November 30th 2006
Q. What are your thoughts on selling premium, and in particular luxury suite season tickets, and packages when your team has a history of poor performance on the field? I am looking at it as the same approach for season tickets. Any comments?
A. The general sales approach I emphasize is doing your research (the prospect and their business or organization); and then meeting with the person - preferably in your arena so they can tour and experience premium seating and suite areas - asking questions, listening and addressing the needs of the prospect.
A few important points are to ensure you qualify your prospect by asking questions that will answer whether this is a solid prospect (and decision maker) for you premium seating or suites.
Second, if they are a solid lead, your goal should be to get them to your arena for a meeting or for an event (events sell tickets) to see and experience the premium seating area, and to receive a “behind the scenes” tour of the facilities where “only the VIPs investing in premium packages” have access.
Next, determine how many of those premium seats they’d like to invest in and don’t forget to ask for referrals (if the time feels right). At the very least, ask where they work so you can come back around with a group offer at the appropriate time.
November 29th 2006
Q. We’ve struggled with students – and fans in general – not wearing our school colors or our logo. What strategies do you recommend to encourage fans to wear our school colors to games?
A. College Colors Day would be a great day to kick off your campaign. You can check out some of the stories and strategies included in the links below where school presidents have encouraged fans to wear school colors, and proclamations have been issued recognizing this day.
Additionally, I’ve included a link from Purdue where they have “Boilermaker Black & Gold Fridays.” They’ve created a logo and promote on campus and throughout the community. Many businesses not only allow, but encourage, their employees to wear the school’s colors.
November 28th 2006
Q. What ideas do you have for keeping things positive in the press when teams are not winning and have been down for a few years?
A. There are many examples of neat programs student-athletes have been involved in over the years to positively impact communities and create positive press as a result. Here are some examples
November 27th 2006
Q. Could you provide examples for tailgating and picnicking policies for college and other sports teams?
A. Here are five examples from college and professional sports:
November 21st 2006
Q. Can you share a new or interesting on-court basketball promotion for half-times that would be appealing to a restaurant corporate partner? Our standard promotions are old and outdated.
A. I don’t know if I can provide new promotions that would be idea for a restaurant promotion, or half-time activities, but I’m happy to share five of the more popular ones in hopes of striking one or two that can be used.
Coupons: You can provide the restaurant coupons as fans enter your arena, or distribute as exit coupons thanking fans for attending the game. Additionally, you could include the coupons with the T-shirts tossed to fans during your “3-point T-shirt Toss;”
Eating Contests: Adults, children, faculty and staff, and/or students;
Hot Dog Launch: Wrap and launch hot dogs (complete with condiments and coupon packaged with the hot dog) to fans standing and cheering during a selected timeout or half-time. Note of caution: Be careful not to set the compression too high on the launcher or you’ll likely be sharing a hot dog with more than one fan…which happened several years ago at a basketball game;
Loudest Section: Encourage fans to cheer for burgers, pizza or whatever food you and the restaurant agree to deliver to fans – or a section of fans – who cheer the loudest during a selected timeout of a game;
Student’s Dinner: Provide meals to the first 100-500 students who enter your arena for a game. A nice touch might be your coach greeting the students, thanking them for coming out to the game and supporting the team, and handing them a boxed dinner or pizza, courtesy of the corporate partner.
November 20th 2006
Q. I am looking for ideas for a bank promotion or a contest to be used during a basketball timeout.
A. The oldies but goodies include the dash for cash, the cash cube and the splash for cash (kid’s pool filled with water and coins). You could also do the “bank shot” promotion which has a nice name tie-in.
We once did a $10,000 cash grab where we delivered to center court what looked to be bags of money in a wheel barrel. We had a student dressed as a security guard (the uniform, hat and badge) who played the security guard role well as he wheeled the money out and dumped it on the court.
The contestant had 15 seconds to select one of the bags – which were numbered 1 to 100 - that either had the consolation prize of $100 or the grand prize of $10,000.
The contest was insured, and we had a camera on the spot watching as the bag was selected and opened by the security guard in front of the contestant. It made for great TV highlights - as well as for everyone in the arena - when one contestant actually selected the $10,000 money bag and went crazy - jumping up and down, and screaming at center court. The crowd erupted with enthusiasm as well.
November 17th 2006
Q. I’ve heard more and more teams are utilizing their cheer and dance teams to host clinics to not only teach kids how to cheer and dance, but also as a means of selling game tickets. I think this could work for us and hopeful you could recommend a college or professional sports team who does this well.
A. Cheer and dance clinics, as well as player, coaches and referee clinics, are great programs to offer your fans while selling more tickets to yoru events.
November 16th 2006
Q. What would be the first book you feel a person new to sales should read to improve her sales skills?
A. I’d actually recommend two books – “Little Red Book of Selling,” by Jeffrey Gitomer and “The Certifiable Salesperson,” by Tom Hopkins and Laura Laaman. Both are filled with a lot of golden nuggets that would help a first-time as well as seasoned sales executive.
November 15th 2006
Q. We’ve always introduced our basketball team from the bench, and I’d like to create a new tradition to entertain the fans, or interact with the fans during our team introductions. What are some strategies teams have implemented to improve player introductions?
A. There are many different ways to introduce players and engage your fans at the same time. You may want to consider a ball exchange, which WNBA teams are known to do when players are introduced. Teams line up youth on the court and as each player is introduced, they hand one of the youth a basketball and exchange a high-five.
Some teams who have stairs that lead down to their court have positioned a different player at each stair entrance, and as the players are introduced, they run down the stairs and high-five fans on the way down to the court.
Players have also been known to toss mini-basketballs or T-shirts into the stands as each are introduced, or all at once following introductions.
And another strategy you could consider is the tunnel entrance, but I would recommend doing something different than the traditional inflatable tunnel. Be creative and different from your local and conference teams so whatever you do crates a buzz and entertains your fans. Adding pyrotechnics and lighting can also be fun for all involved.
November 14th 2006
Q. Over the years, we’ve lost a lot of season ticket holders and each year have to work extra hard to not only replace our lost accounts, but also sell additional season tickets to increase our season ticket base. Is this a trend in sports?
A. Many times in sports, the high turnover of season ticket holders is due to the lack of year-round customer service or touches by staff members throughout the year. If there’s a trend in sports, it’s simply sending a renewal invoice versus reaching out to season ticket holders on a consistent year-round basis to develop a relationship and address your shareholders needs.
You may be interested in the words found on a sign in a gas station which read:
Why Customers Quit
1 percent die.
3 percent move.
5 percent leave because of location.
7 percent quit because of product dissatisfaction.
84 percent of customers quit because of an attitude of indifference shown to them by one of the employees.
November 13th 2006
Q. I’ve had a challenging time motivating a staff member who hasn’t been as productive with sales as we need this staff member to be. Is there a book or two you could recommend for picking up some tips and strategies for motivating staff?
A. Here are three: “151 Quick Ideas to Inspire Your Staff,” by Jerry R. Wilson; “1001 Ways to Energize Employees,” by Bob Nelson; and “The 24-Carrot Manager,” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.
November 10th 2006
Q. Help! I’m struggling with time management. I know I can be successful in sales, but I’ll never be successful if I don’t develop a time management system. o you have any recommendations?
A. Check out the Franklin-Covey day planner system and classes they offer, and invest in and read “Time Traps,” by Todd Duncan.
November 9th 2006
Q. I’ve been working hard, setting appointments, meeting with prospects and unfortunately not closing sales. What do you recommend to close more sales?
A. You may want to evaluate how you’re qualifying your prospects and whether or not they’re solid prospects.
A few questions to ask: 1) Have you identified prospects that could be ideal customers? 2) Are you meeting with decision makers?
Ensure you’re meeting with ideal prospects. Those who have a need for your products and/or services, and those who can make the decision to buy from you.
November 2nd 2006
Q. Many teams cheerleaders do push-ups following their football team’s touchdown. What else do teams do to celebrate a touchdown?
A. There are many traditions and rituals teams have following a football team’s touchdown.
Three of them include the ROTC firing a canon from the field; fireworks; and cheerleaders running up and down the field behind the goal posts with large flags that feature the team’s logo.
I watched the Clemson-Virginia Tech football game last week, and when Tech scored, its mascot had weights and a weight bench on the sidelines, and bench-pressed the number of points the Hokies had scored to that point.
November 1st 2006
Q. Movie theaters have held viewing parties for years, and now I hear sports teams are having success with viewing parties. What are some tips and strategies for a school that would like to begin offering viewing parties for its fans?
A. The University of Washington Alumni Association has put together a outline of tips and strategies you may find helpful in getting started with your viewing parties.
The University of Florida Alumni Association has put together a web site page for its viewing parties that include a full schedule of events listed by state.
Viewing parties are terrific for keeping your fans – whether they’re located close to your school or sports team or if they live out of state - connected and engaged with your sports team while the team plays on the road.