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  • Brett Zalaski

STOP: Go Here for Sales


You've spent two weeks being on-boarded. You're finally ready to make your first #sportsbiz sales phone call. Your team is looking on. Energy is surging through you. This is the job you dreamed about...and now it's time to actually f**king do it. Now it's time to produce. You click on the lead in your database. And it's a customer that came to one game back in 2016. 'What the hell am I supposed to do with this?' you think as the air is sucked out of your balloon.


Most every #sportsbiz sales rep has had to call ticket buyer leads. And I'm here to tell you, as a former Vice-President of Ticket Sales & Service, these are critical calls to be made for our organization...and someone has to do it. I'm also here to tell you, as the host of a site FOR ticket sales reps, that those leads suck. I tell reps in my trainings, it's like eating your vitamins or vegetables. It's often miserable...but it is important.


So what else can you do? You hunt...that's what you do. The best sales reps I've ever worked with did not rely on ticket buyer leads...almost ever. The worst sales reps I've ever worked with relied on ticket buyers almost exclusively. So where did those best reps go to find sales? Here's a quick list:

  • YOUR GAMES: I see #sportsbiz sales reps standing around watching games in some nightmares. The best reps are not concerned with what's happening on the court...they are in constant motion on game nights. Working the ticket buyer & will call lines, out at the front gate before the game, doing tours before the game, visiting potential clients during the game, helping lost fans as they walk into the stadium, etc. etc. etc. I ask this question in every one of my trainings: 'Would you rather call 50 random people the day after the game, or 50 people you met at the game?' I've never had someone say the random people. But that's the cold call you rely so much on. Go get people!

  • Your Past Buyers & Your Past No's: We're told to generate referrals, so we do it (maybe) in the moment and never again. Which is crazy. We haven't shown those new buyers any value yet. Sit on them. Marinate them. Show them love. Then shoot them all an email to ask once they've seen the true value by being there. Same for your 'no's'. If people had the courtesy to tell you 'no'...and not ghost you...there was probably a good relationship there. Keep those people in YOUR pipeline...don't let them get reshuffled to another rep. Shoot them a monthly email that is all cool stories and information...and watch them shake off the fence.

  • Networking Events: I've written about this before, so I'm not going to go nuts on it here. The most important point to make here is to just do them. Motion creates action, action creates sales. It's a super simple formula. Don't listen to the people who tell you there's no value there, or they're a waste of time. Your ability to network your community WILL drive sales. That's irrefutable by the most cynical sales rep. In the words of Nike, JUST DO IT!

  • Wherever You Are: This is so important for young sales reps. You are always representing your brand. In the office, at lunch, on social media, at the gym, and at the bar. You have a job that interests other people. Wear that proudly. This shouldn't scare you...this should empower you. Talk to people everywhere. You'll find a lot of fans of your team, and a lot more easy conversation, if you lead with your badge.

Loved this cartoon on the right. Lead lists close at like 1% for most, 3-5% if you're good. That's literally scraping the floor of the ocean. FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE...or sell where the close rates are higher, and the totality of your actions will matter more. That's almost entirely in referrals and self-prospected leads.


I don't like the idea of guaranteeing something works in sales. We are in an industry of constant failure, so a guarantee, in most cases, is just a lie. What I will guarantee you, is if you go consistently off your call list, and on to the four places I named above, you will sell more. I've never seen an elite salesperson be call list only. And I've seen all the elite salespeople I've worked with live away from the call list. So eat your vitamins and make those calls...but live where the sales truly are.