I’m speaking this afternoon at the NATB’s virtual conference with Patrick Ryan, Ken Solky, and Corey Gibbs about relationship building and the future of the ticket business.
Knowing Patrick, Ken, and Corey, you can expect to get some good ideas and some unique perspectives on the business.
But as a preview, I wanted to share a few of the ideas I’m been thinking about heading into the panel:
A relationship doesn’t mean you buy from someone, you have to add value:
A drumbeat that I’ve been talking about for years to folks on the secondary market is that if you are just buying your tickets off the internet or dealing with a lower level account executive, you aren’t a partner no matter how much money you are spending.
Just being a buyer doesn’t mean you have a relationship with a team or a venue or a person, it just means you buy something.
To have a relationship you have to focus on value and exchanging value and ideas.
If you are going to come out of the pandemic still thinking that value is represented by your credit card’s credit limit, you are in trouble. If you just post tickets on a platform so that they can market your tickets and sell them, you are nothing but a commodity.
Relationships mean folks will pick up your calls, answer your emails, and deal with you as a professional.
Building relationships isn’t easy, it takes time and effort:
All the time folks from the secondary market ask me what I would do if I were to start back in the day-to-day ticket selling business again today and my answer is unequivocal: I’d build a book of direct business.
Almost immediately, I get one of two responses:
- “That would never work.”
- “That’s too hard.”
Usually I’ll get a few more excuses like people are price shopping or its time consuming.
All of these things are true, but that’s why that’s where the opportunity is.
In my past life selling tickets day-to-day, I had clients like Google, Yahoo!, Nike, American Express, and I can on all day because I had most of the Fortune 100.
The internet absolutely changed the relationship between the secondary market and the consumer and opened the door for price sensitivity, more digital sales, and a lot of other things: good and bad.
But the greatest opportunity is in dealing with people.
The kinds of clients I had don’t care about saving an extra $3 on StubHub versus Vivid Seats. They are happy to pay a premium to me because they know me. They know that I’m offering value in the form of events to take folks to or places to see and visit and that they can bounce ideas about marketing and strategy off of me and I will have something relevant to add.
That business still exists.
But it is hard and it takes consistent focus and effort.
You need to build relationships all over the place:
I’m successful as a consultant because I build relationships with folks all over the world and up and down organization charts.
One of the challenges folks on the primary and secondary side are both dealing with is that they are myopic in the relationships they focus on, looking at the immediate gains for them, and not the value that can come from helping someone when they may not be in a position to help you, or when someone is just starting out.
To be truly successful in the ticket business of the future, you are going to need to focus on relationships across the realm of the market you serve. You should have lawyers, doctors, marketers, sales folks, and all kinds of people in your network.
When I was at INTIX in January, I hung out with colleagues from NYC, England, Australia, North Carolina, Scotland, Wales, Kansas, and more. I also spent time at drinks or meals with folks from the property side, the technology side, the secondary market, and the vendor side. On top of that, I went to see a few friends in journalism, marketing, law, and medicine.
- Humble brag on my network!
- More importantly, and less as a joke, don’t you think I can learn from all of those people and that this knowledge base and these connections aren’t going to help me be a better person and a better businessperson if I’m not a complete numpty and don’t hang out and listen to them?
Sign up for the NATB’s event, it is FREE and you can connect and learn some stuff!