April 17: Kathy’s Sports Sales Mailbag … “Hey Kathy!”


Happy almost Easter!  Hope your basket is filled with good things! Some of us in season will be celebrating Easter with a home game, so hat’s off to all of you who will be working!  May the game go in your favor and you hurry home to a great meal! Meanwhile, let’s answer some questions that the Easter Bunny brought…

“Hey Kathy,

What do you do when you fear change?  I’m working at a team that gave me my first job, and although I feel I’ve gone as far as I can, and know that I need to grow more, I feel guilty for leaving them as they were good to me in giving me a job.  What to do?”  D, southeast

Hi D,

There are some of us who recognize that growth involves change and we go forth boldly onto the next adventure. There are others of us who know we need to change yet really don’t like the uncertainty.  So we stay. What happens when we do? We have 2 choices.  One, make the best of the situation and work hard and be a great contributor, but know in your heart that what you are doing is probably what you will be doing in the future, or two, be grateful for the learning opportunity and move on to fine tune your skills and grow and develop more. Getting out of our comfort zone enables us to experience things we never thought we would.

At the end of the day, go confidently with whatever you choose.


“Hey Kathy,

I seem to work hard, yet at the end of the day I don’t really seem to accomplish anything.  You know how much goes on in a sports day.  My teammates are making sales, and I do sporadically, but it’s not for lack of trying. What will make me more successful ?”  O, midwest

Hi O,

The old adage, ‘work smarter, not harder’ certainly applies here.  It’s so easy to get distracted and difficult to go back to what we were focusing on.  How to change that?

One way is to create your daily / weekly strategy.  This is your GPS to success.  Knowing what you want to accomplish each day, the focus you want in categories for your power hours, the list of calls to make during those times, what the revenue goal you want to hit that day is, all these things will help you keep focus.

Just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the successful rep can block out the chaos of the day and accomplish what they set out to do. Discipline in sales is up to us.


“Hey Kathy,

How do you sell groups 2 days out from a game?  Our sales numbers aren’t  strong for some games, and when it’s a couple of days before, our manager makes us stop selling for everything else and only sell for the upcoming game.  Sometimes we luck out with a group or two of 20 last-minute, but usually we are making a lot of calls and have no results.  Meanwhile, we’re so focused on that game that we aren’t selling others, so the next week the same problem happens again.  So how can we sell 200 or so in 2 days? ”  F, midwest

Hi F,

We all know the group sale is a process sale. That’s why some people prefer season sales where it is a sell and move on vs the group sale where it is multiple steps and follow through to get the numbers you want.  Is there a magic bullet for selling 2 days out? Not really.  That game should have been a focus 4-6 months ago, not 2 days prior.

I’ve had reps that have called existing large groups that they have relationships with and ask if they can get 20 people together. That relationship they have with them is strong enough that they can make it happen, but at what cost?  You can only go to the well so many times. I’ve had other reps that have called friends and relatives and ask if they can get 5 people together and once they have 4 that have done this, they book it as a group.  At what cost? Devaluing the product. My suggestion is what experiences are left or what experiences can you create to sell as a hook to make numbers come in?  Have a fan tunnel not sold?  Are there coaches you can call in a pinch? A department in a company that you have a relationship with that would come out in a couple of days and be part of an experience?

My point is, can we do it ?  Yes, there are always ways.  But why?  I’m more concerned with your manager.  A manager needs the confidence to tell their boss that one or two games will have to take a hit while you get the overall season back on track.  Enabling you to focus on games starting 2 weeks out will give you the ability to get the numbers back up and start filling the seats.

At the end of the day, this is a lesson in how we manage our off-season.  Do we establish a Mendoza line per game? Do we focus on the first quarter of games initially? Do we make sure all our game experiences are sold the first quarter of games and then move on to the next? Not to say we don’t sell any other games, but we make a conscious effort to, at the very least, get the experiences sold quarter by quarter to get us on track.

It all goes back to that dreaded word…strategy.  The days of dialing for dollars are over. People have choices as to what they want to do for entertainment.  We need a plan to make sure one of the things they want to do is be at our games.  And unfortunately that won’t happen in huge numbers two days before.


“Hey Kathy,

We are in playoffs and have a sales table.  We have signs for new season, but our first game we didn’t sell any. We won, so people were excited, but they walked right past us.  What can we do to get people excited about season tickets when they are focused on the playoff game?”   B, west coast

Hi B,

People are already excited.  They’re at a playoff game and that energy is contagious. That is what you are capitalizing on.

How engaging are you? Are you standing behind a table, making a sign do your selling? Or are you engaging drawing people to you? Simple steps:  prize wheel, conversing with people in the concourse, etc.

Are you working the crowd?  As people are in line for tasty beverages or food, are you conversing with them? Are you watching people in the stands that are really excited and offer them this same excitement for the upcoming season? What is the hook you are using to bring people aboard?  I’ve had teams that have given away a big screen tv each night of playoffs and everyone who purchases a season package for the upcoming year is eligible to win.  Can you do a private party at the end of playoffs for all those who have come aboard? Sit in on a press conference that night?  Again, what can you create as a hook to buy that night?

There is no time like playoff time to capitalize on the energy, excitement and that feeling of belonging.  If you do sign ups and wait a month to call, you’ve already lost that emotion.  The day after a playoff game there should be a major focus on calling all of those sign ups and single game buyers to talk about bringing them aboard.  Each day after that you wait, the emotional attachment becomes less and less and it becomes harder and harder.

By the way, here’s hoping you make it all the way!


“Hey Kathy,

What is your take on post season pricing?  As a season ticket holder, I chose not to buy as the cost per strip was ridiculous, and I had to buy all 4 of my seats (I couldn’t buy just 2).  I’d have to have taken out a homeowner’s loan. ”  G, northeast

Hi G,

I’ve worked with many teams whose philosophy is:  charge more and then the resale market will suffer and we’ll get our real fans.  But what is it the real fans can afford? You shouldn’t have to take out a loan to buy a playoff strip…especially when, as a season ticket holder, you’ve supported them all year.   In the past two years, I have worked with more teams that are saying their number of season ticket holders who are not taking the post season package is going up.  There are teams out there struggling to fill their arenas/parks for playoffs as people are saying ‘we can’t afford that.’

As entertainment, we are pricing ourselves right out of the fans budget. I’m not saying give them away or make them cheaper than a seat during the season…of course they will be more.  But reasonable needs to be part of the thinking. If our most loyal fans feel that it is too much (our season members), then we have established a two caste system:  season buyers and post season buyers.

Just my take.


Kathy Burrows, Chief Energy Officer, Sold Out Seating

Send YOUR sports sales questions by 5 p.m. EST Tuesdays to:  kathy@soldoutseating.com  If you would prefer a personal answer, please add that in your message.

Is your team ready for that next level training for the 20’s and beyond? Do you seek accountability in your sales team? Would you like the sales process moved up? Give me a call and let’s see if I am the right fit for your team at this time.  If not, I am happy to refer you to other trainers out there. Contact:  kathy@soldoutseating.com   Summer training dates are almost completely gone, and I am now starting to fill for fall. First come, first serve.

More sales questions?  Get your copy of: Potato Chip Ticket Sales by …you guessed it…me !  Buy for your college class or use at your team as the book for the book club, and let’s set a time for a follow-up video session with me after to discuss the book and answer questions!             http://www.ticketsalesbook.com/ 

Potato Chip Ticket Sales



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