Get my weekly ticket newsletter at www.talkingtickets.substack.com
A few days ago, I had a chance to talk with my friend, Brett Zalaski, and we spent about 2.5 hours talking about sales, renewing and expanding skills, and the future of sports business.
We even managed to record a little more than an hour of it for my podcast.
After our conversation, I was struck with a few changes I think are going to come to the way that sports tickets are marketed and sold in the States. Here are 3 of those ideas.
A new sales model will emerge:
The old boiler room sales model of sales has been hanging on for some time now despite the results not having been great for some time.
As the gang at the Football Weekly podcast pointed out, the NFL has even been dealing with the challenge of folks coming to their games for several years now.
The reality is that cold calling 100 times a day is an outdated way to run your entire sales organization. Even in the largest cities like LA or NYC, it isn’t long before you become spam that folks are willing to just filter out and ignore.
I’ve been advocating for a number of years for the way that sports tickets are sold to jump forward and meet the 21st century combining phone skills with other valuable skills like value creation in the B2B area, using technologies to stay in touch like texting or video, and professionalizing the sales cadence to meet what other businesses in other industries are doing.
Brett talked about someone needing to lead the effort and that it can be challenging to go first because there is no guarantee of success.
This is all true, but if the pandemic hasn’t shown that the old ways of doing things aren’t as stable as we thought…I’m not sure what to do.
The sales funnel is going to need attention:
Stop me if you’ve heard these decelerations at some point during the pandemic:
- “Fans are just going to rush back!”
- “Viewership is going to be through the roof folks are so desperate for sports!”
- “Everything will be back to normal pretty soon.”
As the pandemic has drug on, we’ve seen that there is certainly an audience that is going to go to events no matter what the situation is. But I don’t think that’s an indication of any long-term overwhelming demand from the data that is available right now.
We’ve also seen that viewership numbers have been mostly modest and where there has been growth in sports, it was because the numbers were so modest to begin with that your percentage is bound to look great.
And, getting back to normal…well, I’m not holding my breath.
I point these things out because it seems like far too many people have been basing their entire pontification on the topic built around “wishful thinking”.
A great song by Wilco, but not a great sales philosophy.
The truth is that as a sales and marketing person, your number one job is to make money.
You do that by creating a customer journey and working folks through the sales funnel.
I had a masterclass podcast with one of Australia’s best growth marketers, Oli Shawyer a few weeks ago.
As I talked with Brett about, he highlighted two metrics that will show whether or not your sales funnel is working well:
- Lifetime customer value
The value proposition will need to be rethought:
I’ve had the chance to work with some organizations around the world on this idea before and during the pandemic.
The key idea has been that the environment for people’s discretionary spend is ultra-competitive now. That competition is only going to intensify going forward as we continue to deal with the ramifications of the pandemic.
At the core, value proposition comes down to how will your life be better by spending your time, money, and attention with me over someone else.
Can you answer that question through the eyes of your target customers?
If the answer is no, you better get on the case immediately.
If the answer is yes, you better ask yourself how that value has changed due to the pandemic.
This idea plays into the ideas that Brett shared above about retention and lifetime customer value because one key idea that never gets enough attention is that customers’ attention and affection for our teams or tickets changes over time based on life circumstances, team performance, and other factors.
The book Soccernomics covers this idea in great detail.
The key is that our value proposition is evolving, constantly, and we need to keep an eye on what that means in the markets we are serving.
Check out my whole conversation with Brett Zalaski and let me know what you are thinking about the future of sports business.