It’s Kathy’s Mailbag…”Hey Kathy!” Sept. 12


As we get ready for the leaves to change, we remind ourselves that sometimes we have to also!  Change is good!  Read on…

The first question has come across my email 4 times this past week, so must be a hot topic discussion!

“Hey Kathy,

Our ownership team is big on filling the place, so if it’s not sold it’s free.  That would be somewhat ok, but our community relations gives out hundreds of tickets per ownership that we could have actually sold to them.  What are your thoughts on free? Ownership feels that we’ll make it up with corporate sponsors.  I’m not so sure.  Your thoughts?”  A, F, J and C from all over. 

Hi Everybody that feels their pain…

Let me start by saying I am not a fan of papering the house. Free should be used smartly (prospecting new clients, etc.) But to pass out hundreds of tickets may make someone think that they look like a hero while you have totally devalued the ticket.

What happens when people get accustomed to lots of free? Your ticket has no value.  After the first or second time going, it’s not a coveted thing to go to.  The experience is devalued.  They know the tickets are always there free, so they choose other options, and pay I might add, because it’s more coveted.

I have watched franchises fold from papering the house.  The message it sends? We can’t sell our product, our product isn’t worth the $20 ticket, and so we’ll give it to you.  And they are supposed to be excited about coming?

How can you manage it differently? I’m a fan of community relations having guidelines for requests for free and sticking to those guidelines, along with a maximum per game (100? 200?).  Then, in the off-season, create categories of who you would like to have come…from schools that can’t afford education day or STEM day to women’s shelters to the ‘feel goods’  such as foster families, single parents, etc and get those tickets sponsored.  Reach out to companies or targets that would provide those 100 or 200 tickets for a category.  Lastly, as the sales staff prospects businesses, watch for what charities they are linked to.  Make that a recommendation as you talk with them…providing a night for themselves as well as their charity they are involved with.

The goal is to convert so very many of those free to paid before the public no longer has an interest in purchasing. Give value to your ticket, your experiences, your team, and yourself.  Free has no value.

Let me know what happens!


“Hey Kathy, 

My staff shows me hundreds of names of businesses on their excel sheet that they have in their pipeline, but there doesn’t seem to be any action with them.  Any ideas?” R, midwest

Hi R,

Sorry to tell you, but those hundreds of names of businesses on the excel sheet are not a pipeline.  They are leads.  There is a difference. I can copy Dun & Bradstreet and hand over 5K or more leads, but that’s not my pipeline.  A pipeline is a qualified lead. To be qualified, they must have called them and found there is an interest in a further conversation (date and time) or a meeting (date and time). From there, you follow-up to find needs, make a recommendation and hopefully close.  The list of names on the excel is a piece of paper until they are called.  I’m willing to bet if there’s no action, there’s no calls. More importantly, have notes from each person called and either moved to the pipeline (qualified as a prospect) or moved to the x pile as the response was no.

I would recommend working with them more on what a list is vs pipeline and make it a game to get the contacts moving up the ladder. Let me know how it goes!


Thanks to all of you who have referred my new book out, Potato Chip Ticket Sales, or purchased it yourself.  Hopefully it will inspire you to never forget building the relationships, challenge yourself to new heights, and always, always,  always be learning.

Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating

Training…Leadership, Sales, Retention:

Follow my sales article and blog at:

SEE YOU at the Seattle Sports Marketing Conference and Career Fair Oct. 15 and 16.  There is still time to get your tickets!  This is for those aspiring to be in sports as well as existing sports members.  So much to learn and so many amazing speakers to meet! 


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