Meaningful Careers Begin With Meaningful Relationships
We need meaningful relationships. Young employees thrive or dive on the strength of positive relationships in the workplace. Such important relationships should start well before college students graduate.
We spend the bulk of adult life with people at work (see chart). According to research, the top three reasons people leave jobs are relationship driven:
Supervisor: People leave managers not companies.
Co-workers: Appreciation, recognition and respect from peers make or break us.
Culture: How we personally fit with the values of those we work for and with points us to open doors or out the door.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get a head start on knowing the nature and culture of these people before launching a career?
When is turnover too high?
The most productive recruitment strategy would seek more, not less, information on candidates. Too often recruiters make decisions based on a resume, references or referrals, and a few hours in an interview. The average turnover rate in sales is 25%. Many believe if the employee churn rate is higher than 10% the problem is the manager not the employees. None of us want to be that person.
As professionals, now is the time to invest in the lives of young people while they are still in school. They need your experience, guidance and counsel to understand and discern the best fit to start careers. Your organization gets the best read on recruits by getting to know them 12-24 months in advance of hiring decisions. You–and they–will make better, more informed decisions. Internships provide the needed edge to make good decisions and the opportunity to give back like others have done for us.
Commit this to be your best year yet in relationships and recruitment.
In 2003, the Baylor Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program began the day we walked into the San Antonio Spurs offices and asked Russ Bookbinder, “If we did this, would you help?”
Darryl Lehnus and I then set out to every other team in Texas asking the same question, getting feedback, making adjustments and gaining support to launch the program in 2004 with the first graduating class in 2006. Students will get a kick out of watching the original S3 promo video. The keys, then and now, to make academic and professional partnerships work are simple:
Steps to Build Partnerships
Identify the unique need.
What is your biggest need?
How is this need addressed now?
Ask for commitment.
If we, will you?
Ask for referrals.
Who else might be interested?
How can we improve?
We keep asking these questions to maintain position and relevance. In the beginning, and in adding the CRM & Analytics track (2011) to the major, we did not accept more students than industry commitments to help with placement.
Today, with over 210 S3 Alumni, many reaching management and executive levels, our vision is the same: to instill integrity in the business of sports & entertainment. Integrity starts with delivering on what we promise to students and employers. And listening. And learning. A lot.
Listen. Learn. Launch.
Board members began asking for more recruits. Board members moved to new teams, which usually means adding another team to the board. We saw the opportunity to grow, but at the same time maintain Baylor’s goal to keep classes under 20 students. So, in the past three years, the number of qualified students admitted to the S3 major doubled from the original 19 to 38 as we increased the number of sections for each class. We launch a new Sports Sales Management course Spring 2017, with board member Bill Glenn, leading the class. More changes are in the works for the CRM & Analytics graduate program, as we launch a global partnership in the United Kingdom.
For the first 12 years (2004-2016), recruitment was combined with the S3 Board Meeting. The S3 Pro Day was launched based on feedback from board members Alan Aldwell (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Rob Erwin (Dallas Mavericks), among others. After asking others for input, with the support of Patrick Ryan & Eventellect, we launched the first ever S3 event dedicated entirely to recruitment. We moved the S3 Board Meeting to a different date (January 17-18, click herefor more information), focused on best practices and developing mentor relationships for career-long impact. We will keep listening and learning.
In the process, we also developed an interview scorecard to help both students and recruiters focus on the values and skills important to us. Feel free to edit and adjust for your own use in developing or recruiting talent. Click here to review and download.
Eventellect S3 Pro Day in Pictures
Thanks to the recruiters from the teams, companies, and leagues that participated in the Eventellect S3 Pro Day!
In a scene from the movie Ocean’s Eleven, Rusty (Brad Pitt) is teaching Hollywood actors how to play poker. During his lesson on “how to draw out the bluff,” he asks a player what the first lesson of poker is. The answer: “Leave emotion at the door!”
Does that lesson sound familiar?
One of the greatest mistakes a sports organization can make is pricing from a sense of pride–Charging what we want or need instead of setting our prices based on fan and market intelligence.
Considering these four key questions will help make good pricing decisions.
Are we pricing to move inventory or leverage revenue?
Ticket pricing isn’t only about numbers. It’s a strategic puzzle. The answer to this question provides you strategic direction and synergy for the season, games, packages, sections and seats. Pricing synergy maximizes value, retention and new sales.
What does the fan & market intelligence tell us?
Decisions based on your intuition and experience alone is basing your plans more on the past than present circumstances. Include in your decision making:
sales reports & forecasts
current industry trends
social media conversations (consider scraping and social listening software)
gatekeeper feedback (ticket office, ticket sales, development staffs)
direct conversations with fans
What is the unique value of each game?
Whether you’re using advance pricing software or a traditional method of pen and paper, recognize each game has unique value. Variable pricing (different price levels for differently valued games) and dynamic pricing maximizes value, revenue and sales. Analyzing what makes each game different from the others helps you set realistic price and attendance targets and also identify segments and groups to target.
What is our inventory analysis telling us?
Using past data and forecasts, ask these 7 inventory questions to maximize revenue for each game.
Which sections do we need to sell each game?
How many seats do we need to sell each game?
Which groups are we targeting for each game?
Which promotions are we scheduling for each game?
What is our plan for distressed inventory should advance sales fall short?
How do game day variables (time, date, opponent, fan experience, etc.) affect each game?
Did we objectively project sales for each group or promotion?
Have these conversations a year in advance to capitalize on year-round sales opportunities and for a runway that is long enough for your external relations team to realize success!
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Note: In this re-release (first posted April 1, 2013), we congratulate Colin Faulkner, and the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs, for catching up to brother Chris Faulkner, whose Denver Broncos won the 2016 Super Bowl.
S3 Board Member Spotlight
Brothers. Friends. Sports.
These three words bind Chris and Colin Faulkner together as one of the few sets of brothers in the business of sports.
Colin is the Vice President of Sales & Partnerships with the Chicago Cubs. Chris is Manager of Club Seat Sales and Service with the Denver Broncos. Each took different routes getting into their careers.
Colin’s experience with Baylor’s call center and the Waco Wizards (surprise: a defunct hockey team) reinforced his desire to enter sports after graduating from Baylor (1998).
Part of Colin’s motivation today stems from his early days searching for an entry level position. The S3 program’s own, Dr. Darryl Lehnus, then Associate Athletic Director over sales & marketing, spurned Colin for an internship while Colin was working towards his undergraduate degree. Then following scores of applications, Colin’s resume eventually landed in the hands of Shawn McGee of the old Dallas Burn where Colin received his only offer. What happened to all those rejection letters? Fifteen years later they still have their own special place in Colin’s desk.
Colin went on to prove himself as an account executive with the then combined Texas Rangers/Dallas Stars group before moving to roles with the Stars as the Director of Ticket Sales (2002),Vice President of Ticket Sales (2004), Sr. Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service (2007), and Sr. VP of Marketing (2009). Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Colin was selected as the Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service with the Chicago Cubs (2010) before his recent promotion this spring to include corporate partnerships.
Operations, IT or Sales?
Chris started out with idea of working in operations or IT for a professional team after graduating from Baylor (2001). In his search, Chris quickly learned the lifeblood of an organization was in sales – and the best entry point. After beginning with the Colorado Rockies, Chris moved into a senior account executive position with the Texas Rangers (2003) before promotions to Group Sales manager (2005) and then Director of Ticket Sales (2007). Following, Chris moved west as the Director of Ticket Sales for the Colorado Crush (2008) before moving across town to sell premium seats for the Broncos (2009) to ultimately assume his current position as Manager of the department (2010).
Work ethic = Success
The brothers share beliefs about what leads to success. Working for good managers helps paves the way. They believe in working hard, having a good attitude and working smart. As Chris points out, sales is purely an effort-based position, “Put in the work and put in the hours.”
Mentors play a role in the success of anyone who moves up the ranks. Geoff Moore, Colin’s mentor, is quick to share his thoughts on Colin’s work ethic and attitude:
“Colin has true character. He is competitive, intelligent and curious. But, his most important quality is his optimism. He believes his hard work will make a difference. This combination of talent and work effort make him a great employee and leader.
Chris is a true professional at every level. From my many years working alongside Chris at the Texas Rangers, to his current role running Premium Sales at the Denver Broncos, Chris not only has my utmost respect but admiration as a true sales professional. I consider Chris a master of his craft and even more importantly a trusted friend and confidant.
Having a Brother in Sports
Chris and Colin get along, well, just like brothers. They benefit from each other’s experiences, frequently texting each other to share updates, bounce ideas off the other, and share in each other’s successes. Although Chris feels some pressure to keep up with his older brother, they don’t feel like they compete with each other since both have done well in their careers. Colin said that if he had the option to hire Chris to work for him, he probably wouldn’t because Chris is in such a good situation right now.
Two well-known brothers in sports are the Leiweke brothers, Tim and Tod, and the Yormark brothers, Brett and Michael. Give the Faulkner brothers a few years. When you see them on the front of Forbes magazine, remember you saw them featured first on the S3 Report!