CAR Approach to Ticket Sales: Conversation, Assess, Recommend


How well do we listen to our prospects? How can we really tell if they are moving up the pipeline or do we simply keep them there until they either buy or say no? Do we really know what they are not saying as well as what they are saying? Do we really collect all the info we can, assess it, and then make a quality recommendation to our prospect so that they will be satisfied that they made this buying decision or do we leave them second guessing themselves?

The best education I received was in nursing school (yes, I am an RN and left to go into the sports world).  My first few weeks while training, we would walk the floor of the hospital repeatedly for 3 hours at a time, each time stopping to tell our nursing instructor what was different in each of the 60 rooms we looked into.  In addition to helping me get very physically fit, in time this taught me assessment skills beyond simple interested/not interested, or in this case well/not well.  It taught me body language. It taught me to catch the little nuances that give away what they are really feeling vs what they are saying.  It taught me to ‘feel’ when things weren’t quite right.  It taught me to understand if they were hearing what it was I was saying.  Above all, it taught me how to use all these things and appraise a situation and decide the right plan of action.

The sales process is just that…a process to listen, see, appraise and plan.  No one wants to be sold to, but rather partnered with. They want to know they made a good decision instead of hanging up and immediately feeling buyer’s remorse.  What do we provide? Do we really do a strong assessment or do we get excited that there is interest and promptly go to close without really going through the process to make sure we are giving them the right fit?

Let’s use CAR:


Know what your objectives are before you start. Of course your objective ideally is to sell, but what other objectives do you need before you get to that point? Most often in ticket sales, we need to know the ‘how, who and what’…how they will use the tickets, who will be using them, how often do they believe they will use them.  Know what can be recommended in each of the categories and it gives you a good start to hearing, understanding and choosing.  We don’t ask the questions simply to make conversation or fill in our CRM. We ask the questions so that we get a clearer picture of what they would do if they had them.

Have a true conversation.  The 80/20 rule really applies here.  Are you doing only 20% of the talking and spending 80% of the time listening? Are you busy formulating what you are going to say or actually listening? Does one question or comment feed off the next?  Are you transitioning into other parts of the conversation when ready or abruptly questioning? Assessment means conversing.  How much conversing is being done?

Are you taking notes and observing the non verbal statements?  The glancing sideways, the moving hands a lot, the smile that only goes to the corner of the mouth, the smile that never reaches the eyes. Are they shuffling papers while talking on the phone so as to not really be engaged with you?  Are they restless if in person?  Are you connecting? If not, go back to find common ground so that there is true conversation.

Are there holes in the conversation?  They tell you  they will be using them for business but are vague as to how. They will be using about 10 games, but vague on why/what/how.  What they are not telling you is crucial to not only getting a sale closed, but more importantly, closed correctly so the client is satisfied. These holes will not move you up a pipeline, but rather leave the prospect feeling it isn’t a good fit. Are you simply skipping over those holes, or sitting back and helping them understand how they can best benefit and the ways in which they can be used.

Does the prospect feel a connection with our sports and entertainment offers?  Are they talking with you out of respect or do they actually feel a connection? Have we shown a connection? Have we gone through the process enough of understanding them so that we can use “Picture it…” and have them see what you see?


Do we understand their business/needs enough so that we can look through the info and make a quality recommendation of a ticket package  with examples of how to best use them? Or are we jumping the gun before we go through the process and assuming what we think they need? Do we understand the ‘how’ they will be using and the ‘how’ we can help them even more? For example, on hospitality and suites, do we show them how to track success if they are looking to get new prospects from suites? Do we even know how to track? Have we filtered in what they have said as well as what they have not said?

Do we know what makes this prospect happy? Do we know what a successful purchase  means to them?  If we simply close a sale without knowing what a successful purchase means to them, we have set a large “failure” note next to them when it comes to retention time.


Are we ending the conversation with a recommendation based on all you have learned? Are we showing them how we can match up to each point they have raised? Are we showing them what success will look like? The why? Above all, are we using the two magic words:  “I recommend” ?

These may sound like little things, but little things – like a snowball – collect and become bigger. And bigger ends up with no sale or no renewal.  Taking our time and having a healthy conversation with a prospect, assessing what they are telling us/not telling us and then making a quality recommendation brings us to the perfect process to closing a sale.

Kathy Burrows, CEO Sold Out Seating

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