3 tips to improve your sales process (no matter what you're selling)
by Evan Ostrosky - Manager, group events at the prudential center and new jersey devils | December 03, 2019
Throughout my sports business career, I have been fortunate to sell or manage teams in both professional sports and live events. After beginning my career in baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates, I moved on to Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment where I have been for the last five years. While at HBSE, I have had the opportunity to sell the Philadelphia 76ers, manage a New Jersey Devils sales team and currently I manage a team responsible for selling Prudential Center live events.
Based on my previous experience, I commonly get asked from those looking to break into the industry:
“What’s the difference in selling baseball versus hockey?”
“What’s the difference in selling entertainment versus basketball?”
“What’s the difference in selling basketball versus hockey?” “What’s the difference in selling entertainment versus baseball?”
It may surprise many, but my answer is always…there is no difference.
At HBSE, we have a 140-page training manual that covers how to sell from A-Z, however, to keep it brief, I wanted to provide three key components to the sales process that will help you close more deals and climb up the revenue board no matter what product or experience you are selling.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Through info gathering and asking open-ended questions, you are setting the foundation for your sales success.
An open-ended question gets your prospect talking through utilizing phrases such as “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why” and “how” instead of “do” or “can” which can turn your conversation from good to great.
When thinking about what question to ask, we want to better understand how the prospect could use our product. The better you understand how they could use our product, the stronger the pitch will be.
Once the prospect begins sharing, it is important to ask relevant follow-up questions to dig deeper and open the door into more in-depth details about your prospect and how they could use your product.
A simple follow-up trick is asking “Tell me more...” after your initial question to find out more details about the prospect. This phrase is important to your sales success as it is impossible for the prospect to have a simple answer of “yes” or “no” when you ask. By doing so, you open the conversation up about their needs and goals without being intrusive.
We’re not just selling a ticket to a game...we’re selling quality time with friends, an experience with your co-workers or memories with family members. Those are just a few examples of the prospect’s needs that we are trying to uncover in this stage of the process.
If you ask the right questions, you’ll be starting your trip on the road-map of sales success.
BE THE EXPERT AND MAKE THE RECOMMENDATION
This is where great salespeople separate themselves. After you build the foundation by asking the right questions, it’s time to recommend the product that best fits your prospect’s goals and needs.
An effective tool to utilize when making a recommendation is the “pattern of yes” where you take what the prospect told you and tie it into how your product will help them accomplish that. It is best to utilize the below pattern of yes a minimum of 2-3 times:
John, you mentioned X
When going through the recommendation and pattern of yes for your product, keep in mind that features tell and benefits sell!
- Feature – what something is (a product or idea) Benefit – what something does (byproduct or solution)
Rely on how your product will solve a need, help accomplish goals, and become a solution.
Too many choices can be overwhelming. By making a strong recommendation, you connect the dots between the prospect’s needs and what product or experience you have to offer.
BELIEVE IN YOUR PRODUCT
Throughout my career, I have sold everything from a playoff team to historically bad teams to live entertainment and everything in between. At each stop, I have truly believed that the product I was selling solved the needs of my prospects. You cannot control what happens on the playing field (wins or losses), but you can control how you convey the product through your confidence, excitement and passion with the prospect.
By believing, you open the door of endless possibilities between you and your prospect – if you believe, your prospect will believe.
At times, this was not easy, but I encourage you to dive deep and live the product. It will pay dividends in your sales process and the amount of deals you close.
In the end, the product doesn’t matter. What matters most is your sales process.
Focus on these three tips and always look for ways to improve. If you commit to that, success won’t find you, you’ll find success.
Evan Ostrosky is the Manager of Group Events at the Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils. He's been in the business for 6 years, all of them in sales and he has experience selling for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and Prudential Center. He's committed to helping others and you can learn more about Evan by visiting his LinkedIN profile here.