Ticket sales, COVID-19, sales management, sales training, sales coaching, sport sales

Selling during COVID-19: "Stay in the ring"

by Sam barlow - Manager, Inside sales at monumental sports & entertainment
August 11, 2020

“Stay in the ring.” If you’re reading this as an Inside Sales rep at Monumental Sports, you’re probably sick of hearing this phrase. I use it all the time. But I think this phrase applies now more than ever. It applies within the sales process, in all jobs and in life right now.

If you’re someone that is fortunate enough to still be selling during this pandemic, “stay in the ring” applies to you too. It’s no secret that we are selling in the most challenging sales climate, arguably ever…but that doesn’t mean we have to stop trying. Here are some tips that can help you sell through this pandemic.

Take an empathetic approach

Something our team has worked really hard on during this work from home period is taking an empathetic approach when calling our prospects and clients. As always, we’re focusing on the personal relationships first (I/My’s, etc.), but now more than ever, it’s really important to establish and maintain that relationship. People buy from people they like, know and trust. But, given the world we’re in right now with so much uncertainty, it can be really challenging for us to continue to progress the sales conversation. It’s really easy for our prospects to tell us to “call them when we have more information” and it is equally as easy for us to do so. This is where I challenge everyone to stay in the ring.

Look for value in every conversation

Celebrate the little victories. Did you find out what their favorite memory at a game was? Great! Did you find a commonality with your prospect? Awesome! Did you set a definitive next step even if it’s just a follow up call? Well done! Be proud of the small victories just as you would be proud of a sale in “normal” times.

Narrow the options and prepare your pipeline

Our team has been working on really trying to narrow down options as much as possible even with so much uncertainty regarding next season. They do this by continuing to ask questions such as “When we get back to playing games with fans, what would your ideal experience look like?” or, “When you are coming to games, what is most important to you?” This gives our reps an idea of what the prospect would be interested in, and we can narrow in on a product that would make sense for them. Rather than waiting to “call them back when we have more information”, we’re now able to call them to maintain the relationship, but also call them back about something specific rather than re-starting the entire sales process over.

The result will always turn out better with a positive attitude.

If you are someone that has recently lost their job, been furloughed, or your entry into the sports industry has been put on hold…stay in the ring. I’m not blind to the fact I’m writing this as someone who is fortunate enough to still be employed through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as someone who has been full-time in this industry since June of 2015 (thanks Mets!), I know how many ups and downs this industry can throw at you. I’ve certainly had my fair share of successes but even more failures and tough times. This pandemic is just another punch we have to take. But we can punch back! Continue to network, continue to work on your craft, attend webinars, anything you can do to better yourself personally and professionally. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and our industry is going to come back better than ever after this is all said and done.

Throughout my career, I’ve learned that you have to be unbelievably positive and optimistic at all times. Whether it be battling objections with a prospect over the phone, having a tough conversation with your boss, or anything in between. The result will always turn out better with a positive attitude. Note that I didn’t say that it will always be perfect, because it won’t be, but it will always be better with a positive attitude. Roll with the punches. Stay in the ring. It’s all part of the fight.

Sam Barlow is the Manager of Inside Sales at Monumental Sports. He grew up in Newburyport, MA and graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in Sport Management in 2015. His experience includes Inside Sales, Group Sales, and New Business Development with the New York Mets as well as being a member of their Management in Training program. He took over as the Manager of Inside Sales at Monumental Sports in October of 2019. As someone that enjoys seeing success out of others he’s worked with, he’s always happy to connect! He's also a mentor in theClubhouse and if you'd like to connect with Sam you can find him here.