“I’d like to cancel my tickets due to COVID.”
“I’m no longer interested in a ticket package because of the coronavirus.”
“I can’t believe you’re trying to get me to a sporting event when it could be dangerous for me and my guests.”
I won’t sugarcoat it. These are tough objections to overcome. But tough times make tough people. Many industries will face coronavirus-related sales objections due to economic circumstances. However, the sports, live events, travel, and hospitality industries will face the extra hurdle of health fears. I’ve never been great at jumping hurdles, but I’ve uncovered and resolved more objections in my career than I can count.
So let’s keep it simple, and break down four steps to overcome COVID as a sales objection.
- Offer Solutions
Client: I’d like to cancel my tickets due to COVID.
Rep: I’m really sorry to hear you want a refund. You’ve been with us for a while, and we certainly appreciate your business. Tell me what’s going on.
It’s important here to sympathize. Then ask them to clarify the request a bit.
Client: Well, there’s just too much uncertainty out there with the virus, and I’d feel better if I had my money back.
Rep: I can respect that. It seems like not much is certain these days for sure. Stop me if I’m wrong, but when you mention uncertainty being a concern, it sounds like you’re more worried about the timing of games resuming and what the crowd experience might look like instead of personal financial concerns. Is that accurate?
Feel free to buffer again. Dig further. Hone in.
Client: Yeah, it’s more so the health concerns than anything.
Rep: I see. To make sure I’m being thorough and fully understanding of where you’re coming from, is health as it relates to in-stadium safety your only concern? Or are there other issues I should know about?
Client: No, I just don’t want me or my guests to get coronavirus because we came to a game.
Rep: That’s a valid concern. I’ve spoken with some of my other members about this too. Question, what would the in-stadium experience have to look like for you and your guests to feel comfortable coming back to a game?
Client: Well, I’d like to see temperature checks at the gates, hand sanitizer stations everywhere, and increased food safety measures.
Rep: Those sound like good ideas. We’ve been discussing those and others with health officials to make sure we get this right. If I told you all those safety measures would be present when play resumes, would you be willing to keep your tickets?
Rep: Great. Is it fair if I follow up with you personally when we know more?
Sometimes customers just want to be heard. They know big brands can be guilty of not listening to their many clients as often as they should. Pro tip – ask this type of customer if they’d like to be part of a Fan Panel that helps guide safety protocols for when games return to your building. Add them to a list of fans to follow up with when you get new stadium safety information that they’d appreciate. Send them a handwritten thank you card for sharing their opinion along with some team swag.
You won’t win all of these battles. You shouldn’t expect to. But you have to be prepared. Spend time doing COVID objection role play as a sales and service team to get good at handling these objections. You’ll win more often than if you don’t.
Kevin Klammer is a sales trainer with Sports Business Solutions. His 15-year career has spanned sales and sales management in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, media sales, and sales management in a top-ten media market in the US. He is a B2B sales guru and champion of building modern sales cultures that thrive and win. To learn more about Sports Business Solutions, visit www.sportsbusiness.solutions and follow along on social: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.