Sports Teams: Stop Selling And Start Providing A Selling Service


As sports teams, we search and search for customers, ask for referrals, spend thousands of dollars on marketing…yet all we have to do is treat the ones we have like gold.  They will feel valued, appreciated, and will tell so many others. Instead of selling TO, provide selling SERVICE.  I got to experience top notch selling service first hand twice this weekend.

Having breakfast at the Zuzu Cafe at Hotel Valley Ho, we were serviced by Polly.  And by this, I mean we were truly sold and serviced.  The moment we entered there was quick attention paid to us.  Of course she had other clients, but we were treated as if we were the only ones.  Having received my breakfast and sprinkling what I thought was pepper on my eggs, only to find it was salt (ugh!), there was never a question…Polly wanted to replace my eggs immediately so that I would be totally satisfied with my breakfast. This was my dumb  mistake, yet she wanted me to be totally satisfied.  Her attentiveness, attention to detail, and true care about our experience is what I’ve come to expect at Zuzu, but more, with Polly.  This is why I recommend the location to those visiting.  This is why I bring people to the Cafe.  I know when I go there,  my purchase, no matter how big or small, will be met with attention to detail and caring about my experience.  It will be a selling service.

From there, I had to replace my iphone, so I went to the Apple Store nearby in Scottsdale Biltmore.  There I was met by Austin.  There is something to be said about the Apple Store experience.  Do you wait for what seems like forever? Of course. But are you not totally impressed with what is going on around you? How does Apple not only find the brightest people to work there, but also the most charismatic? How is it when they are working with you, and the store is filled, it doesn’t matter? They are not letting  you leave until you are satisfied with your purchase and able to use your purchase. Austin explained so much to me about my new phone, about additional things I might or might not purchase for it, telling stories, asking questions, and caring about me as a person.  When I left, I felt as if I had made a new friend.  I wasn’t simply another purchaser. I was a valued client.

Now let’s look at our most valued clients with our teams.  We sell. Sometimes we turn over to retention, sometimes we keep them ourselves. We may connect once during the season, but there is generally no true concern or value placed upon our client until renewal time. How can we give that tremendous Zuzu experience by Polly or Apple experience by Austin to our clients?

What happens when we sell? We take those credit cards, say thank you, book the seats and then go on to our next sale.  After all, we have numbers to hit. And therein is the problem...we have numbers to hit. Our client is not necessarily valued, given the greatest experience, or cared about as a person.  Our client is next on the list to the numbers we have to hit.  We don’t know anything about them…do they have a family, how would they use our tickets, do they know who they could share them with, do they much about their purchase other than the location? The list goes on and on.  They are the next on the list to hit a number.

Sometimes we turn them over to the retention staff who is told to focus on adding on sales and renewing them.  So during the year, they are called to be sold to again and then called to renew.  Again, they are on the list to a hit a number that retention has to hit.

The numbers to hit are all well and good, but those numbers can be doubled or tripled if we would only slow down and give that client, that prospect, the most pleasurable selling service.  I was speaking with someone this weekend who had a client that had booked their event, only to find that ownership needed the areas they had booked. Not wanting to share this information on the phone, the rep asked them to come down.  They showed them around and explained the situation.  They offered other locations and explained the experience they would have in each. And then, when they looked at the location the client had wanted, there were jerseys for those there to let them know that while the buying experience had changed, the ultimate expectations had not. What happened? The client went from being upset to being grateful for the exceptional selling service; for the time and care the rep took, for the rep caring enough to tell them in person instead of calling them and trying to resell them on the phone.  THIS is the Zuzu experience. THIS is the Apple experience. YOU are important to me. I want your experience to be top notch. I am with you on this journey until I know you are satisfied.

How often do we know if our clients are truly satisfied?  Do we make sure their buying experience was top notch?  Were they sold to or consulted with? Did we meet with them after the first couple of games to make sure their “breakfast was excellent”…aka their purchase was up to their expectations? Do we have a follow up method so that every client is met with by the third game at the latest to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase?

Do we make sure they know everything about our product and all that we have to offer so they can make decisions in the future?  What other ‘features go with the phone’…aka what other features go with their purchase that can maximize the experience?  Do we rush through after the sale is made to get on to the next so as to fill a quota or do we spend time explaining further options and upgrades? Do we provide a selling service? With the phone, I was shown covers, glass covers, additional charging options,  and suggested I wander down and look at the Apple watches while waiting. Did I just get the phone? Of course not. I ended up with the 2 year warranty plan, a cover, and a glass cover.  Had I planned on all that? No.  But I was explained each portion by Austin and HOW it would affect my purchase of the phone.  It made sense. I did it.

In trying to upsell, do we ever explain the HOW? Do we explain how it will affect the purchase we made? What different experience it may bring or how it may enhance the current location we have? Do we spend time AS WE SELL to explain the upgrades and options we have, such as parking, food vouchers, group experiences, suite rentals, etc.? Do we take the time to walk them through it or just make the sale? The person I mentioned earlier had a client that they had taken their time, built the relationship, and walked them through a buying experience.  Not only did they purchase flex packs, but 2 groups, hospitality and a relationship that this rep is now their trusted advisor.

The question is, are we selling or providing a selling service?

Kathy Burrows, Chief Energy Officer, SOS (Sold Out Seating)

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