October 10: Kathy’s Sports Sales Mailbag …”Hey Kathy!”


Just a couple of weeks until Halloween…do we really want to use scary sales tactics? Let’s ‘sweeten them up’ with kindness instead!

Here’s to this week’s questions…read on!

“Hey Kathy,

I changed teams and was expecting an onboarding process so I could understand the team, the mission statement and the processes a little better. Instead, I was told since I already had some experience I should be honored to hit the phones and just start selling. I feel like I’m always bothering someone to ask questions.  Did I expect too much?”    xxxxx midwest

Dear xxxxx,

I am so saddened to hear this…I think this needs to be another article!  TEAMS…your most valuable asset is someone who generates revenue for you.  Don’t just wind them up and expect them to run.  Make sure they are totally familiar with what you stand for, who the pieces and parts are in the organization, and familiarity with the processes you have in place for sales.  Then, when they ‘hit the phones’, they do so without stopping every few minutes to ask for assistance.

When you don’t onboard properly, you not only lose smart sales from someone who truly IS ready to hit the ground running, but you also lose sales from the people they have to stop in their sales day to continually ask for help.

To answer your question, nope…you certainly weren’t expecting too much. You were expecting professionalism in your career.

“Hey Kathy,

We are a losing team and that seems to create problems in selling. People obviously want to see a winning team.  My question is two-fold:  one, should we be accountable to our goals since the product isn’t living up to potential and two, how do we answer?  Thanks.”  E,  east coast

Hi E,

Is it hard to sell when a team is losing? Of course. But that’s what differentiates a true salesperson from an order taker.  It’s easy to sell when a team is winning…the phone rings more often. To use that as an excuse for not hitting goals (unless the goals are unbelievably realistic) is just that…an excuse.

What is it you are selling? If you’ve been selling a won/loss record, you are definitely not going to be hitting goals on the downturn.  You are selling what you can’t control.  What is it you CAN control? The experience.  Start selling the experience and you will find the prospects.  Empathize.  Yes, we feel your pain. However (transition)….tell me about the experiences you’ve had when you come…who you come with, what do you like best to eat, what part of the game is your favorite, etc. Or you can take the other route:  Yes, we feel your pain.  Tell me what part of the game is your favorite and why you like to be here for that part ….oh, you like the on court contests?  Have you ever been part of them? What if I could get you to be part of one as a season ticket holder?

The point is twofold: one,  you can transition any direction you want. These are a couple of examples.   Secondly, what you want to do is re-engage them with the positives of their experience…what it is they like and how we can capitalize on that.  It’s about the experience, not about the won/loss record.  There’s a few diehards whose mind you will not change, but for the majority, focusing on the positives of their experiences and engaging them is a win.

And yes…goals need to still be hit. We still like to get paid, right?

Keep me posted!


“Hey Kathy,

As a team President, I have a question.  You talk a lot about growing our people, coaching 1:1, etc.  When is enough? Aren’t we coddling them too much? I tend to be a ‘show us what you got in 6 months or we move on’ kind of person.  Is that realistic? Am I wrong?”   G….some city in the US

Hi G from some city in the US,

This is a great question and sounds like you are on the cusp of the traditional ‘this is the way we’ve done it’ with a dose of ‘but it’s a new day and new way so where do I go?’ thinking.  I’m really glad you asked it.

Everyone is different. Everyone has their own philosophy.  I will give you mine since you asked.  🙂

I want to hire a salesperson that I can invest in and grow in our company.  I don’t want to continually be rehiring, onboarding, ‘trying out’ people.  The question really boils down to:  do you want a telemarketing boiler room atmosphere or true sales people who will invest in and grow your business – and themselves – to new levels? Does everyone work out? Of course not. But 6 months isn’t even a full sales cycle.  It takes 6 weeks for most people to build the relationships.

I look at teams like the El Paso Chihuahuas.  It starts with Alan the President to Brad, SR. VP and  GM,  who empowers their leaders.  Nick is a young Director, but he has it together more than some hierarchy in sports.  He understands that growing is a process for his team.  He and his managers, Brittany and Primo, invest in their people. They coach. They suggest. Their door is open to help. They look at each as an individual and work with the talents they have and suggest how to broaden other areas.  They help them create a plan that works for each person, not a one size fits all.  They encourage them to ask questions…to them, to Brad, or even to me.  This staff runs their own small business within the franchise. They work with them to empower them. They want them to grow in the company. They are investing in them.  Consequently they have a staff with an ‘all-in’ culture, working hard to hit goals, and making sure they are running their business in the best way.  Turnover is less, they can add to the team in sensible ways, and they are not dealing with constant onboarding.  They are a TEAM.  Perfect? Of course not. No organization is. But they are building something special there.

As Brad says, “Investing in people creates an unbeatable culture and perpetuates confidence.”  Couldn’t agree more.

So do I think you are realistic? Not really. Wrong? That’s up to you…define what it is you want to create and then build it.

Let’s grow together.


Kathy Burrows, CEO Sold Out Seating (SOS)

Mailbag questions:  send by 5 p.m. EST Tuesday’s to:  kathy@soldoutseating.com   All questions answered either in the mailbag or personally each week. 

Need sales help?   Be it training, strategizing, or leadership: kathy@soldoutseating.com

Follow my blog at:  soldoutseating.wordpress.com and don’t miss an article or mailbag! 

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