Thank You Cards and Follow Up. Do Them.
Every client we sign gets a thank-you card.
If I don’t get a thank-you card from a prospective employee, no matter how great the interview, I don’t hire them. Follow up is the most important part of the sales process.
As a sales professional, you understand that when you “close” a new client on season tickets, you do not look at it as the end of the process (most sales people do, by the way). For the new client, it is just the beginning of a new relationship.
At Professional Sports Operatives, we don’t ever call it closing a sale, we refer to it as “opening a new relationship.” It’s what you do after opening that relationship that will help you generate new business through referrals, and retain those clients long term.
Here is what I tell all of my season ticket holders at the end of the purchase:
1) My personal cell phone number. Call me anytime, for anything. If you want tickets to another sports event in the city, give me a call, and I will see what I can do to get you better chairs. You need to become their sports and entertainment connection in the market, and if that means you are a broker on great seats for another team, then that is what you are.
2) Offer to come back a month before the season starts: Companies don’t know how to properly use tickets. I always offer to come back a month before the season starts and educate them on how to use their tickets to generate new business. The meeting should involve anyone who is going to have access to the tickets.
2.1) While you are presenting how to use the tickets, let the client know that when they have an important prospect coming to the game, to let you know and you will personally stop by their seats, greet the prospect and bring them some team swag on your clients behalf.
It should go something like this (after a basic introduction)
“Mr. Client asked me to stop by and make sure your experience with the Big City Kangaroos is going great, and he asked me to drop off an autographed ball for you. How is everything going tonight? Is there anything I can get you?”
I then ask to exchange business cards. Why do I do this? I just got an indirect referral from my client, and we just serviced his account for him. The prospect just witnessed the fantastic level of service they could expect if they became a client of the Big City Kangaroos.
It makes a follow up call to see how their experience was a couple of days later (the next day if the game was amazing — a buzzer beater to win, overtime winner, etc.) and scheduling an appointment to show them how they can also take advantage of the great service we offer at the Roos’.
3) Send a Thank You Card: Always write a personal thank-you card. They are not expensive and the United States Postal Service needs the business. New clients do not get thank you cards any more — they are always emails. It doesn’t have to be long, and drop three business cards inside it. Why three? He / She just might hand them out.
4) Check in for more than money: There will be multiple times during the season that you can reach out to get them to upgrade, or you have suite inventory that is open that you’re willing to sell for a discount to this client. Its only OK to call for those things if you have done all of the things above, and have called them for more than trying to sell them something else.
Stop by their office one morning unexpectedly and bring doughnuts for the office, or send over some Pizza from your pizza sponsor for lunch one day. Just drop by to say hi and see how the season is going. Call and schedule a mid-season review of their ticketing program, and don’t ask them to buy anything when you do this. When you do ask them to buy something, they will.
5) After all of this — you have earned the right to ask for a referral: Referrals in the sports business are easy. Seriously.
“Mr. Client, we hope you are enjoying the four club seats you have with the Kangaroos. We are extremely excited to have ABC Corp as a top client. Some of our clients like to control the environment around them, by having like minded people sitting next to them. The two seats behind you just came open, is there anyone you would recommend that I call?”
If you have serviced them properly after the sale — he or she will open their rolodex. These few key things will lead to business growth, and retention in record numbers.