As I sat down to write today’s blog, on Halloween, I couldn’t help but think about the holiday. I remembered back to all those years of dressing up in costume, the trick-or-treating, and the celebration of ghosts, ghouls, and haunted houses. We always had so much fun, and I still do now, even as an adult.
The more I thought about Halloween, the more I began to realize that there are some things we can learn about the holiday (at least the traditions) that are also applicable to succeeding in sports sales. What could they possibly be? Stick with me, let me show you.
1. Creativity and commitment wins – Whether it was the costume contest, the pumpkin carving contest, or who had the scariest house, there were always competitions. In my experience, those who won were the most creative, they worked the hardest on their costume, and they were the most committed to the competition. No different in sports sales, you have to be creative within the sales process, and you have to be committed to the “competition” that is selling. You compete with your peers and often times with your prospective clients, and those who get creative and who are committed to the craft of selling usually win on the sales board.
2. Overcome your fears – I’ll be honest, Halloween scared me. I still don’t really enjoy scary movies. The idea of being scared isn’t my favorite and on Halloween, it’s all about that. I remember as a kid there were some houses I didn’t want to approach when trick-or-treating. But thanks to my parents’ encouragement, I overcame that fear and approached the house. I realized after doing so that it wasn’t all that scary and I was rewarded with a “treat”. What I’ve also found in selling is that it can be scary, but if you’re able to overcome that fear and go for it, you’re often rewarded with a “sales treat” and you’ll find that in the end it’s not that scary and can actually be fun!
3. All about the hustle – Every year when trick-or-treating, it was always a race to see who could get the most candy. We always wanted to start early, and stay out late, and we knew that the more houses we could hit, the more candy we’d receive. Sound familiar? The same in sports sales, it’s a volume play, the more leads you get to, the more calls you make, the more pitches you get out, the more you typically sell. Oh, and starting early, staying late, and maximizing customer time helps too!
4. Don’t make assumptions – We all know, not all candy is created equally! When trick-or-treating, some houses gave out candy bars, peanut butter cups, or sometimes multiples of each! While others maybe gave good and plenty’s, smarties, or black licorice. You never knew though, until you got to the front door. Some houses were great, and some not as much. But the key, you can’t assume. Approach every door like you’re about to get a Snickers bar. Same with our sales leads, you may just see a name on a list, don’t assume. Or if someone doesn’t look like a premium prospect on an appointment, don’t assume. Still go for it, pitch big, ask for the business and you might get that sales “Snickers bar”.
5. Referrals are king – When trick-or-treating, it’s important to get to all the houses, volume is important. BUT, you’re also looking for the best quality candy too, and it’s a race against time. We’d always run into our friends out in the streets and share stories about the “best houses” which were those who had the best candy. We’d refer those to our friends and they would to us, and we’d be sure to make an extra pass by that house later in the night, or be sure we made it that way. Just like in sales, we’re limited in the time we have for outreach, so when time gets tight, invest your energy in the leads (houses) that yield the best returns and always ask for referrals!
6. Remembering and celebrating those before us – Not a direct comparison, but I thought it was worth mentioning in closing. Halloween (also known as All Hallows’ Eve), is a celebration on Oct. 31st, which is the eve of the feast of All Hallows’ Day which begins a three-day observance of Allhallowtide. This time is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints and those faithfully departed. What I took from that is, yes, it’s a chance to have fun and dress up and get candy but it’s also a time to celebrate the lives of others. In sales, we’ve all had people along the way (Bosses, peers, mentors, friends) that have made a big impact on us personally and professionally. It doesn’t have to be today but be sure to take note of those people and be sure to find time in your life to celebrate them and the influence they’ve had on you. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support and guidance.
Hopefully this is a new (and fun) way to look at our world of sports sales through a different lens. Best of luck to all of you selling in your markets, and to those of you trick-or-treating with your kids, or passing out candy with your families, have a Happy Halloween!
Bob Hamer is the President and Founder of Sports Business Solutions. The company provides sales training, consulting and recruiting services for sports teams and career services for industry job seekers. Prior to that he was the Vice President of Ticket Sales for the Phoenix Suns. The company mission is to help people succeed in sports business. To learn more about Sports Business Solutions visit www.sportsbusiness.solutions and follow along on social. T: https://twitter.com/SportsBizSol FB: https://www.facebook.com/sportsbusinesssolutions/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/SportsBizSol/