5 Ways to Help A Sluggish Start to Group Sales For the Season


Cold weather, team didn’t finish well last year, we focused more on season tickets than we did groups…lots of calls this past week about what to do for a team that has a sluggish start to group sales for the season.  The bulk of my group training focuses on what to do in the off-season to prevent this; however, weather always plays a huge roll in when people want to start coming to outdoor sports.  So what to do?

Whether you have 17 games in a season or 81, revenue goals can still be hit. We simply have to put together our strategy for success to make it happen. Where to start?  Here are 5 starting ways to focus on increasing group revenue and help the team refocus for success:

1- Create a major effort to sell ALL experiences for the next 3-4 months.  Most teams have anywhere from 8-10 experiences, and none should start under 50 tickets.  If one power hour a day is dedicated to selling the experiences for the upcoming 3-4 months at a time, that’s a start of 400-500 group sales right off the bat. Utilizing the experiences without a number attached can be a bigger help.  For instance,  to a youth sports league:  ‘for every 100 tickets sold, we can add a different experience.’ For example,  If their goal is to have a scrimmage after the game make that one of the top 3rd levels for them to hit. Selling the experiences should be one of the most successful sales for a group sales rep because they are giving an amazing on field experience with the sale. 

2- Follow up with every group contact in your pipeline and create a hook for the earlier games (at least those in the next month and a half).  How many group discussions were stalled and we didn’t bother to follow-up?  What can you do to create the urgency to close now? Just as you have experiences, utilize some of those unique perks but only for the early part of the season when the weather doesn’t seem to cooperate.  A picture on the field or pitch after the game for the group? A seating upgrade if purchased for  the next xxx games?  Just as important, if your pipeline isn’t bulging, it needs to be. If you make 60 new calls a day, about 25 should end up in your pipeline.  Then, follow up in between power hours will be crucial.  But you’ll have a day filled with potential closing!  Create extra value in these cold months…think about it, we do dynamic pricing now for key games…why don’t we offer dynamic reasons to come in the less desirable ones?

3- Manage your day stronger.  If you are full menu, you need to balance by increasing group calls (the process for groups is longer) and lessening season calls (as the season has started the calls for those should create urgency of a season package before gone for this year).  With that, manage what you put into your hours.  For instance, power hour one could focus on calling business groups to build your pipeline.  Power hour two could focus on selling experiences.  If you want, until groups hit a steady goal, add a power hour three which can focus on types of supersize groups (categories to non profits to simply working on utilizing what you already have…landscaper day/night that is a higher priced seating area but focuses on a meeting with the groundscrew manager to discuss type of grass, fertilizer, etc. or all security staff from all facets of work who will meet with your security person to discuss managing security in a sports world. The calls in between could focus on the current pipeline and working to close.  Having the last hour of the day to focus on creating your lead list for the next day, and having 60-70 new contacts ready to call sets you up for success.

Host an influencer as quickly as possible.  Whether it’s an influencer for all HR people from companies or business leaders to discuss business outings, getting in front of groups of people at this point in time is crucial.  In addition to your calls it enables you to maximize your efforts.

4- Setting your weekly/daily goals.  If you started in March or April, then focus to hit your group goal by the end of July.  This gives  you time to still hit it should you fall short. However, focusing on what you need to bring in then per week and per day, and having that in front of you, keeps you responsible and helps you hold yourself accountable.  At the end of the week, the goal needs to be hit by each sales rep so that the team itself can move forward.  Just as each player on the team has to hold up their end of the bargain in order for the Win, each player on the sales team needs to hold up their end of the bargain to help their team Win.  Focus on the goal and how to hit it.

5- Have each rep create a weekly strategy to hit their goal.  Knowing the goal you need to hit and planning how to do it is key to success.  Plus, it helps each of us learn to create a strategy for success.  How many meetings will we need to set? How many closes do we plan to ask? Do we plan to have an influencer? What is the plan for invites? How many are the minimum we wish to host? What will it take to get that number? What categories are we focusing on for the week? What will be our hook? A plan is huge to getting to goal. And most important , who came to the early games ? Let’s talk to them. If they’re not afraid to they know others like them. They may just be one of your strongest allies !

As a leader, know this is crunch time. Set your daily e-sales chain with a countdown to goal.  At the end of the night with report, include where each person is to the weekly goal. Above all, remember…somewhere in all of this there needs to be a hook, just like we use in sales.  As I was going through  pictures this weekend while cleaning the garage, (yes, even I have to focus on something other than sales!), I found an amazing luau we held for the sales team when they hit the goal.  We held it at the facility, complete with a tiki hut, games, music and food. Another location we held a margaritaville and at another it was a country theme complete with barbecue.  Is it our job to hit the goal? Of course.  But sales is also the hardest of most sports positions because we also get the most no’s.  Create a reward that is worth going after!

In actuality, there are about 25 different things you can do to pick up the group sales at the start of the season.  These are just 5 of them.  The key is, don’t jump to desperate measures.  Come up with the plan and work it to success! And don’t forget this as the season draws to a close…THAT is why we put the extra effort into the off-season to close sales and get deposits…so we don’t run into this !  And also have a plan should the weather in your location be a reason for slow starts!

Kathy Burrows, CEO Sold Out Seating

Sales / Leadership / Group / Retention Training:  book NOW as most weeks are filling up in the next 2 quarters!  Contact:  kathy@soldoutseating.com

Need more ticket sales ideas?  Read “Potato Chip Ticket Sales” by yours truly! 


Potato Chip Ticket Sales


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