Successful Sales People Deliver a Reputation First!
Key Learnings is an ongoing collection of insights and stories from thought-leaders within the sponsorship industry. Today's key learning comes from Jim Loria who has over 30 years of sports management experience and for the past 10 years as served as President of the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede.
Everything starts from your first appearance. Dress appropriately (shine your shoes and clean your fingernails). You'll find that being a success no matter the profession, starts with your very own mental makeup.
Sales work and athletics are tied together: they both can play on your nerves and they're exhilarating! The key is to be consistent over a long period of time versus great for that one moment. Same in the sales world. What good is it when you've sold a million dollar sponsorship but forgot to deliver key assets in the package during the term of the contract only to have the relationship dissolved one year later over your lack of follow through?
Here's an example that illustrates the point of how your "Reputation" can be defined in just a matter of seconds and how dependable you will be seen as a person that can deliver in the future:
During one of my first sales closings, I had put together a major partnership with a healthcare organization. It was significant for the club. As the deal was getting signed, my client stated: "Jim, you know, now that we're major corporate partners, if and when we need favors for tickets, we trust that this will be no issue. You know, when we call on the (other local sport team in town) for tickets, they seem to deliver within 30 minutes". I quickly blurted out in a second, "that I'd deliver the tickets within 15 minutes!"
Well, come opening day in our team's debut home game, my contact calls me up early afternoon. Asks for several tickets for management. I hung up the phone. Had a staffer print the best available. Ran to my car. Like an idiot, sped through the city streets. Pulled my car in front of the hospital street-side lobby. Ran inside to the corporate office area. When I came jogging down the corridor, my contact was actually standing right outside the door with a stop watch timing me to see if I'm a man of my word (that "15 minutes" speech!) I got their in 13 minutes & some odd seconds. My contact was stunned and yelled out: "Damn, you did it!" I was huffing so bad. Gave her the tickets. Laughed when I realized this was just a test to measure my dependability.
From that moment, I was good as gold with this group. They knew I cared. That I delivered.