Sports Sales Reps – These Tips are for You
I’ve been working in sports for about 6 years now, and heading into my 4th season selling for a professional baseball team.
When I say selling, I mean that I work with clients and generate revenue from all different kinds of prospects and avenues. I sell sponsorship, group tickets, season tickets, events, fundraisers, and so on and so forth.
When working in sports, especially in the minor leagues, often times you are responsible to work in a few separate departments, all contributing to the greater good of the team. Although I’m not a sales “expert” (is anyone really?) I have learned a lot in my years since graduating college and working in professional sales departments.
Here are my tips (take them as you will) for new sales reps trying to find their way.
Don’t be Afraid to Fail
I think this is the biggest thing that held me back during my early years on the phones. I was so afraid to offend someone on the other line, that I sometimes didn’t pick up the phone at all. In fact, my biggest motivator to this day is still fear. Eventually, I was able to begin using it as a motivational tool rather than an excuse. My biggest fear is letting down my teammates, if I don’t sell, if I’m not constantly making new connections, then I’m letting them down. Whether you sell $10,000 in one day on two phones calls, or $0 on 150, the sun will rise, and the phone will still be on your desk.
Act More than You Plan
Planning is great, planning helps you set goals, compare numbers, and measure progress. Do not be mistaken however, it’s the action that will make you successful. Lots of young sales reps spend a lot of time setting up their spreadsheets, call lists, and role calling with other staff members to perfect their pitch. The only real way to learn, adapt, and grow your skill, is to insert yourself into real life situations, even if it feels premature. I spent a lot (like hours upon hours) doodling in my notebooks bored out of my mind in sales classes in college as my professor explained the three key excuses a prospect would use. “THREE?” I used to think to myself, that can’t be right. Sure enough, I’ve probably heard a thousand over the last few years. The phone may seem scary, walking up to someone may seem scary, but trust me, just do it. You’ll thank yourself later.
Hold your Boss Accountable
Okay, please don’t take this the wrong way. Your boss is in charge of you, not the other way around. Always be respectful of those around you, regardless of positioning on the totem pole.
It is very important to hold your direct managers accountable for their actions and words as they are leading you to the promised land (or just your sales goal, but you get the point.) If you are promised an incentive for reaching a milestone, make sure to remind them if it doesn’t happen. If they schedule a sales meeting and are constantly running late for it, it’s OK to politely ask them to respect your time, as you also have things to do and calls to make. If you are in a sales role now, there’s a good chance you may be a a manager at some point, take notes of what your boss does right, and things you may not agree with, this will help you form your management style when your time comes. After all, isn’t a sales manager only as good as his team’s worst member?
Always Look at the Bigger Picture
If you are going to take one thing away from this article, take this. Always think of the bigger picture. We all lose sales from time to time that we thought were a sure thing. The fact of the matter is, if your twenty five years old, there’s a great chance that you are only one-tenth of the way through your career, think about that for a second. Things that seem like huge tragedies at the workplace now, will be minor speed bumps in the future. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
Alex Einhorn is the Game Presentation Manager and On-Field Host for the Lancaster Barnstormers and the founder of Baseball Desk. Follow him on twitter @EinhornTweets