Our April All-Star is Gennifer Davidson on the Group Sales Team at the Boston Red Sox! She increased previous year’s ticket sales from 723 tickets to over 2,500+ using the Groupmatics platform. The outing included a variety of activities & FEPs such as a pregame social event, on-field recognition of Nominate a Nurse program nominees, and a swag bag. Additionally, outing questions captured where the buyers heard about the outing as well as where they were currently working. This allowed Gen to expand the outing by reaching out to hospital’s that had 10+ nurses buy and provide them with their own outing link.
The game changer? Social media influence! Gen brilliantly utilized this group’s large online following to help quickly spread the word about the upcoming outing. Nurse.org created a Facebook group and event where users were tagging 5+ friends at a time and over 11,000 nurses were marked as “interested” in going.
“The information Groupmatics was able to provide about my buyers helped expand the night tremendously,” said Gen. “It also allowed my group with a large social media platform to create a large group outing with minimal effort.” Congratulations, Gennifer!
Kris Morrow, from the Arizona Diamondbacks said, “A buyer from my Construction Industry Days game last year indicated interest in Suites information and replied to the Opt-In email requesting that I keep in touch. I stayed with him throughout the offseason and he ended up booking 2 Suites for $3,500+ in 2018.”
This could be you! Share your success stories with the Groupmatics team for a chance to be featured in The ReGroup!
Bob Hamer from Sports Business Solutions provides training, consulting, and recruiting services for sports teams and provide career services for those interested in working in sports. Here, he shares the “5 Ways to Grow Your Group Tickets Sales Business”:
If there is one product I know best in the sports ticket sales industry, it’s groups. My first job in sports was as a group sales intern in 05’ with the Charlotte Bobcats, my first four years selling on the team side were focused on group tickets, and then my first leadership job in sports was overseeing the group sales department at the Phoenix Suns.
Now, as a ticket sales trainer and consultant I get to travel the country working with different teams. Although I train on all aspects of ticket sales, I’ve been getting increasingly more requests for group sales training. Also, when I’m out on the road or talking to friends and other leaders of ticketing departments they say their biggest struggle right now is in groups.
Given the challenges some teams are facing and the feedback I’m hearing on this topic, I wanted to share some quick tips on how you can maximize your group sales business. Hope this helps!
1. Maximize your “Fan Experiences” – “FEPs” are fan experiences that happen in and around the game that groups can participate in. Some examples are the hi-five fan tunnel, play on the field, national anthem, dance performances and early entry warm ups just to name a few. Groups want access to these, so most teams have a ticket minimum (which is a cost) to achieve them. You need to bring a group of at least X people to get the experience. Too often we make concessions on these numbers. If the experience is 75 and they only sell 50 tickets, we offer it anyways. Or if a group is big enough we just throw in all the experiences, even though you’ve never spoken about them. This is one of my pet peeves, every time we do that, we hurt our teams’ ability to sell more group tickets. If someone wants to buy season tickets, and they say they’ll do it for 20% off, we don’t reprice the seats do we? Then why is it ok for groups? Hold your groups to their numbers, and don’t “throw in” extra experiences unless they’re used to up-sell a group.
2. Book a sales meeting at the arena/stadium – All of the biggest groups I ever sold were the result of a face to face meeting, usually at the arena. When selling the experience of a group program, you need to show them how cool it’s going to be. I used to walk performance groups out onto the court, and simply ask “Do you think your group would enjoy performing out here?” Let the awe factor set in. They’d say yes, then once they’re hooked on an experience you tie in the minimums, create urgency (you probably only have 1-2 of those per game), and can book a lot more tickets. It’s so much easier to sell, and to sell bigger nights when you’re face to face with groups vs. trying to squeeze in a pitch on the end of a first phone call and then emailing them a schedule and brochure. Trust me on this, book a meeting.
3. Shorten the sales process – A common challenge people have with groups is the length of the sales process. The first key is getting to the right decision maker. Start at the top, and confirm they’re the right person on the phone first. If you get caught with an administrator, they don’t have the ability to make that call, so naturally it’ll take longer. My advice would be to ask about their decision-making process in advance, who else is involved in making the decision and then try to get all the decision makers together. Set the expectation that they’re coming to the meeting to discuss group options for this year (not taking an informational tour) and encourage them to bring their calendar. If you’d like to be a little more aggressive, ask the question, “When you come down, if you like what you see, would you be able to make a decision at the meeting?” Put them in a buying mindset, it’ll increase your chances of getting a deposit quicker.
4. Simplify the pitch – Groups have a lot of options, 20+ different games, in some cases variable and dynamic pricing per game, 10-12 different experiences per game, etc. On the appointment, show them the options, then narrow in on the one(s) they want most. Pick a game date, number of seats, price point(s) and fan experience(s). That way they decide on one thing, or go back and get approval on one thing. If they go back with a brochure and a lot of options then Joanie wants one game, John wants a different game, Alex wants a different experience… too many options and things get lost in the shuffle. Pique their interest, focus on what they want most, then recommend one option, pitch strong and create urgency.
5. Avoid the discounted group ticket link – Let me be clear here, I’m all for virtual platforms that help traditional group leaders sell seats more effectively to their group members (For example Groupmatics, great platform). However, I’m not for just sending out a discount link and crossing our fingers, hoping people buy. That isn’t selling groups in my opinion. Those are two’s and four’s buying as individuals. Peppering the market with links isn’t a good strategy. Why not? It’s more driven by team performance (which is risky), there is no accountability/commitment for your group leader to a specific number of seats, they rarely put down a deposit, and you lose the “special” factor of doing it as a group. You’ll always sell more seats when you get a motivated group leader, pitch a fan experience, set the ticket minimums, get a deposit and motivate them to sell more seats to achieve their goal(s). They have some skin in the game and 9 times out of 10 will sell more. Some reps think getting a link out is a sale, it isn’t, focus on traditional group nights.
It’s hard to cover everything groups in one post, but hopefully some of these subtle enhancements can help you maximize your group sales efforts. Good luck and happy selling!