While out searching for a house to buy the past 3 days, we reviewed some new builds as well as existing homes. What intrigued me the most was the method of selling. New homes were packaged…they show you a home that you fall in love with, with all the bells and whistles. Naturally, you’ve already fallen in love with the one that is picture perfect and cost suddenly is secondary and you don’t want to revert back to a basic build.
So how do WE sell in the entertainment and sports industry? How many times have you started out with the least expensive, just hoping to make the sale. How many times have you not considered what could be added to the ‘ticket’ to make it more desirable, a better experience, and a more solid customer? How many times have we gone out with ‘rate cards’ in corporate sponsorship only to have the prospect whittle you down, with them receiving a less than stellar return because they went with the least expensive option. How many times have you sold a supersized group and had the leader say “they’ll just go for the least expensive so just give us that.” Why do we sell a new build and make them keep adding on?
I think we all need to be that model home. The one that leaves everyone breathless, emotionally engaged, and not even thinking at that point about price anymore. What they are thinking is how much they will enjoy it. Why aren’t we being that model home? Why aren’t we leaving them more emotionally engaged and not thinking about price anymore? Why are we so focused on price?
Let’s look at a few instances:
The group ticket. “I know our people. They won’t want anything higher.” What should be your response?
- My experience has proved that people look at it as ‘wow, that ticket isn’t very much. Must be in the nosebleeds’….and then they don’t buy.
- If we give them a mid to top tier pricing that also has loaded value on it (additional money for food or merchandise), and give them the choice, experience has shown that most will go for the higher price. Why? It has extra value added to it and as they figure it’s most likely the only game they will come to, may as well do it up right.
- I promise you if you get in the habit of offering this, even starting out with a group, they will most likely opt for it. Paying up front always makes people happier when they get there and realize they have money to spend!
- Add on merch…a hat, a t-shirt, etc. Again, more value to the night.
- Add on a game experience. “If we switch to closer seating so the fans can become more engaged, I will let you select 20 people to be part of our fan tunnel/autograph session/etc.” That is a no brainer when it comes to increasing the revenue price of the ticket. WHY oh why do we sell our experiences with the least expensive ticket? Use those experiences in smarter ways!
Premium Sales: Be it a suite or club seating or front row, what can you do a little differently to create a more desirable product and be sold out night after night?
- Do we just rent/sell a suite? What if we offer the ‘suite night package’: add on another $1-3 K or so and add to it : an alumni visit, an alumni coach session (will be in the suite talking them through the entire game of they why’s and how’s), a cake or pastry with their company name brought in, hats for everyone in the suite upon arrival, autographed picture for everyone in the suite, etc. The point is, there is a baseline suite rental price. But there should be a package price. That package should have a lot of perceived value added to it.
- Front row seats: Offer a Front row seat package: Escort to seats. Tasty beverage already in the drinkholder for them. Cool out? Packaged team/venue blanket on their chair. Hot out? Cool packs brought down intermittently. Game notes/private event sheets. Special t shirt or hat. Meet and greet after the event.
- Club seats? Club seat package: most club seats include food and non alcoholic drinks. Add loaded value for tasty adult beverages, a t shirt on the seat (or coupon on the seat to be redeemed for t shirt) , programs, etc.
Corporate sales: A rate card is for your thought process only. Start thinking needs. What do they want out of this corporate partnership?
- Custom a package that fits all of their needs. They want to drive business to their location? Include a season ticket holder event in the off season held at their location with them giving a unique offer. They want recognition at the game in a more memorable way? Tie them in with a charity that they can assist and present. They want ‘tabling’ at the game? Create the reason for people to go to the table…everyone who visits the xxx booth will get to sign up for a picture with xxx after the game. Bank needs new depositors? Create an event at the bank with the team or some of the team…anyone who opens an account at that time can get their pic taken with the player on the debit card. Point is, those things aren’t on a rate card necessarily. So create the opportunities then give the package price. If they say it’s too much, then ask them what is least important to them in their needs.
Season Memberships: Do we really think a perks program does our job for us?
- Custom memberships: Starting at $5K, let them build their package. Their own ‘bank’ they can redeem as they want for what they want. Tickets to a game? A suite one night? Club seats? Hats added to clients that are coming? Its a custom bank that creates their needs in a heartbeat. All they have to do as the account starts getting lower is to add another $5K on. This encourages businesses to use all our products based on their needs, enables them to be in control of their investment, and builds our business. How many of you currently belong to a wine club or something similar that you cash in and use as you want? Our entertainment venues shouldn’t be any different.
- Add an additional $50 on to the season membership each year and give them something truly unique…a custom jacket, a custom back pack, etc.
I have about 3,000 more ways to do this, and this is simply a sampling. My point is: They want to invest with us. Why do we give them the least desirable option? To make sure we get the sale? Let’s go for the best experience in a packaged way. Let’s let them get value along with their night out. Let’s get them raving about how we do business. Stop selling the tickets and start selling the package!
Lot’s more ideas coming up at the ALSD workshop in July…if you haven’t registered, you better! See you there!
Kathy Burrows, SOS Sold Out Seating
Workshops (in person or web based lunch and learns): firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual twice monthly workshops to increase your sales (for 6 months, up to 10 individuals per session): email@example.com
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