May 16: Kathy’s Mailbag; Hey Kathy!


Wonderful questions from you, our sports sales and retention reps (and even some leaders and customers!) keep coming in weekly.  Here is a sampling of this week’s mailbag questions, which includes a retention question and the upsell that should have started as the recommendation:

“Hey Kathy,

I am in Retention for season sales and have a client list of about 600.  It seems like in season we just take care of ticketing needs and questions, and the off season we are calling them asking about experiences.  I don’t feel we are doing the best job in servicing, and if it’s boring to me it must be to them.  Any ideas?”  K, east coast

Hi K,

For those with retention teams, it is imperative to realize sales and retention together are the 2 most important positions out there.  Why? We can sell, but if we don’t sell smartly and sell based on needs, we cannibalize the opportunity for renewal.  And if we don’t touch our customers frequently throughout the year, they do not feel the value of their investment.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I like to sell that seat smartly once and then go on and sell more, rather than starting out each sales season finding replacements for lost sales.

So with that in mind, it is important to invest in your retention team.  How often do you incorporate retention into your sales training?  Shouldn’t trainings be sales and service oriented? So what could retention be doing that shows a true investment in our ‘shareholders’ of our business? Some examples:

Brainstorming.  Retetention teams should sit down together and create a quarterly strategy that will get them through each quarter but in a unique way.  Creating wow moments.  In the off season, what can you do to create wow moments for segments based on locality? Go to them, don’t make them come to you.  Send cards. Be it anniversary, birthday, graduations, etc. know about their families and ‘send the very best.’ Invite them to unique opportunities.  Know what their likes are.  If there is a play, a movie, a unique happening in your city, invite that group that likes that. Host off season fun events.  In season they are busy coming to games and it’s easy to add an event on.  Hosting in the off season keeps us top of mind and shows added value.  Surprise them in season. Take them a gift. Buy dinner for them at the game. Bring them a beer.  Create a surprise mascot visit with a gift.  Tag a special welcome onto their seats. Send an occasional video from the staff/players/mascot/president. Make it specific to them so they feel the love. Use special videos…run out and watch batting, hockey, soccer, basketball, football  practice on an off day or prior to a game and send it to your clients telling them the team is getting ready for their arrival.

Remember…little things go a long way.  Mine was as simple as a picture of a player at an event, a monthly little newsletter I created, birthday cards, and later, videos to create a tremendous loyalty….and I had 6500 clients to retain.  The client has to know they mean more to us than the renewal invoice once a year.  Now that we’ve moved renewals up to in season, all the more reason to touch base out of season.


“Hey Kathy,

When we call with an offer or focus on one item, how do we then get to the upsell?” B, southeast team

I think my question is, why is there an offer or focus on one item.  Why are we not recommending the item that will give them the best experience? You can always come down to the offer of the week.

Oftentimes we go out with a focus, such as say club seats.  Our goal is to sell 300 of them for season.  Perhaps, there is a better fit of say a suite.  We shouldn’t hesitate to make that our first recommendation for the best fit and experience.  We can always fall back to the club seats.  Also, who are your prospects for the club seats? Are they businesses/people that you would recommend it to as the best experience for them? Start with those prospects.  It would make no sense to call every single game buyer and try to sell them club seats for a season.  However, if you watch buying patterns and see they routinely spend xxxx and come to multiple games, they are a strong candidate for this area.

I think my feelings are this:  upselling comes when a client tells you they want an item and you have no needs basis on them…so you can of course accommodate them but I wouldn’t hesitate to have a conversation with them and see if this is what best fits their needs.  An upsell may be in order for them to be happy with their purchase.  Another instance is the season ticket holder.  I am a huge fan of gifting them tickets in  an upsell area during the season and giving them another experience.   This makes for an easy conversation to ask how they liked the area and let them know for xxx a seat extra they can have that seat/experience for the upcoming year.

At the end of the day, our conversations shouldn’t revolve around specials or special offers….that is meant for walk up.   It should revolve around what will give this specific client the best experience to fit their needs. That is the upsell and what our recommendation should be.


Don’t forget to send YOUR sales/retention questions by Tuesday mornings to:   Some will be selected for the mailbag and others will be answered personally.

Kathy Burrows, CEO of Sold Out Seating…”Assisting YOUR team with ‘2020’ Vision and Beyond.”

To see if I am a fit for your sales/retention team or visionary strategizing:     If we’re not the right fit, I can recommend someone who will be!


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