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Steve DeLay's picture

I was boiling mad. I hope the staff and salespeople were boiling mad also.

I don't get pissed off easily. In this case though, I was steaming walking out of this sales call.

I and my partner Jon Spoelstra are part owners of a summer collegiate baseball team in Savannah, GA. The team has gotten tremendous publicity including ESPN, Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports Network and even features on the team dog, Daisy. That's what made me so mad.

I was on a sponsorship sales call last week with the team president to the largest car dealer in town. The Marketing Director was 'one of those prospects'. Thought she knew everything, wanted to tell us what we were doing right and wrong, interrupted numerous times. We talked through how many 5-game plans, group tickets, season tickets that we were selling. More than the previous team. The season is going to be a big success. The team will most likely lead the league in attendance.

That's when the Marketing Director really irked me.

"You're not cool. You need a buzz around you. Nobody is going to go to your games." she said. We showed her copies of the national news articles surrounding the team name. Features that have run in the local papers and on TV. She dismissed them. "You're new and unproven. I'm not going to spend marketing dollars with something new and unproven."

I thought to myself, "Geez, if you don't market anywhere that's new and unproven, have you noticed this little thing called the Internet? It wasn't too long ago that that was unproven." However, I wisely kept quiet in hopes of still getting a deal.

However, she basically dismissed us with "I'll take a look at it but I don't think we'll do anything."

I couldn't have been more pissed off. "We have no buzz? We're not cool? I spewed to the team president. "Doesn't she read the paper, watch the news, check the internet? We're selling out those first three games come hell or high water. We're gonna prove her wrong."

I went back to the office and pulled the ticket sales staff together and told them the story. I told them we had one month until the home opener to prove all those non-believers in town who we were and why we were cool. A couple of the salespeople got fired up. Nobody wants to be associated with something not taken seriously that nobody believes in. Your sales staff needs an edge and something to be passionate about. For the sales staff in Savannah, some were just as irked as I was to prove this marketing person wrong and anyone else who thought we 'needed a buzz'. (Heck, we're getting buzz from our team dog. Click here to see the TV coverage of Daisy) I would call it a buzz to get a TV crew to cover the staff pooch.

Most of us have ticket salespeople in their 20's. They aren't nearly as motivated by money as I was at that age. You have to give them more. Give them something they can be passionate about. Something that gets them excited to get up and come in to work every day. If nobody is taking your team seriously; if nobody is buying your tickets or sponsorships because you're 'unproven' or 'not credible', get pissed off about it. Take it personally that people aren't taking you seriously. Don't just shrug your shoulders. Double your efforts, make two more calls, schedule three more meetings and use that to your advantage to prove the naysayers wrong. If you don't get irked by someone questioning if you're for real, you don't have a pulse.

Steve DeLay has spent more than 20 years selling tickets and sponsorships for teams that 'weren't credible' or had no buzz with tremendous success. He's the co-author of "The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House" and "The Ultimate Toolkit - Sponsorships" with Jon Spoelstra being used by more than 160 teams and colleges around the country to sell more tickets and sponsorships. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeLay2. Just don't piss him off!

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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