March 20: Kathy’s Sports Sales Mailbag … “Hey Kathy!”


The weeks keep flying by!  As some are ending their season, some are gearing up to start, and some just started.  No matter what cycle you are in, there will always be questions and always be new learning opportunities!  Read on!

“Hey Kathy,

I am noticing a number of your posts pertain not just to sales but more, ways we should be engaging to retain.  My question is two-fold:  are you a fan of in season renewals and secondly, do you or will you be doing a retainer workshop for season and group clients.”  C, west coast

Hi C,

To answer your first question, yes! I am a huge fan of renewing in season.  Why? Is there a better time to renew than when people are engaged? So many teams wait until out of season, send an invoice, then make the 10K calls to get them back…all while out of sight, out of mind.  If I am enjoying my season, looking forward to going to the games, and you give me as a first round renewal in season a really great reason to renew, you better believe I’m putting my money down.  By waiting, you are giving them a great opportunity to spend their money elsewhere…let’s face it…someone will tracking them down to buy their entertainment options. And why call / engage first instead of sending an invoice?  Isn’t our goal to reassess and establish needs?  Can they be better served upgraded? Might they find they need more seats? An invoice takes the discussion out of it.

To answer your second question, YES.  The best ideas come from our staff…agree?  Well, in my case some of the best ideas come from the teams…and since teams have been requesting heavily the past 4 months that I consider a retention workshop which includes working with onboarding for year one members as well as engagement throughout I am happy to say this has just been added this week to the opportunities.  Hope to see you and your team!

Two questions this week on this topic spun differently…

“Hey Kathy,

Should our immediate supervisors back us on sales problems or revert things to entirely what the customer wants?  Our supervisor drills this is what we can/cannot do into us and yet when we explain to the client and they go above us to the supervisor he invariably backs down and gives them what they want even though we are not allowed to.  It breaks a lot of trust with our client.  J, southeast

and #2…

As with many teams we have a service department that fulfills our sales. (note:  BTW…some teams do this partially on a league effort, some strictly internally). When they do not fulfill properly and the client gets upset, naturally they come back to us and blow us up.  That’s ok, I can handle it, but I am not permitted to coach the service rep on better ways to handle, and worse, our supervisor will not step forward and coach them either.  We work hard to get the sale and need to make sure our clients are serviced as they should be. What are your thoughts on supervisor support?”  Z, east

Hi J and Z,

The short answer:  Being a leader means you often have to make the tough decisions, but ultimately, unless you as a rep have screwed up so horrendously, they need to support you.  If there is a policy and it is set, and you have parameters you can offer but other than that you cannot, and you have done your job, there is no way they should undermine you.  I had that happen to me repeatedly at one point and it did two things: I lacked trust in my leader and the client lacked trust in me.  Now isn’t that a recipe for disaster! If others are not fulfilling their job correctly, then it’s time for leaders to do what they are hired to do:  not manage numbers, but coach for the numbers. In this instance your supervisor should be coaching to make sure the client is retained…the correct things to say, the proper way to fulfill, etc.

It took me a while (actually until someone pointed it out) that I liked harmony and didn’t care for conflict.  I don’t know anyone that loves conflict, but I was grateful they pointed it out.  This is something I worked on and am happy to say I changed.  If you are going to be a leader, you must have the respect and trust of your staff.  If you change the rules continually or don’t address problems, it’s most likely because you don’t want conflict. Yet without addressing it, we create more.


“Hey Kathy,

In meeting with a potential sponsor, they had asked for some out of our norm experiences that, instead of signage, was more on the video board.  Our team has been hesitant to do it, as that is not the norm.  Thoughts? Any you’ve seen?”  P, east coast

Hi P,

Actually glad that question came up this week as I had attended an Arizona Coyotes game this past weekend and absolutely loved the partnerships they had and how they activated them.  You can be a restaurant and be a sponsor, and signage isn’t going to do a lot.  However, people are visual.  People want to be engaged. So they had their mascot in one segment and players in another segment eating their burgers at that particular restaurant and did a whole ‘commercial’ around it.  The fans loved it.  And I, who has a brain like a sieve, have retained the name of that restaurant in my brain … so is it top of mind? Yes.  It’s a commercial.  Can you charge as such? Yes.  Is it engaging? Oh, yes.

In selling partnerships, one thing should be top of mind in our minds…how can we best help them fulfill their needs? If they are looking for traffic into their location,  how can we do something other than a coupon or a sign, or a time out promotion which is quickly forgotten? Why do you think they have commercials on tv?

My point is, it’s time to reassess and redesign.  If a customer comes to you and wants a partnership, and they have ideas, that is the best starting point of all.  Instead of an automatic no, let’s weigh the pros and cons and consider all the opportunities.


Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating

Send YOUR weekly mailbag requests by Tuesdays at 5 EST to:

Sports sales / Leadership workshops and the all new one day Supersizing workshops or Retention Workshops:   Give me a call and let’s see if we are a good fit!

More questions?  Try:  Potato Chip Ticket Sales by yours truly.

Potato Chip Ticket Sales


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