Why is it we are surprised with a low renewal rate when we sell them our product before the season starts, touch base with them maybe once in person during the season, then send out a renewal and can’t get them to return? To add insult to injury, we then start calling them…sometimes twice a week…begging them to return. How can we create a sales/renewal process for success?
- Sell your season, group, premium or corporate based on their needs, not on your wants. You may want to sell them 4 season tickets in the club section, but they may only want to get their feet wet this year and purchase seats in the mid level. Yet we push it, not listening to the conversation they are telling us. They buy, and from that moment are not happy with their buying decision…buyer’s remorse. How many times has that happened to you where you have been ‘encouraged’ to buy something that you really were upset with yourself after? Listen to them, understand what their needs are at this time, make your recommendation for them based on their needs, and you will set your retention teammate up for step one of success instead of failure.
- Check in monthly from the day they bought until the season starts, then follow them closely that first month to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase. Nothing says “you made a great purchase” like selling to them in May and then not connecting with them again until October for the preseason games. To add insult to injury, we email them at that point, not even have a conversation. Once they made a purchase, a thank you note goes out. They need reenforcement that they have made a smart buying decision. From there, check in monthly. Send a picture. Send a video. Give them a call. Stay in touch. As the season starts, visit them frequently and know if their purchase is meeting their expectations. If it’s not, there’s no better time to fix it than now. Why wait until renewal to find they hated their purchase?
- Send a video, send a picture, take them on the court / field, bring them a little gift… Why do most people hate buying cars? They are treated with white gloves during the sales process, and then after the first month, are never heard from again. Create great monthly touch points. In season, there should be 3 in person. Out of season there should be 3 in person. A video can be an in person touch point. We just need to make sure that we are meeting up with them in various ways.
- Early in the season, prior to the renewal, upgrade them for a game. Then go down and visit them. Let them know that you want to treat them to an upgrade for a game. Go down and visit and let them know that these particular seats will be available for the upcoming season at just $xxx per seat additional.
- Don’t send out the renewal invoice….repeat: Don’t send out the renewal invoice. Many teams are opting for auto renew, which saves their reps time and is a ‘convenience’ to the fans…as well as realizing many fans will forget to renew and this automatically does it for them and increases our renewals. Me? I tend to drop out of anything that is auto renewed….I want to be able to control my own spending as I want. Why do I not want you to send out renewal invoices? Calling them and having a discussion, especially if you’ve been visiting them throughout the year/season, enables you to do one of two things: upgrade or add-on. Talk about the seats you upgraded them to. What was their experience? How did they enjoy the location? Can they see themselves sitting there the upcoming year? If so, give them the new price of the renewal in those seats. Perhaps an upgrade is not to their liking…they actually love their seats. Then let them know that one row behind and two over you have 2 additional unused seats. Who would they use them for if they were to purchase them? Get them thinking as if they have. If you can convert even a 20% renewal increase or upgrade, do you realize the additional revenue you would be bringing in?
- Have defined campaigns along with incentives by campaign. The first campaign should be during the season to renew. It should also have the biggest incentive. After the campaign, let it go for a couple of weeks. The next campaign can be up to a month later. This is a little bit lesser incentive. Then let it go again once completed. The last campaign is with no real incentive other than to renew. Make this one a month or two before the season starts. These are the people you will be chasing otherwise when your staff could actually be selling.
- Have your process planned and well thought out at least 3 months before. How many times have you decided in May that July needs to start renewals, and suddenly a plan is thrown together as to what to do? The staff is thrown into a whirl, a quick training is done and presto…you’re off and running. Take the time to plan a renewal process. Make sure the team is in full agreement and understanding. Have all of your campaigns thought out. Set goals for each campaign. Roll it out smoothly with confidence.
Renewals are key to our business. It’s so much easier to not resell that seat, suite, or corporate opportunity year after year after year. In that way we can grow the business. We can’t grow the business if we aren’t working with our current customers correctly. They are our most important piece of the sales puzzle. Let’s treat them as such.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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