How to Get Into Sponsorship Sales

How to Get Into Sponsorship Sales
S3 Club Winners
S3 Club Winners: Lauren Bacon, Turquoise Early, Colten Renner
by Brooks Byers – October 2014

The Dallas Mavericks’ George Killebrew, the San Antonio Spurs’ Jeanne Garza and Baylor IMG’s Brian George shared advice and experiences in the sponsorship field at the Baylor S3 Club meeting on October 8th. Courtesy of Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports 1, we also provided some lucky Baylor S3 club members with court side seats at the Dallas Mavericks preseason game against the Pacers.

Why should students pursue a career in sports?

All three panelists spoke about the “diversity” of opportunities that selling sponsorships affords people. Sponsorship sales takes people outside the office, learning the inner workings of a range of businesses from “mom and pop stores to traditional giants” as Brian George put it. George Killebrew said it was great for people who enjoy “learning something new” every day.

On the other hand, the group warned of the long days that come with the job. Jeanne Garza said it’s important to remember that “it’s not what you see on ESPN.” Killebrew reminded everyone that “other jobs are more of a nine to five, Monday to Friday deal, and sports can always be a hobby. But, when the team schedule comes out for the year, it pretty much plans my life for the next few months.”

Getting into corporate partnerships

Brian George
Brian George

Killebrew’s advice for those interested in selling sponsorships was to gain experience in “multi-dimensional sales” like in the media field, where packaging groups of inventory for clients is more complex than selling individual products. Jeanne Garza suggested selling air at radio stations, since it’s more promotion-driven than TV, hence more like selling sponsorships for properties. Brian George underscored the need to be able to think outside the box. “We sell ideas, concepts and beliefs. Clients must know you have their best interests at heart.”

Women in sports

Jeanne Garza believes that opportunities for women in the field have grown significantly. She cautioned that women still have to be particularly careful in how they present themselves and in separating their professional and personal lives.

killebrew new
George Killebrew

George Killebrew believes the talent pool today is much larger, and that the leadership teams he’s seen that included women were much more effective.

Career advice for students

Killebrew said that those wishing to enter the field need to be comfortable “introducing themselves and telling people what they want to do.”

He also said that a good resume is simply a “blueprint for telling your story, and a guide for our discussion” in the interview process.

Jeanne Garza made a case for cover letters because they’re a great way to show why you’re unique and a great fit for a position. She also added that any errors in the resume or cover letter are reason enough to not consider a candidate.

Jeanne Garza
Jeanne Garza

Brian George emphasized the importance of building relationships, especially in a small industry like sponsorship sales. Even if you just meet someone new and go to dinner with no immediate job prospects, you should still write a hand-written thank you note.


Cover photo source: Courtside Jones

 

4 Keys to Social Selling

4 Keys to Social Selling
by Tim Salier – October 2014

Social selling has become increasingly prevalent in the professional sports sales environment.  For years, the concept of social media in the workplace has been associated with fears of misuse, poor time management and potential disclosure of proprietary information.  However, recent trends have shown that, when used appropriately, social media can be developed into a very effective sales tool.

In discussing the concept of social selling with several members of the Spurs Sports & Entertainment sales staff, four primary steps were identified in developing an effective social selling strategy:

  • Develop your brand/presence on social networks such as LinkedIn
  • Target the “right” prospects
  • Engage with identified prospects
  • Build trust and qualify the prospects

Develop your brand

Allen Schlesinger
Allen Schlesinger

According to Allen Schlesinger, Premium Sales Manager for the Austin Spurs, developing an appropriate personal brand on social networks such as LinkedIn is critical. An appropriate personal profile on LinkedIn should be completed with updated personal information, professional affiliations, an accurate description of your role with the franchise and, most importantly, a professional profile picture.

Target the “right” prospects

Julian Dais
Julian Dais

Both Allen and San Antonio Spurs Premium Account Executive, Julian Dais, agreed that having a strategy to target the “right” prospects is the key to being successful with social media tools such as LinkedIn. The “right” prospect has a unique combination of (1) decision making authority, (2) some sort of connectivity or interest to basketball designated on their profile and, preferably, (3) a shared connection to help with an introduction. Both shared similar thoughts that there isn’t a “perfect” prospect, but there are multiple factors to look for in searching for the people they would like to prospect.

Engage identified prospects

After identifying the appropriate prospects, the next step in effective social selling is engaging those prospects in a way that invites further discussion. Julian and Allen commented that the initial message should include a brief introduction, a reason for reaching out to them and an invitation for further discussion, usually face to face but by phone if necessary. The initial message should be no longer than a paragraph and emphasize the invitation to meet in person for further discussion.

Build trust (and qualify)

The last step in the process is building trust and further qualifying the new prospect to insure an effective face to face meeting. The trust building and qualifying process is usually very similar to a traditional sales call. Use general fact finding questions about past interactions with the team and/or a casual e-mail conversation about mutual personal or professional contacts. After some brief two way discussion and confirmation that the prospect is qualified, a mutually agreed upon meeting location is established and the social selling process commences.

Social = Sales

Over the last couple of seasons, both Allen and Julian have emerged as two of the more effective social sellers within Spurs Sports & Entertainment as well as their respective leagues and sales categories. In fact, Allen is widely recognized at NBA League meetings for his best practice usage of LinkedIn as a sales tool. Averaging approximately ten LinkedIn generated face to face meetings each week, Allen currently ranks as the #1 New FSE revenue producer in the NBA D-League and attributes 90%+ of his new revenue generation to social selling.


Cover photo source: Mark Smiciklas

 

The surprisingly simple little secret to landing a leadership position

The surprisingly simple little secret to landing a leadership position
by Kirk Madsen – October 2014

What is leadership?

For everything written about leadership and management (an Amazon.com search yields over 1 million books on the topic!), we sure seem to have a lot of questions about what it is and how to do it. One of the questions people in leadership positions get asked all the time is, “How did you get to where you are now?”

Whatever their answer is, it will probably include a surprisingly simple little secret.

Ready? There is no secret.

There really isn’t much of a mystery. Leaders follow simple, repeatable processes anyone can start immediately!

But, before we talk about these processes, let’s first establish two key ground rules:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”400px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Ground rule #1: Consistency is king.

Ground rule #2: A positive attitude is non-negotiable.[/dropshadowbox]

These two ground rules are the cornerstones or the foundation for all you do. Over the long haul, building success without these cornerstones is impossible. From there, focus on a few key concepts:

Concept #1: Do more, now.

Leaders work harder and generate results more consistently than their peers.

Dionna Widder
Dionna Widder

Dionna Widder, the Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sums this point up perfectly: “You do not need a title to be a leader. Set yourself apart with your work ethic and results.” Everyone is capable of having a great week, or even a great month. Leaders have great quarters and great years. Sure, they have their off-days. So did Michael Jordan; his were just better than everyone else’s.

Concept #2: Lead, now.

Take on a leadership role with your current team.

Joe Schiavi
Joe Schiavi

Joe Schiavi, the Director of Inside Sales with the Detroit Pistons, offers some practical advice to practice leadership now: “Teach less experienced reps and give time out of your day to make sure that your teammates have the best possible opportunity for success.  Your manager will notice your extra efforts. Your teammates will respect you because you took the time out of your day to help them when they needed assistance.”

Concept #3: Be a student.

Every day.

Consider how much more capable you are of passing a test when you’ve taken the time to study. Widder recommends, “Schedule a meeting with your manager or other leaders in the industry to learn.  Seek out resources and dedicate time to be a student.” Books, articles, TED talks, conversations with others – there are countless resources available. Use one of them every day!

Concept #4: Pick your peers.

Immediately find mentors and surround yourself with successful people.

Do you know what I love most about being a leader? Finding others who want to succeed, and empowering them to do it. On a peer-to-peer level, spend your time and energy with people who exhibit the positive personal and professional traits you see (or want to see) in yourself. On an executive level, ask the people you admire to mentor you. The benefits of surrounding yourself with successful people will be real and immediate. “Ask and welcome feedback from your leaders, peers, and friends and develop plans to improve areas that need improving,” Widder says. “Feedback can be both positive and constructive; both are valuable to your growth.”

By applying these concepts, you’ll have a greater impact on your organization. The greater the impact, the greater your chances of breaking into leadership positions.


Cover photo courtesy of MarcMo.

 

How to successfully transition from sales to management

How to successfully transition from sales to management
by Andre Luck – October 2014

Early in my sales career I knew I wanted to make an impact in young people’s lives, and I felt the best platform for me to do so was as a ticket sales manager. The transition from a successful salesperson to a successful sales manager is an exciting yet challenging transition. Fortunately I had great leaders and mentors that prepared me for this step. I wrote this article for salespeople that aspire to one day take the step to sales management. I’ve provided a few tips that helped me along the way.

Management vs. Sales

We hear that the best athletes do not always make the best coaches. The same principle exists in sales. Yet, organizations continue to take top salespeople and rush them into management even if they are not fit to lead. Make sure you step into a management position for the right reasons. There is nothing wrong with being a lifelong salesperson. There are great opportunities to make a lot of money in premium and corporate sales. Very successful salespeople will actually take a pay cut when stepping into their first management opportunity. I have friends in the industry that tell me they enjoy only having to manage themselves day to day opposed to an entire department.

Good Bucket/Bad Bucket

Jason Howard
Jason Howard

Jason Howard, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Marketing for the Houston Astros, gave me great advice early in my sales career. You will see bosses do a lot of things you agree with and not agree with. As you observe different management styles and actions, put these items into a good bucket and a bad bucket. The good bucket would consist of the things I liked and wanted to make sure I did when I became a manager and the bad bucket would be the opposite. To make sure I did not forget what was going into each bucket I started keeping a journal as new ideas would come to me.

What’s Your Game Plan?

How will you recruit the best talent for your team? What do you want your team to look like? What are your methods to keep your staff motivated? What are your non-negotiables? These questions along with a list of many others are questions you should be thinking about now. Start preparing your business plan now and get feedback from those you respect in the industry. The first time you think through your plan should not be when you are asked to put together a 30-60-90 day business plan as part of your interview.

Hire Tough

The most important thing you can do as a leader is hiring the right people or what the book Good To Great calls “getting the right people on the bus.” Know exactly what it is you’re looking for and never settle on a candidate. During an interview is the very best you will ever see a candidate; they will not all of a sudden be better once they are hired. If there are any doubts on a candidate it is better to pass, as you may regret it down the road if you lower your standards.

 What, How, and Why

P.J. Keene
P.J. Keene

As a manager it is important to set clear expectations for your team of WHAT you expect them to do, train and coach them on HOW to best do it, and clearly explain WHY you want them to do it. Senior Director of Group & Inside Sales for the Houston Astros, PJ Keene, says,

“Be prepared. The best salespeople want to know why you make the decisions you make. Since they value their own career development, understanding your decision making process is important to them. In order to help progress their careers, think through ahead of time what is really most important to you and be able to explain why you made a decision or why you think a particular direction is the best way to go. Be prepared to answer those questions before your best salespeople ask them.”

When your team knows what is expected, how to do it and why they are doing it they are more motivated and you will see greater results.

Patience is Key

Ralph Waldo Emerson has a great quote: “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.”

Be patient and don’t lose sight of the task at hand. As a salesperson, your number one priority is to generate revenue. Developing leadership skills should come secondary. Don’t jump at the first opportunity. Make sure the values of who you work for align with your values. The bosses you work for and your personal and professional development should be more important than your title, compensation, and the organization. If you are a great leader the right opportunity will present itself. The money will follow. It is okay to be more than prepared for your next step.

 

How to get a job in sports

How to get a job in sports
by Kirk Wakefield – October 2014

How do I get into sports?

How do you get into sports? Once you get in, how do you succeed in sports? The short answer is: Demonstrate a strong work ethic, network and build relationships within sports, and exhibit integrity in all you do.

The somewhat longer answer is to read everything on this page. This is the one-stop shop for any and everything you ever wanted to know about sports careers. Enjoy.

Getting the interview in sports

Everything you ever needed to know about getting the interview, how to shine in an interview, and what not to do in an interview. Written by an HR expert, Jeannette Salas, Houston Texans.

Getting ready for careers in sports

Which comes first: Happiness or success?

  • Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage

Six differences between working in college vs. pro sports (and why they may change)

  • Rocky Harris, Arizona State University

How much will I earn working in sports?

  • The S3 Report

So you want a career in sports? Here are a few tips…

  •  Shawn McGee, Homestead Miami Speedway

3 Questions you must answer if you want to work in sponsorships

  • Matt Brand, Houston Astros

10 Things newbies need to know about the sports CRM world

  • Chris Zeppenfeld, Charlotte Hornets

How to get ahead in sports

How to get promoted in sports sales careers

  • Rob Zuer, Houston Rockets

Are you coachable?

  • Jason Fortune, Texas Rangers

Are you the best around?

  • Jeff Eldersveld, Columbus Blue Jackets

How’s your sense of sell? Defining your personal brand

  • Brian George, Baylor IMG College

New kid on the sponsorship block

  • Clark McCormick, Dallas Mavericks

How to expand your skill set to advance your career

  • Bill Glenn, The Breakout Group

Practice? We talkin’ about practice?

  • Bob Hamer, Phoenix Suns

How to recognize & avoid sales burnout

  • Kris Katseanes, FC Dallas

Top 10 ways to inspire others (and succeed in the business of sports)

  • Frank Miceli, San Antonio Spurs

 


Cover photo, Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte

 

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