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  • Brett Zalaski

What Universal Studios Reminded Me About Maximizing Game Nights


As my wife, some family friends, and I were shepherding four kids between 5 and 10 years old through the lines of Universal Studios in Orlando last weekend, a trend stood out to me.


Our average wait time for each ride was probably in the neighborhood of 45 minutes. Some rides more, some rides less. As we waited longer, and longer in each line...the patience and excitement of the kids waned...and the complaints escalated.


The moment we could see we were about to get on the ride, the exhaustion of the wait was immediately lifted. The kids were excited. On the rides they were screaming and yelling...and the moment they got off the ride they'd almost immediately ask if they could do it again...or say that this was the best day of their lives. Such short memories of the wait time.


As I rested my aching body from a day of standing, and got ready for this week's sales training, a sales stat within my training popped in front of me and made me think. It was from an article I've referenced before from HubSpot (here), who got it from a Saasquatch blog (here), who got it from a referral marketing study by Texas Tech University (whew).


After a positive experience, 83% of customers would be happy to provide a referral. But salespeople aren't asking -- just 29% of customers end up giving a referral.


Those don't obviously directly connect...so bear with me a second. I use that stat in my sales training to talk about why maximizing game nights in terms of driving sales leads are so critical. Our games are incredibly positive experiences for the vast majorities of fans who attend...yet, when I travel all around the country, sales reps efforts to engage those fans is lackadaisical at best. They let the sales table happen to them. They execute group initiatives operationally...not introducing themselves to people. The walk and talk on the phone or talk to another employee. They stop and watch the game for long periods of time. Etc. etc. etc.


Organizationally, we know the names of about 1/5th - 1/3rd of the names of people on game nights. We know the names of about 1 in 3 season ticket holders, 1 in 3 indy buyers, and anywhere from 1 in 20 to 1 in 40 group buyers. That means we don't know 67%-80% of the people in our building. Most of whom are LOVING the experience. Just like the kids about to get on the ride, on the ride, or just after the ride.


Then we get to the next ride, the shine of the last ride wears off, and the complaining starts immediately. When the experience wears off with our fans, they tend to forget the excitement of being there. And it's not their fault. We need to step OUR games up.


Email indy buyers before games to offer a VIP tour. Engage with parents of group experiences we are working. Fish bowl suite areas. Work the lines to engage with fans. Look for confused fans and offer help. Stand in front of the sales table to invite people in. Make yourself open and available, not closed and cut off. Make a goal of engaging with 50 fans and getting their information. Push yourself to maximize these incredible opportunities. The numbers and the stories bear out the importance.

I close my 'Maximizing Game Nights' segment of my sales training with a simple question: Would you rather call 50 cold ticket buyer leads the day after a game? Or would you rather call 50 people you met at the game?


99% of the time, it's the 50 people they met at the game. Love the quote in the picture next to this. All maximizing game nights takes is attitude and effort. Be the one who finds reasons to do it, not reasons to be busy for the sake of being busy...and, if you do, there's no doubt it will produce positive results.