Business Is About Relationships

Sales Relationships

Relationships are the key to commerce. Many of us have been raised in an environment where we dial for dollars and try to move from call to call and appointment to appointment as quickly as possible. “Time is money,” after all.

What if I shared a secret with you?

This kind of commodity selling is dead in sports… and understanding why will help you sell more tickets, immediately.

It’s A Dead Concept, Seriously

First, why does this type of selling not work any longer? Simple. It’s easier for us to filter our people, products, and services that are just taking from us. Cold calling constantly, taking without creating value, and other assorted of classic selling techniques are less and less effective with each passing day.

The place where you have more and more of an ability to influence sales is by establishing and building relationships with your buyers and prospects that move past just the transaction of buying and selling a ticket.

So how do you do this?

Think Long-Term Relationships

Part of the commodity driven sales cycle is the idea that fans really mostly care about the game and that there will always be someone new that HAS to go see a game.

Both of these things are wrong.

First, fans do care about the game, but it isn’t the only thing that they care about. Second, without someone building a relationship by teaching, guiding, and sharing about the team and the impact of attending a game, you aren’t going to have a new set of fans constantly at your door.

Therefore, you need to look at the long term value of a fan.

How do you move from a commodity to a partner?

What can you do to enhance your fan’s experience?

Where are key touch points that you can use to generate contact and value outside of the transaction of purchasing tickets?

Think about the fourth sale first and it will change your vision of your buyers.

Sales Is A Conversation

I know we all have seen those budding “Blakes” (Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glenn Ross) that are intent on the maxim: Always Be Closing.

But the truth is that these types of hard sale tactics are less and less effective because of the number of options that people have to buy tickets AND the number of options that fans have for their entertainment dollars.

Instead of seeing your sales conversations being a one-way street, think about them as a conversation with equal partners. Would that change the way you discussed your options with a potential buyer? Would this help you approach your sales conversations with current buyers that you want to get to make a bigger commitment? Would this help you with corporate buyers?

Always Add Value

In a real relationship each person creates and shares value. But, in too many cases we can find our need to make our monthly numbers creating an environment where we never even consider value and value creation.

That’s why we never get off the treadmill of chasing our next monthly goal to establish true, high value relationships with our clients.

The key to establishing long-term, high value relationships is to begin adding and creating value in the partnership immediately. As a sales agent in sports, you can do that by understanding what a potential buyer is trying to achieve with their purchase. You can add value by understanding what a personal buyer might need versus a corporate buyer. Or, if you are dealing with corporate buyers, think about how your team and games can impact their ROI and help them achieve a substantial return on their investment in your product.

As the relationship evolves, you will have the opportunity to sell more, gain new opportunities from referrals, and establish yourself as a trusted partner. But you need to start creating value immediately, and a lot of times that means putting yourself in the buyers’ shoes.

Dave Wakeman

Dave Wakeman is a globally recognized expert in the areas of revenue, strategy, and marketing. His consulting firm, Wakeman Consulting Group, has attracted clients like Odwalla, Yellow Tail Wines, the US Department of State, American Express, Madison Square Garden, and Volunteers of America. Wakeman will be teaching "Making The Strategic Sale" at the Sports Sales Boot Camp in Pittsburgh on June 28, 2016.

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