How to get promoted in sports sales careers

by Rob Zuer – April 2013

What is success?

“True success comes to an individual by self satisfaction in knowing that you gave everything to become the very best you are capable of.” John Wooden

Wooden’s definition of success is the simple answer to the question every single person asks in a first job in sports and the key to happiness in life.

We don’t want or need the best salesperson. We want people striving every day to get better; people who feel deep satisfaction from more than revenue or commissions.

Positive Attitude

You will always have those around who can’t succeed or hate what they do.  Do not:

  • whine,
  • gossip,
  • talk negatively,
  • complain, or
  • get sucked into the herd.

They will drag you down. Do not associate with them.  Negativity spreads like a plague.  Keep a positive attitude about yourself and, more importantly, your organization.


Kelly Cheeseman
Kelly Cheeseman

How you work with others directly affects the perception of you as a future leader.

“The theme of this industry is teamwork. You need it on and off the field, court or ice. To be successful in all cases you need to have a great game plan, be a team player, and work hard to achieve the plan or goal,” emphasizes Kelly Cheeseman, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Worldwide.

P.J. Keene
P.J. Keene

P.J. Keene, Director of Group Sales for the Houston Astros, reminds us, “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”  To have influence, P.J. explains, “We must lead by example, focus on more than just your numbers, and care about our team.” 

In helping others get better to achieve the team’s overall goals, you brand yourself as a potential leader with a bright future.  Being number one on the board is not the only thing that gets you promoted.

 Five Ways to Improve

Positive attitude and teamwork are fundamental to success in the business of sports. How can we make ourselves better? 

  1. Find a Mentor

Seek out and learn from those individuals who have been there and done that.  If you want to be a quarterback in the NFL, you watch Manning, Brady, or Montana.  You copy throwing motion & mechanics and learn all they did to get to where you want to be.  This is no different in the sportsbiz careers.  Find the stars of the industry and learn from them. 

  1. There Is Nobody To Blame But Yourself

Successful people take responsibility for everything that happens to them and by them.  Take responsibility for your actions. Do not blame others or the situation.  No one will feel sorry for you or listen to excuses about how life is unfair. 

  1. School Is Not Over

Never stop learning.  Read books on any topic that makes you better.  Invest time in things that will help you succeed.  And dare I say it? Turn off the TV & video games. Why waste so much time in areas unrelated to your goals? 

  1. Screw Up!

Failure is the best teacher.  Take risks. Make mistakes.  The story goes that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb.  When asked about this, he is quoted as saying, “I did not fail. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

  1. Set Goals

Have your goals in front of you.  Place them on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, front door, back door, closet, anywhere you can see them.  Make them an obsession.  Do not give up on them.

Will the job be difficult?

Sure. Don’t give up or get discouraged. The results and money will come. Love the journey to the destination.

Where will your journey take you?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
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