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  • Brett Zalaski

#SportsBiz Rep: How Can I Be Up When Everyone Else is Down?


In response to an article I wrote a few weeks ago, 'How Can I Be A Good Ticket Sales Teammate?', I had an MLB sales rep write in with the following question:


'...That's all great information. But what if everyone on your team is just super negative all the time?'


For the team in question, attendance is down and the record is bad. No doubt. And no matter how good your leadership team is, that can create a really difficult environment for reps who need to pound the phone each day.


Here and here, I've talked about how to sell losing teams in tough environments. This won't focus on that, this will focus on how to be a good teammate when the environment around you is toxic or tough.


Here are three things to think about/do:

  1. Focus on what you can control: Positivity breeds positivity. If you focus on selling the experience...those around you will hear and become more positive. If you focus on outbound touch points...those around you will see your activity and be motivated by it. There's a ton of stuff you can't control in #sportsbiz sales...but that's the same in ANY sales job. You can control your mentality, sales positioning, and effort. Keep your eyes there...and it will have a positive impact on those around you.

  2. Be an ear...and a shoulder: One of my worst personal attributes is that I always want to respond or debate or discuss. What I'm learning as I get older, especially through marriage and step-dad-dom, is that sometimes people just want to vent. Great teammates hear the frustrations of their friends and teammates out and give advice and solutions in a way that helps build up the people they are around. Sometimes you hear the advice to 'Block out the negativity.' That's fine if you want to be selfish...which I get some times. But great teammates support those who are struggling the most.

  3. Get the f**K out: This is definitely not going to be a popular one. If the environment you are in becomes too toxic and negative, one of the best things you can do is break the Stockholm Syndrome...and leave. It sets the example to others that this is not an environment that people need to be in. There are TONS of jobs available in sports right now for qualified sellers. Sometimes being the best possible long-term teammate is to show others there are teams in positive circumstances, with positive cultures, that will make the effort to develop you in the best and worst of times. Because there are.

There are plenty of bad teams, with bad attendances, who still work their butts off to create positive cultures with positive development strategies. You should always continue to work for those teams.


Negative situations or big challenges need strong leaders. Not just from your managers, but from you, the seller. In every sales team I've had, the first two salespeople I think of are always my top seller...but, more importantly, the person who positively lead the culture. And that person is the VP of Ticket Sales all over pro sports right now.