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Steve DeLay's picture

Your Success is in Your Own Hands

I did sales training for a team in Texas last week. As part of the training, I showed a list of executives that had gone through past boot camps I had given when I was with the Kings, Lightning and Mandalay. A number of these executives had gone on to lofty positions in the NFL, NBA and MLB.

The young salespeople were terrific and most learned the materials exceptionally well in the three days. At the end, one came up to me to thank me for helping him get better. I asked him, "Why do you really want to be in sports and be successful?"

He said, "I want to be great. I want to be one of those names on that list you showed us."

I asked him, "What else are you going to do to be great?"

He looked puzzled and shrugged, "I don't really know. What else should I do?"


Here's what I told him. If you are like that salesperson I met last week, hopefully this helps you become great as well.

  • No Distractions Your colleagues will try everything they can to distract you from doing your job. They'll want to talk about what they did last night, the game, where you are headed on Friday night, some goofy video to check out on YouTube. Your co-workers don't do it to purposely mess you up. They just don't have the same commitment you do. Tell them you have work to do and ignore them. Those that get offended probably aren't the type of co-workers you want to hang around with. You're looking for kindred spirits who have the same drive you do to be great.
  • Study - Just going through sales training isn't enough. You have to continue to study your sales training materials, practice and role play. When I was just starting out at the New Jersey Nets, Howard Nuchow (now the co-head of CAA Sports) and I used to take over an empty office and role play each other 2-3 times per week until we felt we had the sales pitch nailed.
  • Ask Questions - If you are putting in the time and energy to really be successful, your manager will be thrilled to help you. Review sales calls with your manager, talk about what's working and not working. Specifically schedule a weekly one on one with your manager that can't be canceled. If that meeting has to take place at 7am or 6pm or during lunch, do it. Heck, the more successful you are, the more successful your Manager is.
  • Outside Learning - What you learn in the office isn't enough. Turn off the TV and spend 30 minutes each night reading a book on sales, marketing, business, something more educational than a Tom Clancy book. If you spend 30 minutes a night, five nights a week (take Friday and Saturday off so you can relax), 50 weeks a year (you don't have to read on vacation), you'll compile 125 hours of extra education. That's like your boss giving you three full weeks off to learn more and get better.
  • You're in charge of your own success. It's not the team's performance. It's not the market or the economy. Don't let others try to drag you back to the pack. Be Great.


    I couldn't resist passing along this article from University of Washington researchers. It seems they've managed to have the first human brain to brain interaction. One researcher was able to send brain waves to another via the Internet and have the other move his finger involuntarily. Is it only a matter of time before the best salespeople use brain waves to convince their prospects to buy? "Feel the Force Young Skywalker.". Could Yoda have a future as a sales trainer?


    One other tidbit I thought was interesting reading this week. Roy Williams is one of the all-time best ad men ever. He writes a Monday Morning Memo. This past week's was on courting your customers. Think of the sales process like a relationship with your spouse. A huge discount to get people to buy your tickets is like a quick jump in the sack. Odds are though you're not getting married to that person, nor is that customer coming back to buy without another huge discount. Developing a long-term relationship and strong reasons why someone should buy your tickets is like the long term relationship you have with your eventual spouse. Check out Roy's memo from the week of August 26 here.

    Steve DeLay is a sponsorship and ticket sales consultant for sports teams and colleges. He has 20+ years experience working for teams in the NBA, NHL, MLB and Minor League Baseball. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeLay2.

    Check out past Ticket Sales Thursday posts on The Migala Report.

    Check out past Ticket Sales and Service articles on The Migala Report.

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