2011 Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair
February 16, 2011
The seventh annual Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair was held on Friday, February 4 at the Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. The workshop and job fair, sponsored by the University of Mount Union, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians, provided more than 60 recent graduates, soon-to-be graduates and current college students with successful sales techniques and valuable insights from some of the most successful professionals in the sports industry.
Mount Union students attended the event, along with students from other colleges and universities in the United States. The event provided the opportunity for participants to receive sport sales training, network and have their resume reviewed.
To hear why Mount Union students attended this year’s event and what they learned, visit www.mountunion.edu/sales.
Following an opening session presentation given by Charlie Chislaghi, president of Sports Sales Consulting and one of the premier sports sales trainers in the country, participants received nearly four hours of personalized sport sales training from sales professionals from the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Diego Padres, Oakland Raiders, Orlando Magic and Portland Trailblazers, among others. The training was interactive, with an emphasis on role playing. This year’s sales training sessions focused on calling the prospect, getting past the gatekeeper, introduction to the prospect, phone conversation with the prospect, building trust, determining needs, asking for the appointment, fielding objections, ingredients of the face to face tour with a prospect and closing the sale.
This was Jake Reynolds’ first time serving as a sport sales trainer at the workshop. Reynolds is currently the director of inside sales for the Washington Wizards and Mystics.
“I actually found out through Murray Cohn (vice president of team ticket sales for the National Basketball Association),” he said. “Murray and I were having a conversation and he suggested I come out for the event, and I’m very happy that I did.”
During the training sessions, Reynolds focused primarily on introductions. He helped participants with everything from getting comfortable making the initial call, working their way from the introduction to building a rapport and starting a relationship with a potential client.
It was Tyler Howell’s first year serving as a trainer as well. The vice president of ticket sales for the Portland Trailblazers focused primarily on talking to the prospect and closing the sale in the training sessions. He touched on topics such as asking the right questions, getting to know the customers, really accessing and tailoring their needs, as well as meeting face-to-face, closing the sale and getting referrals.
“You don’t find a lot of people who say they want to be in sales,” said Howell. “So it’s good for people to come and see what it is and get a taste of what it means to be a sales person. It is not that creepy, used car salesman stereotype that exists. Really, sales is all about relationship building, networking and communicating with people.”
According to Howell, the sport industry is like a family environment, so the turnover is pretty minimal. Therefore, the best opportunity for someone to get his or her foot in the door is to land a ticket sales position.
“It’s important (to attend the workshop and job fair) because students have to make an informed decision about careers, and this helps to inform their decision process about what they want to do after graduation,” said Chislaghi.
The goal of the Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair is to provide participants with an overview of the skill sets needed to secure an entry-level sales position in the sport industry as well as the capabilities needed for the next level to close significantly large deals, all based on the importance of face-to-face meetings with sales prospects.
Not only did Mount Union students attend the event, but alumni came back to the area to serve as sales trainers and interviewers. This year, four Mount Union alumni assisted with the workshop, including Ryan Robbins ’00, director of suite sales and service for the Oakland Raiders; Jordan Taylor ’00,general manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers; Nick Volsko ’08, season ticket account executive for the Columbus Crew; Becky Obradovic ’02, ticket sales representative for the Erie Seawolves; and Mike Reynolds ’07, premium seating account executives for the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers.
The Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair takes place annually and is a coordinated by the sport business students at Mount Union.