As D.C. United prepares to shift their matchday experience away from the historic, 55-year-old RFK Stadium to a brand new stadium with 31 suites and 2,000 club seats, it brings exciting opportunities to reach new markets, new prospects, and ultimately new fans.
While selling inventory within RFK is a familiar process to the D.C. United sales team, selling premium inventory to the business community is fairly new to the group. With a new offsite sales center in place, we officially kicked off premium sales for the new stadium in September of last year. And while we’ve only been reaching out to targeted prospects, we’ve already walked away with priceless learnings. I’ll share with you my top three here:
Know Your Process
It’s important for me to preface this part with a brief education of the D.C. marketplace. Our market boasts a heavy concentration of federal agencies and government contractors which dramatically shrinks our targeted business community prospect pool, primarily because the federal market does not invest in “entertainment” opportunities, nor are federal workers allowed to be “entertained” past a certain dollar amount, eliminating a very large bucket of opportunities for sales.
"I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a solid grasp on your selling process for the business community."
That said, we have been forced to better understand the business community and implement a new process in managing that pipeline. One of the biggest challenges for my staff has been the transition to selling premium inventory, primarily understanding the conversion timeline to close a suite deal. The amount of time it takes to reach a decision maker and get a LOI had us quickly reevaluating our sales pipeline. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a solid grasp on your selling process for the business community.
Strategic Social Selling
In late 2015, our team jumped on the social selling train, leveraging the LinkedIn Sales Navigator platform as a resource to expand our outreach to targeted business professionals. Since adopting, the platform has turned into our number-one prospecting tool, providing key opportunities for engagement and lead tracking within the D.C. metro area.
Never has it been easier to identify and connect with key influencers and decision makers in the market that share a passion for the sport of soccer. Having the ability to connect with key decision makers over a passion has been a strategic initiative of ours, enabling us to better educate the market and make connections on a personal level. Find a relationship-driven resource that your team buys into and has quick and easy adoption, then run with it.
Don’t Make Assumptions
While we’re all guilty of assuming we already know what our customers want, I challenge you to attack selling the business community with a zero-assumption persistence. Why? Because when you’re in the business of selling to a business, you need to listen first and talk second.
Take the time to understand the business, the audiences they appeal to, and the challenges they’re having. You’ll probably surprise them with your creativity on why [Your Company] is the ultimate solution to their business challenge.
If you have any tips or best practices on selling to the business community, I would love to connect. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Roy A. Tewell III is the Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service for DC United.