Sports Sales Careers Are Your Ticket into the Sports Industry - Work in Sports Podcast E001
Say the word sales and most people have a negative reaction. Yep you just felt it in your chest right as I said it… in fact, you are probably considering stopping this podcast already, thinking this will not help me or have anything to do with me…because I don’t want to work in sales.
I get it.
Sales are the phone call that comes in during dinner… or waits just a little too long to say anything once you pick up… or comes in from some random town in Illinois…bottom line, you know there is going to be a pitch and an ask at the end and you just don’t want to deal with it.
If you have such a visceral reaction to sales people – why in the world would you want to work in sales? Most people aren’t inspired by these calls - hanging up with the attitude “I want to do that some day!”
BUT, I’ve worked in the sports industry for over 20 years and I’d estimate 80% of the top level fancy car driving, golf course playing, athlete elbow rubbing executives that I’ve either worked for or talked to have a background in sales.
Why? Because revenue drives everything.
I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports and this… is the work in sports podcast… it’s important to understand that without revenue generated primarily by sales people there is no massive free agent signing for your team.
There is no in demand coach to rejuvenate your team without sponsorship deals.
There aren’t fancy facilities and wifi enabled arenas without group sales and merchandise.
Sales are the straw that stirs the drink in sports. If you can generate sales and drive revenue, your superiors will notice and you will climb the career ladder faster than just about any career path.
One such powerful sales executive is Carl Manteau Senior Director of Group Sales for the Milwaukee Bucks…Hi Carl how are you?
Questions for Carl Manteau, Milwaukee Bucks Senior Director of Group Sales
1: Over 50% of the jobs in the sports industry have a sales requirement in them – I know this because we have a sports job board and I searched this morning -- so this is where the opportunity lies for the majority of sports people.
But it gets kind of confusing – I look around and I see jobs in inside sales, group sales, sponsorship sales, premium seating sales, account executive roles etc etc etc.
If I was just starting out I wouldn’t know where to start…So carl – help us understand the basic career path of someone in sports sales – where do they usually start?
2: What about education – are sales a ‘learn on the job’ career or is there something in particular a student should focus their classwork on?
3: I hate to admit it, but people bad mouth sales. The term has a negative connotation – tell us why you got into sales, what you love about it, and what it has done for your career?
4: I talk to executives in the sports industry all the time – and news flash people -- a vast majority of them have a background in sales. Why is understanding the business of sales such an important attribute for people to have? I had bosses at
5: Lets get into the mechanism of the job – you graduated college, you get an entry level sales job with your favorite team – what does your day to day look like?
6: See this sounds a lot like when I started in sports TV – there were about 25-30 of us fresh out of college working as production assistants. We worked crazy hours, hustled our butts off, cut highlights for shows and tried to show our supervisors were were ready for the next step. It’s almost a lord of the flies scenario – survive the chaos or quit – am I right?
7: So it sounds like you have high turnover – in your experience, why does one person succeed and another fail? What is the quality or skill the best all seem to have?
8: I know sales people use the phone to close deals an awful lot – but how much has social media and developing technologies, push notification etc changed the way you sell products?
9: How much does team results influence your ability to sell? Right now, you have a big star in the greek freak, a popular coach and a team on the rise… but 5 years ago…different scenario, how do you handle it?
What’s the Scenario
I’m going to give you two situations and you just tell me which scenario you would choose and why.
Scenario A: You graduate college with a sports management degree and get an opportunity to work in sales for a NBADL which I now believe is the Gatorade league, but you get it, a minor league basketball team.
Scenario B: You graduate college with a sports management degree and get an opportunity to work in sales for a major league baseball team?
It's Time for the Lightning Round!
5 quick questions, none of which will be related to the Bucks or even the NBA – I don’t want your PR staff getting mad at us, or you to inadvertently share any team secrets…and I don’t care if you wear boxers or briefs so we won’t go that direction either:
1: Sports Management Degree or standard Business degree?
2: What is the coolest thing to do in Milwaukee?
3: Who wins the World Series this year?
4: If you live in Wisconsin which is more important, riding a Harley or eating cheese?
5: Any craft beer or… Milwaukee’s Best?
That'll do it, thanks to Carl Manteau, Senior Group Sales Director of the Milwaukee Bucks - don't forget to subscribe and listen to the podcast and if you have a question you want answered in a future episode - email me bclapp at workinsports dot com - or you can put them in the comment section below!