Understanding The Client’s Needs

Understanding Clients

While working in minor league baseball for the Inland Empire 66ers I was told something that I have repeated to myself every day since. “No one has to buy a ticket.” Loren Foxx, the General Manager at the time, was talking about customer service to our group. His vision was to have us respect each fan as if they were the most important client in attendance. We were not a tax accountant, we were not a grocery store.

When fans chose to spend their discretionary income on tickets to a game the team and staff needed to respect and celebrate that decision.

Client Group Leaders Need Help

In group sales, many times the person planning an outing has a lot on their plate. They may be a team parent, spouse, assistant or executive. The key to creating an enjoyable experience is to understand the needs of the client and give turnkey options for their consideration.

Closing the sale begins with a needs analysis. While many leads may ask for one set of options for consideration it is important to ask them questions to make sure the group event they choose creates the best outcome. The ultimate goal of a group sale is not a one-time outing.

What Questions Are You Asking?

It is multiple, repeat outings that lead to a stronger relationship between that person or organization and the team.

  • Why are you planning an outing?
  • Who will be in attendance?
  • Is there anything special you are celebrating or commemorating?
  • What is your budget for this event?

Building Trust Is A Key Factor

These are just some of the questions that can help create an effective group sale. In working for a sports team we sometimes forget that people like to have a person inside the organization they can trust.

Creating trust over email is difficult. It is imperative that throughout the process a group sales representative has phone calls with the lead, prospect, or client. Share personal information or information about the team that may not be available to the general public. At the Oakland A’s I had a great amount of success talking about Moneyball and the characters that I worked alongside in real life. The inside information to when and where filming was happening or had happened created a trust between myself and the clients.

Respect Your Clients With Face-To-Face Visits

Finally, the most important thing to do in order to show your respect of a client is taking the time to meet them in person while they are at the event itself. These clients decided on your product to host their group. They took time, effort, and money to bring guests out to your venue. Stopping by to say hello at the game takes a few minutes and allows the client to communicate any issues.

Having the opportunity to fix a problem on the event itself is much more impactful than trying to do so afterwards. At the A’s, during my tenure as Group Sales Manager, we instituted a group leader gift. This was an item that the group leader did not expect and it allowed the sales representatives to show their appreciation for their planning and choosing of an A’s game as their outing.

No one has to plan a group outing or purchase a sporting event ticket, and every fan you meet is a potential lead. It is our job to show them why planning a group outing so is a fun, memorable, and turnkey option when hosting.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith currently serves as the Director of Corporate Development at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Burrows will be teaching "Attacking Group Sales Head-On" with Blue Jackets co-worker Nick Myers at the Sports Sales Boot Camp in Pittsburgh on June 28, 2016.

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