Q&A with Ticket Sales Manager from the Seattle Seahawks / Seattle Sounders FC
1) Briefly explain your role with the Seahawks/Sounders FC
I manage the Ticket Sales and Service staff for both teams. We have a small staff compared to most pro sports organizations (9 sales reps plus interns) especially considering we handle two separate teams. So, there are really no major down times in the office and it can get pretty hectic. All of our reps can sell and service ticket accounts for both the Seahawks and Sounders, but each of them has a focus towards one of the two teams. Our staff sells Season tickets, Club seats, Group tickets, and individual game Suites along with servicing the season ticket accounts. Along with keeping our sales staff on task, some of my other daily duties include sales reporting, lead distribution, and creating different ticket packages and promotions. I also work with our other departments such as Corporate Partners, Suites, Marketing, and Community Outreach to accommodate their ticket needs and execute our collaborative promotions and special events.
2) How did you get your break into the sports industry?
During my senior year at the University of Washington I completed a Marketing internship within the Athletic Department and enjoyed it immensely. I sent out numerous letters and resumes to different sports organizations and the Seahawks responded offering me an interview for a temporary ticket sales position. It worked out and I have been here ever since.
3) What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
The two main reasons that fans and businesses decide not to purchase season tickets are team performance and cost. So, when the team is not playing well during a tough economy our reps can go all day getting rejected by potential prospects. The biggest challenge is not overcoming these objections, but rather keeping the sales reps motivated to keep at it and try different techniques.
4) Biggest rewards?
Undoubtedly the Gameday experience when we are able to see all of our hard work pay off. Many people think you can just put tickets on sale and they sell themselves. A main component of us selling out games is our staff’s efforts in renewals and selling new season and group tickets. We are extremely proud that we have sold out 60 consecutive Seahawks games and consistently lead the NFL in false start penalties. The fan support for the Sounders has been amazing with every MLS match sold out in our first two seasons.
5) What are a few of the more effective networking tips that were successful for you while looking for your role?
In any sales position you have to be eager to meet and connect with new people. Whether that’s at a social gathering with friends, tradeshows, or just randomly in a public setting, you never know what relationship can lead to a sale or future opportunity. Referrals are a huge source of our business and asking your current customers or contacts for them is a must. Networking websites such as LinkedIn has also made this easier.
6) What are the top qualities you would look for in hiring someone on your staff?
We look for candidates who are motivated, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. Proper education and experience is also required.
7) What is the best piece of career oriented advice that you have been given that you are willing to share with others looking to break into a career in sports?
Keep at it! Whether you are trying to make a sale or land a new job opportunity, your passion and persistence will eventually pay off or at least open up other doors. Also, don’t be afraid to take some risks.
What did you do in your interview process that helped separate yourself from other candidates?
Nothing special other than being myself. I’m sure my enthusiasm and passion for the position was clearly shown.