Growing up in New York just outside of the city has taught me all the ins and outs of being a New Yorker. The hustle and bustle, the passion, the boldness. These are all qualities that have been instilled in me and therefore into my sales process over the past few years. I’ve learned from some of the best leaders in the business during my time with the New York Mets, Legends, and now Elevate Sports Ventures with the New York Guardians of the XFL. Selling in a market with so much to do and so much to see, and where everyone seems to have so little time, provides both challenges and advantages when selling.
When selling any product, you must stand out and separate yourself to show why you’d be the best fit for a company or a consumer. This applies even more in such a competitive market where you’re up against so many options. I’ve been selling in New York since 2016 and have been constantly challenged with “everything else” there is to do in and around the big city. The Yankees. The Jets. The Giants. The Mets. The Rangers. The Islanders. The Devils. The Knicks. The Nets. Broadway. The list goes on. Below are a few ways I’ve had success standing out and winning business:
1. Take time to learn about the client - Customers buy for their reasons, certainly not ours. Take a personal interest in the conversation with them and create as much dialogue as possible. Figure out exactly what they want or need and tell them exactly how your product can help them.
2. Never talk down on competitors - This can come across as very salesy. Focusing more on what you can provide rather than what others can or can’t provide, will give the customer a more positive outlook and focus on the product. Plus, you never know if they’re a fan of or have done business with one of the other venues in the area, so you’d hate to talk down on them if the customer has a personal connection to it.
3. Go the extra mile - Handwritten notes, office visits, giveaways. Handwritten notes show the extra effort and care that the client will receive by doing business with you. It builds trust. I’ve done many handwritten notes, mixed in with any extra swag I had laying around. Office visits help, and once I even delivered breakfast to an office when I was working to close a large deal.
4. Grow your network - It’s a numbers game and a relationship building game. Tap into current clients’ networks through referrals. Join networking groups or events. I’ve been a part of a BNI networking group that meets every Wednesday morning from 6:45am-9:15am, in addition to one-on-one meetings outside of the group meeting. Familiarity and comfort helped close some business in the group, while also opening doors into other members’ personal networks.
5. Have fun - Being in sports is supposed to be fun. We’re selling a product that helps businesses and creates great experiences. Treat it that way and keep a smile on whether you close a deal or not. In most, if not all competitive markets, there are plenty of opportunities for business. What I’ve noticed in New York is that people are SO passionate. This is a good thing. Find that passion inside them and show how you can help them experience that in your venue.
I’ve learned to incorporate those five things into my selling process here in New York. It’s not all stuff I’ve done since day one. It takes patience, belief in yourself and your leaders, belief in what you’re selling, and daily accountability. Remember – a no is better than a maybe and no doesn’t mean no forever!
Ryan Mavaro is a Ticket Sales & Experience Manager in the XFL, working for the New York Guardians. He graduated from UMASS Amherst in 2015 and has spent the last 4 years working in sales departments in NY. He started as an Intern and then grew into an Account Executive with the Mets before transitioning to a Premium Sales Executive at Legends at their One World Observatory property. He's been in the XFL now for 3 months and is working alongside his team to fill the building for the emerging sports league. He's a mentor in theClubhouse and you can reach out and schedule a call with Ryan here.