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Premium Priced Tickets Can Be Sold Online Without Phone Calls

The absurd wisdom of sports sales is that high dollar transaction tickets require a live ticket sales representative to talk to. That a customer won’t sit in a specific seat, paying a premium price, without speaking to someone first. This fallacy suggests that the airlines don’t sell a large amount of tickets through online portions, at a premium price. Apparently, in the world of sports sales, no one has ever purchased a first class airline ticket online before without speaking to a travel agent first.

Travel agents are becoming extinct. And, so may sports sales representatives in their current form. The idea that a franchise needs 100 people making 10,000 phone calls per day in order to break down the arguments of 2,500 in order to generate $200,000 in sales is ridiculous. This doesn’t mean that sports sales professionals are not important, but the utilization factor in how they conduct outbound sales efforts has got to change.

The consumer is moving past the phone call, whether sports sales likes it or not. The majority of people would rather spend 30 minutes online than spend one minute on the phone with a sales rep. Mainly because they want to avoid having “arguments” broken down by a trained sales staff.

Here is a specific, hard-target question: How many would-be customers are not buying season, mini-pack or longer-term ticket packages specifically because they want to avoid talking to sales people?

While I’m not supporting the idea that overbooking a sporting event is the best way to generate revenue for a franchise, the overall model has to change. The ultimate sports fan is no longer buying the season ticket. That’s either reserved for businesses or brokers. And both tend to break up the tickets, reselling or distributing them to individuals for only a few games per season within that package. And the idea that people cannot pay for a large volume ticket product online without speaking to a live sales representative is a suspect argument. The image accompanying this post, complete with round-trip tickets to Hawaii, should help prove that. If Hawaiian Airlines can expect customers to purchase two first class tickets round-trip to Hawaii for a week at $3,252, a sports franchise can definitely sell an entire season package for that amount online.

That question might be larger than you think. Yet, this is the overall model that sports sales relies on. And while airlines sell large volumes of tickets through their online portals, completing against discount competitors for the same customer, with events happening at the same time window, with tickets for the same seating locations, they are often doing so at a higher revenue volume than a sports franchise. Why? Because instead of denying the online portal, or avoiding internet sales utilization, the airlines have embraced it.

In fact, the way that airlines have practiced their sales techniques online are so efficient that they resemble a cartel. They tend to overbook flights, with a willingness to bribe inconvenienced customers, in order to generate a higher margin based on statistical no-show criteria. Essentially, they have the moral ambiguity of FIFA executives during a World Cup bidding process.

My thought isn’t that we should instantly eliminate every ticket sales representative making out-bound phone calls. But sports sales tends to avoid the obvious online portals, allowing secondary resellers to beat them at their own game, and resist paying Google or any other search engine for the right to dominate at selling their own product online. Customers will pay for the premium product online, without speaking to a live person, if they know about it.

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