July 3: Kathy’s Sports Sales Mailbag… “Hey Kathy!”


As we get ready to bring in the 4th with a bang and celebrate our country, are we ready to bring in our sales with a bang and celebrate success? Happily, I get hundreds of emails each month from sales reps, leaders and owners with questions about getting better.  This is exciting to me as the industry wants to get better, and I am happy to answer each and every one.  Some are in my weekly column (get your questions to me by Tuesday’s at 5 EST) or personally.  All used in my column be assured that I will keep your name / location changed unless you tell me otherwise.  At the end of the day, we as trainers, as strategists, as mentors in the sports industry have – or should have – one main focus…to develop the talent out there to be the absolute best they can be as they are the future of sports.

With that, let’s read some bang up questions!

“Hey Kathy,

You are speaking at a lot conferences and league meetings and I would like to know how I can get my supervisor to let me attend something? Our team just doesn’t send anyone, saying ‘we don’t want to spend money on ideas.’  I feel like I’m stuck in my growth with no ideas. Any ideas to change this so I can go?”  P, east coast

Hi P,

Everyone thinks the biggest reason people leave sports is because of pay. From the study I did and have continued to do, the #1 reason is Leadership and Communication.  Poor communication from leadership down, lack of input by the rep and lack of training and ability to grow.  How can we remedy that?

Bring in trainers that are at your level of where you are to initially grow, then change them as the growth continues.  There are different trainers for different levels.  Secondly, encourage your staff to research and find a conference or training that makes sense for you.  Not just attend, but attend the right one so that you can put the education you get to use. Third, this should be an investment in your staff.  Invest in them for the long term. We don’t want our season / premium/ corporate/ group members to leave so we try to anticipate needs, grow their business through us, etc. Why aren’t we doing the same with our staff?

My recommendation:  find something that fits your area of growth.  Put together the overview and then put together where it will help you grow professionally and what it will bring to the team in terms of revenue / growth.  Sometimes we have to plead our case. Good luck!

ps…and if you ever have something you want to discuss/an idea to bounce…go ahead and connect with me.  I want you to grow.

“Hey Kathy,

There seems to be a disconnect with our data collection.  We can easily collect our existing buyers.  What we are struggling with is finding the  new. We can’t rely on those who have purchased single game or signed up for things continually, although they are decent leads. What are some great ways to prospect and more, find the right group to prospect ?” R, Midwest – leader

Hi R,

I had an entire answer prepared for this question and lo and behold I met the most amazing person at ALSD that has blown me away with his ability to reach new people.  Zachary Taunton of Embassy Social ( https://embassysocial.io/ ) has created a most fascinating app that sports teams are now using with amazing success.  Interesting point:  you don’t pay till people connect, so you are guaranteed connections.  More importantly, as sports teams we capture data of existing buyers. This enables us to capture our potential buyers and can fine tune it down to a fascinating level. So for season sales, premium, groups, corporate…it can be used to find the right targets to satisfy all needs.  This is what I love about newer minds out there…always challenging, always thinking, always asking themselves ‘how can we make the industry better and function smarter?’

This leads me to a lot of what I normally talk with to teams.  Who are our people? Where are our people? Who are LIKE people?  Who wants our people? Who do we wish we had? This is how you prospect.  And if there are easier ways through social media as Zach has done above, I’m all for it.  What is amazing to me is how many teams do not have this info fine tuned to the present, but can give general answers.  If we want to set our sales reps up for success, we have to fine tune what we do and get them the data they deserve to have to make their jobs and ability to close more fluent.

So I recommend looking at the above questions and seeing how much you can accurately answer in great detail.  Once you fine tune the target, you can find and fine tune your prospects.


“Hey Kathy,

It’s the first week of July and I’m a new manager.  What should be in my timeline now and in August and September? I’m not sure what my focus should be on.”  C, southeast

Hi C,

First of all, kudos for putting together your timeline and strategy.  That is a big step to success for anyone, not just leaders.

The answer depends on if you are in season or out of season.  If you are in season, here is what I suggest:  by now you should have your renewal plan in place and ready to roll out late July/early August (ideally start this process end of April/beginning of May).  From there, your focus should be either August or Sept coming up, along with your team, a strategy for selling 100 new in August or September.  Utilizing the games you have to maximize new sales is key prior to going into the off-season.  From there, plan your strategy the first month after the close of the season.  Nothing worse than going into the off-season kind of wandering through the desert.  Have your day or two to decompress and go right into a plan for success that first month.  Meetings set. Owning a city.  Talking with group leaders to discuss options for the coming year (additional people or an upgraded location).  Just have a plan that first month. So many teams go through motions when they could be capitalizing on the emotions the fans still feel from the season ending.

If out of season and your season starts Oct/Nov, then instead  consider a final stretch campaign to be at 90% of your opening season goal by opening night.  Set the push start/stops for the large groups, and do this more in August to mid September for those groups in Oct/Nov.  Continue your new season onboarding. Facilitate the touch points.  Create your strategy for filling all the rest of the experiences through December.  Create your strategy for getting to these goals I set above with dates and expectations.  The more you can zero down, the more it helps the team focus to hit the goals. Help them learn to a) Focus on closing and b) Focus on prospecting for the more qualified close to get to the goals. The more done now, the less stressed the season.


“Hey Kathy,

Our premium sales department has a really young staff.  Consequently, companies don’t seem to believe their pitch.  Any suggestions? ”  R, south

Hi R,

A telling statement here…they are giving a pitch.  Of course a company isn’t going to listen. They are being sold TO not partnered WITH.  Age shouldn’t matter. What matters is your ability to find needs, build a relationship, and not try to sell out of the gate.  Premium sale is not a cheap sale. It takes a relationship and building trust.  Until trust is built, there will be no listening.

I would recommend taking a step back and working with your team on ways to build trust and the art of asking questions.  Know a bit about the company before going in.  Ask insightful questions to show you’ve done your homework.  Encourage 4 steps to be done before an ask is made:  1) form a relationship 2) build trust 3) find needs and  4) create the plan as to how your product can help fill those needs.  Then make the ask.  Slowing down and building the sale vs going in and selling are two different things.  This should help them see the process differently.

Let me know how it goes!


Kathy Burrows, Chief Energy Officer…Sold Out Seating

Getting ready for the off-season? Or gearing up for the season?  Is your training finalized? I have very limited openings left for fall, so first come, first serve.  Already booking for first of the year!  Sales training? Leadership training? Strategy planning? Contact:  kathy@soldoutseating.com

Have sales questions?  Send YOUR questions by 5 p.m. EST Tuesday’s to:  kathy@soldoutseating.com All will stay anonymous; all will be answered either on this site or personally.

Need a little more sales help?  Consider Potato Chip Ticket Sales…a great sales instructional help book by….me! 

http://www.ticketsalesbook.com/  potato chip ticket sales


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.