Here we are six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and our industry has been thrown for a massive loop. When the pandemic first hit there was a lot of “wait and see” as sales and service teams shifted their focus to keeping revenue on the books vs. generating new revenue. We knew from the beginning that our processes were going to have to change, but I don’t think any of us were expecting to still be here months later with still so much unknown.
I’ve had to sell and generate revenue through lockout seasons and “worst record in franchise history” seasons. I didn’t allow myself to use either situation as an excuse not to generate revenue, and as we navigate this pandemic, we cannot use it as an excuse now. So, I thought about the ways that have helped me sell through tough situations in the past and which ones we can now apply to selling through COVID.
You probably spent the first few months of the pandemic trying to keep your most loyal season ticket members and partial plan holders committed and engaged with the team. But if your situation was anything like ours, we had seats open up – great locations, that haven’t been available in 15+ seasons. This was the perfect opportunity to reach out to our current members and partial plan holders and offer these incredible locations as a service and benefit to them. Or perhaps the seat next to them finally becomes available, what a great chance to ask for that referral! You’ve spent so much energy and effort fostering relationships with your most loyal members, now is the time to lean into the group of people that is already engaged with your team and loves your product!
The sellers that see these hurdles as opportunities rather than roadblocks are going to be the ones best positioned to succeed once this all turns back to “normal”.
Similar to an upgrade campaign, if you can sell multiple properties, now is a perfect time to reach out and ask thoughtful discovery questions to get to know your members better. You might uncover that they may be a fit for one of your other products or properties. If you only work for one property, take the time to reach out to your group leaders to have a conversation with them, maybe their family is a perfect fit for next season’s flex plan. Not only is this providing a great service to them, but you can also find some hidden revenue opportunities!
It may seem like a scary time to attempt making new connections with prospects, who may not be as familiar with your products, or perhaps it just doesn’t seem like a great time to be asking people for money with so much still unknown. However, by flipping those into positives, you will likely weed through a lot of those “maybes” that linger in your pipeline, a lot quicker. Prospects have been more willing to give a firm “no” during this time, giving sellers even more opportunity to hunt down that next YES! You just must be willing and committed to putting yourself out there.
The truth is there is no silver bullet for selling and the pandemic has confronted us with hurdles we could have never seen coming. But the sellers that see the hurdles as opportunities rather than roadblocks are going to be the ones best positioned to succeed once this all takes a turn back to “normal”.
Good luck to all of you out there!
Jen Fusci is the Director of Ticket Sales and Service with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and NLL’s New England Black Wolves overseeing all aspects of ticketing. Jen is a proud UConn alumna graduating with a statistics degree in 2010. After interning with the Connecticut Sun for two summers, she moved to Phoenix to work for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury where she spent 3.5 years. She also led the WNBA in new full season ticket revenue during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After leaving Phoenix in 2014 she spent a short time back East working for Madison Square Garden during the sales campaign to bring the Liberty back to the World’s Most Famous Arena. Prior to coming back to the CT Sun and Black Wolves, Jen spent 2.5 years in Houston overseeing the NWSL’s Houston Dash sales & service operations as the Manager of Ticket Sales & Service. Jen is also a proud mentor in theClubhouse and if you'd like to speak to Jen directly you can schedule a call with her here.