnership plans at many levels to numerous organizations. He currently is working in the NBA in the San Francisco Bay Area. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.