My Experience Working with the Philadelphia 76ers Sales Department

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1 My Experience Working with the Philadelphia 76ers Sales Department During my freshman year at Temple University, I was approached by the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) of an opportunity to become a night sales intern for the Philadelphia 76ers. I applied for the position and was selected to attend the orientation and overview of the internship as well as an interview after. I interviewed with the 76ers sales manager at the time, Rob Kristiniak. Overall, the interview went really well and was a great opportunity to learn how to present myself in a professional manner and show that I was a good candidate for the position. Two weeks later, I received a phone call that I was selected as an intern for the night sales program. I was the only freshman selected to participate in the internship program out of the nine students selected. I began the internship on February 15, The first week included nights of training including the process of learning the ticket packages and most of all how to present yourself on the phone to the potential customer. It was quite an experience being that it was my first internship I received while at Temple University. During the first night, we were introduced to the other account executives and group event specialist that we would be working with, Matt McShea, Shawn Kerns, and Dave Reed. We went around the conference table and talked about ourselves so that everyone could become more familiar with each other as well as learn the reasons why we wanted to work in the sports industry and why we wanted to participate in this internship. I said the number one reason why I wanted the opportunity was to get the opportunity to work in a professional environment and build a database of connections so that I can start to prove myself and show my work ethic to succeed in the fast-paced industry.

2 During the training program, we learned who we were going to call as well as how to approach the phone call. We called the Sixers single game ticket buyers and then former Sixers ticket purchasers from previous seasons dating back to 2006 who were in their Salesforce.com database. The first part of the phone call and the hardest part of the job was to understand the opening and get the customer to feel relaxed through the opening and introduction. We were taught to smile and first understand who we were calling by saying their name and the game that they attended to get a yes response right away. We were taught the process of building rapport with the client. The rapport rule was to build rapport by talking to people briefly about something in which they are interested. This was the first thing that we had to remember and were quizzed on in order to show the importance of this message so that we always remembered this statement throughout the internship. We also learned the 76ers sales model that started with trying to honestly seeing things from the other person s point of view. The sales process included three elements which were the buyer, sales element, and ourselves. The buyer first came into the phone conversation with preoccupation, and it was our job to build rapport by selling ourselves at first. Then we moved to the indifference factor of the client where as a sales intern we needed to create interest by showing the customer the need for tickets to a Phillies game. The next interference buyer s would put up was doubt which is then where we learned how to provide a solution by selling value of the attending a 76ers home game with their friends or family. The fourth problem in this five stage process was the buyer s procrastination to purchase, which we then needed to find motive and show the urgency to purchase the tickets right now. Finally, the last step was

3 overcoming the buyer s reluctance by selling decisions to find a commitment. This was the five stage process of selling tickets to customers to make sales on behalf of the Philadelphia 76ers. After learning all of this information, we had to digest it and learn how we were going to make it come to reality and actually work on the phone. The end of the training program, we were rewarded by attending a 76ers home game to watch the atmosphere of the game and understand the layout of the arena so that we would be able to sell the experience to the fans. We also met the Vice President of Ticket Sales and Customer Service for the Philadelphia 76ers, Joe Ondrejko. This was great to meet someone in the 76ers upper level management at a personal level to learn how he got to his position today. We were tasked with selling the 76ers three game packages first, which included three different plans and eight different seating locations. It was quite a lot of information to learn, but I made sure I took good notes and had a strong understanding to be able to do the best that I could. The three game plans ranged from $72 to $714 for the center six tickets, which were lower level seats in the center of the basketball court. The red plan included games against the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, and Detroit Pistons. The white plan was a weekend plan with games against the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, and Toronto Raptors. The last plan, blue plan, had games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, and Orlando Magic. We were set with the task of selling any ticket package that we could with the phone lists of names and information regarding their recent purchases. I utilized all of the handouts and information my boss gave me to have all of the information in front of me so that I could answer any potential question from the customer. I was fortunate enough to sell three of these types of the three game packages totaling $540, including two mezzanine outside center packages and

4 lower level ends, which were of more value than some of the cheaper options. It was a great feeling to finally make a sale and get the first sale out of the way. It felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders when I made my first sale. As the internship progressed, we were challenged with the opportunity to sell group tickets and next season ticket packages ranging from 10-game plans and full season plans that offered playoff priority. I took it into my own hands to reach out to potential businesses that I had connections with that I knew attended other sporting events as well as anyone I knew who had an interest in the 76ers. I reached out to Penn Stainless Steel to see if they had any interest in purchasing tickets to the 76ers for their employees to attend and offer incentives for their own company s employees. I developed a strategic plan on how I was going to market and sell the 10 game plan as a way for the company to test out the experience of attending the 76ers games before going into a full season package. My idea worked and I was able to sell a 10 game plan in the center-6 section of the stadium which were the most expensive seat that we were able to sell. The total value of the deal was worth $4760, which was a huge close for myself, as well as a huge boost for our night sales team to reach the goal of $20,000 in sales at the end of the internship set by our supervisor. I also was able to make an one-call close for a ten game plan while I was in the office with a client that included a mezzanine center purchase for 10 games the following season in addition to purchasing mezzanine outside center tickets to the playoff series against the Miami Heat. This was my best sale throughout the internship since I learned everything that I was taught to make a sale of this magnitude in one phone call. I was very excited after this sale because it put me into first place overall. I was the only freshman to get the internship and I was the highest sales person in the night sales internship selling over $6,600

5 in a nine week period individually, while selling over $20,000 being a part of the nine member night sales team. I also executed the largest amount of phone calls throughout the internship which really showed my work ethic and desire to achieve the most. I averaged over 60 cold calls daily to increase my sales pipeline, which usually was a three hour cold calling period. This was great opportunity to learn how to make cold calls and learn how to best present myself in a professional environment. Overall, it was a great opportunity to get my foot into the sports industry. My overall impression of the internship was that it was a great opportunity for students interested in the sports industry to get involved with a professional team to learn how the business operates. I really enjoyed my time while I was there and use everything that I learned during the internship every day that I go forward to make sure I work as hard as I can to become the best person I can be in the sports industry. I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in a career in the sports industry. Even though, I realized that I do not want a job in sales in the sports industry, it helped me to realize that it was a great experience to learn how to interact with customers and fans as it will be a part of the rest of my career in any department in the sports industry. I feel that I could handle and would want to work some with sales in different areas, but not make cold calls every day at work. I am greatly appreciative of the opportunity I was given with the Philadelphia 76ers.

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