Premium sales, hospitality, sales, sports, basketball, NBA, Staples Center

3 keys to success in premium sales

by Brock Hendricks - Premium Sales Manager, AEG & the staples center
September 01, 2020

“The Premium Way” is how our Vice President, Manny Jacobo, describes our office. Quite frankly, it’s a taller task that requires a different approach. The difference between premium sales versus ticket sales may feel like a different universe sometimes, especially in the city of Los Angeles, home to 15 million people where no two humans are alike. So how do you connect to the masses with a premium product?

At STAPLES Center Premium, our team manages and sells our exclusive private suites and premier seating for all events at the STAPLES Center, including the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks, along with 70-100+ concerts, family shows and special events per-year. I believe in our variety and quality, but how do we make 15 million people resonate with those same values?

The past two years, our Clippers have executed a priceless advertising campaign entitled “L.A. Our Way” where the team showcased their vision of the city. The campaign explained the Clippers’ belief systems featuring taglines such as “Streetlights over Spotlights”, “The Right Way, over the Easy Way”, “Grit over Glamour”, “Drive over Given”. These themes are so perfect to articulate the spirit of premium sales and “The Premium Way”.

If you are disciplined and fundamental in your approach, you’ll be a fantastic resource to someone’s business.

We over Me- “Streetlights over Spotlights”

In Premium, when you do well, your whole does team does well. Creating urgency on an expensive, high-volume product with a large, multi-year commitment is extremely difficult. When the person next to you is busy selling, there is a tendency to fear missing out on your own (or next) prospect. For instance, on a game day earlier this season, I was showing a prospect a suite hoping to pitch to their business. To my surprise, inside that suite was my own teammate simultaneously pitching the same suite to a different client. Unfortunately for me, my teammate’s prospect put a bid on the suite before the game’s conclusion. Fortunately for me, there was suddenly a real sense of urgency on getting a deal done on a six-figure product, and my prospect believed me the next time I said, “We don’t want to wait on getting a deal done”. (Editor's note: we each closed our prospects from that night).

It’s in our nature as salespeople to believe that someone else making a sale is bad for YOUR personal success - this is the biggest misconception of all. We can all make it, and spotlights are overrated. The less we have to sell as a team, the easier it is for us all to sell. It provides validity, urgency and trust.

This is a business tool, stick to the fundamentals- “The Right Way, over the Easy Way”

It would be extremely easy for our sales team to open every meeting with “The Lakers and Clippers are the two best teams in the NBA’s Western Conference at the moment”. But here’s the problem: in a city with thousands of places to spend your time and money, there’s no fool-proof pitch to justify your meeting.

Your prospect might not care about LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard. What they do care about is how your service will affect their business. “We have Kawhi Leonard, he’s really good” means nothing to a business. “Your 15-person client-facing sales team can each use 3 Clippers games per-year to take care of your biggest spenders, which I guarantee you add up to a lot more than a suite costs” is a compelling argument of how you add value to their bottom line.

A C-level executive cares about money. How does your premium product help them retain their top employees, sell more, or keep their current slate of business? Speak in quantitative values first, and then describe to them the qualitative values. If you are disciplined and fundamental in your approach, you’ll be a fantastic resource to someone’s business. And at the end of the day, that is all “The Premium Way” is all about.

Embrace the grind- “Grit over Glamour”

Do you enjoy the daily grind? Does the word “no” not bother you? Can you get yourself up every morning and earn a role in a world that owes you nothing?

If you’re looking for a job to coast through, you’re in the wrong field. Grit comes first, glamour comes later… and sometimes not at all.

Premium sales is a job for the elite, the best of the group. For those that have the drive in their eyes and a fire burning in their soul, selling premium is a fantastic way to earn a living. If you excel through the day-to-day grind of a challenging sale, this role will benefit you tremendously. You can’t be scared of hard work. The day-in and day-out of pounding and relentless activity during these selfless hours will eventually pay off, and pay off big, when it’s all done.

You can learn more about life working in the Premium departments of sports by listening to “Hot Coffee, Cold Beer”, a sports-themed career-growth podcast hosted by Brock with new episodes every Monday. Available wherever you find your podcasts!

Brock Hendricks is a Premium Sales Manager for the STAPLES Center, negotiating the premium leases in a joint venture for the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks. Going on his 4th season with AEG, Brock previously spent time with the Salt Lake Bees of Minor League Baseball, the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations. He is a proud Southern Utah University alumnus with an industry-themed podcast called “Hot Coffee, Cold Beer” aimed to help career growth and profile employees of the sports industry. Outside of sports, Brock is an active LGBTQIA+, social equality and mental health ally, an Eagle Scout and a volunteer student mentor to 5+ universities across the United States. He's also a mentor in theClubhouse and you can set up a call with him here.