Why selling in the "minor leagues" isn't so minor league..
by Andrew Rubinstein - Director of Group Sales, Lehigh Valley Phantoms | January 22, 2019
We're not so minor league..
State of the art arenas, million dollar payrolls, and the opportunity to compete at the highest level – this is what professional athletes work towards relentlessly each day, and what many of us as sales professionals strive towards as well. In college, many students, including myself at the time, had the mindset that starting your career at one of the top professional levels is the only way to go. What many do not realize is that there are multiple reasons why the minor league level can still be just as fruitful both personally and professionally.
Sales is Sales
I have been fortunate enough to sell both at the major and minor league level, and one of the biggest takeaways has always been that no matter what league or sport, your part of the process is going to be the same. The same skills that are going to help you close a multi-game suite rental for a Major League Baseball team is the same one that is going to help you close that large local company in any minor league city. I went from the minors to the majors, back to the minors, and in four different cities – the road to success meant trusting the process along the way.
When you look at a college quarterback, you hear a lot of talk about their style transitioning to the pro level. Were they successful simply because of the unique system they were a part of? Will what made them successful in college make them successful in the pros? One of the great things about most minor league teams today is that they provide similar structures to that of the pros. You can expect to have some type of service and retention team, group sales team, and new business team – each who is also responsible for some level of cross-selling. Structures vary from team to team, but regardless of what level you are, you can transition between the two seamlessly and the sales and service approach is very similar.
Growth and Development
Arguably the best part of the sports industry is the tight-knit community that we're all a part of. There are some great minds in this industry at both the pro and minor league level. Do not think that just because you may not be with a pro team, that you will not have access to some of the best and the brightest. I have been able to learn just as much from colleagues at the pro level as I have from my colleagues at the minor league level, and the lessons and knowledge helped me to see success at both levels.
Everyone is going to have a different story, different experiences, and a different view that they can share. I have never reached out to someone to learn about their career, or to seek advice, and have not received a response. Vice versa, as students and colleagues reach out, I am always open to sharing my experiences in this amazing industry. I am a big believer in creating your own luck, and as long as you continue to work hard, and stay true to yourself, you will find continued happiness and success. So, as you look to start your career, or are looking to grow, know that you can find just as much fulfillment no matter what level you find yourself in.
Andrew Rubinstein is the Director of Group Sales at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms overseeing all of their group sales initiatives. Prior to that he spent time with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Gulls, and the Tucson Roadrunners. He's a great resource to both current and aspiring sport sales professionals and is always open to networking and helping when he can!