Scribbles and Musings from the Sports Sales Training Forum

The 5th Annual SSTF again delivered no-nonsense education for reps to sharpen their skills with industry-best trainers and experts. It’s a lot to take in in one day. Fortunately, one of this year’s co-moderators has shared his notepad with top takeaways.

Buried deep inside the ALSD Conference and Tradeshow, a movement has gained traction and momentum. It’s a movement that started as a unique gathering of the best of the best in sports sales and has grown into a can’t-miss part of each ALSD conference.

The Sports Sales Training Forum (SSTF) began four years ago as a pre-conference event at ALSD 2015 in San Francisco. It was a one-day firehose of solid sales information. Thirteen of the industry’s top sales trainers and expert voices presented in rapid-fire fashion, and those in attendance were blown away by the sheer volume of quality information. I was in the audience that day taking copious notes, and I didn’t want to leave to even go to the bathroom for fear I’d miss something extraordinary.

Fast forward to 2019. This year’s SSTF again featured 13 of the nation’s top sales experts from several different disciplines, and the ideas generated were exceptional. No keynote presentations, no panel discussions – just pure sports sales training information, tactics, and techniques from the most well-known and talented gurus in the industry. Thankfully, the ALSD has built in a bathroom break or two, while continuing what is now an annual tradition and staple within the larger conference program that is well worth having sales reps attend on its own.

The information presented on July 1, 2019 will impact sales organizations all year long and is reason enough to book your sales team for next year’s event in Dallas. If you weren’t in the room that day, here are a few nuggets shared along the way.

Are You Bold Enough?

That was the topic I brought to life to kick off the event. I shared ways in which sales reps can differentiate themselves from others to stand out and win more business in sports sales, including:

Know the “Languages” You Speak

The places you’ve worked, you’ve traveled, your top subjects in school, the things you enjoy doing, and even the occupations of your parents have a “language” you know well. How are you “ethically exploiting” that language in your sales efforts? Are you calling on people that speak this same language so you can better relate to their situation and talk their same talk?

Write Your Own Story

What do you want to be known for? And what do you need to do to get there? Do you want people to know you as a person of action, the graduate from X University that loves to help people, the hardest working person in the business, or something else? Have a vision, and write it out, so you’ll be able to live it daily.

Pay Attention

What can you observe about others and comment on positively? Is it a cool jersey or hat they’re wearing? Distinctive jewelry or eyewear? Compliment people when you can and be known for someone who pays attention to the positive things about others.

Jay Mays, Managing Director of Denver-based Pitch Lab, teaches attendees how to become more engaging sellers through the art of stand-up comedy.

Facts and Figures Are Forgotten, But Stories Live On

That was Jay Mays’ message to the group. In his presentation, “How to Tell a Captivating Story Like a Stand-Up Comedian”, he shared a simple way to set up a winning story sequence: Setup – a brief summary of the situation; Conflict – what happens that becomes problematic for the characters; and Resolution – how things eventually work out.

To demonstrate the sequence, Jay used the example of the opening song to the classic TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He played the song on YouTube and then asked the audience to describe the Setup, Conflict, and Resolution of the story within the song (you can play along right now in your head or look it up yourself).

He issued a warning not to make your setup too long. There are many instances in life where someone takes far too long to set up a situation for a story, only to lose the intended effect when finally getting to the point.

By using the Setup/Conflict/Resolution framework in sales, it allows reps to pull people into their orbit in a way that resonates, is memorable, and distinguishes from others.

Paul Epstein of the BW Leadership Institute explores with SSTF attendees what separates good from great, manager from inspirational leader.

Leadership Is a Set of Behaviors, Not a Title

Paul Epstein was speaking to not only the current sales reps and managers in the audience, but those who aspire to be better managers and leaders. He referenced the Latin definition of the word “inspire”, which is to breathe life into something, and he challenged the group to measure themselves not in success, but in significance in ability to inspire others. He spoke about employees within companies that have inspiring leaders, and that they were: Authentically Dedicated; Deeply Accountable; and Fully Responsible.

If these are the kinds of valuable lessons you’d like your sales staffs to hear, be sure to sign up for the 6th Annual Sports Sales Training Forum, again part of the annual ALSD Conference and Tradeshow to be held in Dallas in June 2020.

What were your top takeaways from the 2019 Sports Sales Training Forum?
Write to Bill at or follow him on Twitter at @800PoundGorilla.

Bill Guertin is well-known in the sports industry as “The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales Performance”. He is an expert speaker and trainer, and Co-Founder/Chief Learning Officer of Inspiration Sports Business Institute, creators of the ISBI 360 Digital Learning Network for sports and entertainment professionals. Bill has partnered with over 100 pro teams to develop sales talent, increase revenues, and improve the effectiveness of sales managers and leaders.

Watch our entire ALSD 2019 video series, featuring interviews with industry leaders, expositions of the conference’s best ideas, and venue tours of Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, United Center, and Wintrust Arena.