When you’re searching for a lucrative career, you might be overlooking one of the best opportunities — sports sales jobs.
Several sports employers are hiring, including sports media companies, networks, entertainment groups, and professional teams. In other words, no matter what employer you’re interested in and what sport you’re a fan of, sports sales jobs are waiting for you.
Here’s what you need to know to work in sports sales jobs:
Those who excel in sales have several unique skills. The most important one is communication, both written and verbal. You need to know how to speak specifically to your customers’ needs.
To be persuasive, fully understand your customer and empathize with their situation. When they feel understood, they’re more likely to continue to engage with you. Then, you can be specific about how you want to help them.
Another skill you need is active listening. Don’t just wait for your time to speak. Instead, truly listen, repeat and show your level of understanding to the customer. Then, ask any follow-up questions for clarification.
You also need to be persistent, exercise critical thinking, and have a strong understanding of your subject matter and the products and services you’re selling. When you combine all these skills, you’re ready to succeed in a sports sales career.
Some employers offer training that is specific to what their organization is selling. For example, the Major League Soccer (MLS) National Sales Center provides two-to-five month programs, including unique training like improv classes. These techniques help trainees learn basic sales techniques, feel comfortable being uncomfortable, and build confidence in themselves.
No matter where you are in your career, sales experience is incredibly valuable. In fact, as our 2017 survey found, 30 percent of employers said the first thing they look for is relevant experience.
Even if you’re just entering the workforce, you realize the value of building experience. However, this can be hard. The best advice is the simplest — get yourself out there.
Look for any kind of entry-level sales work so you can start to learn the basics of selling. Even if you’re not working in sports, you’re still building transferable skills.
As you gain experience, start networking with other sports professionals. Join professional organizations and attend events to start building meaningful relationships with your peers and industry thought leaders.
When you build a rapport, try to identify a mentor who can guide you through your career. Your ideal mentor holds a position you want in the future.
For example, if you want to be a sales director for the NFL, connect with sales directors in sports. They will be a model for you, teaching you what they learned, sharing their struggles with you, and helping you define and achieve your professional goals.
Additionally, dedicate time to learning about the sales process through resources like Coursera and Udemy. These online programs are often inexpensive and flexible, so you can continue to learn at your own pace during your free time.
For example, Coursera offers Sales Strategies: Mastering the Selling Process. This can help you better understand how to filter target lists, develop important questions, write proposals, and manage meaningful sales conversations.
How to Earn Sports Sales Jobs
Sports sales jobs exist everywhere. One of the biggest fields is ticketing, but you can also work for other companies in the world of sports apparel, equipment, memorabilia, and fitness.
The toughest part is learning how to stand out amid the competition. Bottom line: If you build skills and gain experience, you’re well-suited for a career in sports. The trick is learning how to promote this to potential employers.
According to our survey, 84 percent of employers say a cover letter is crucial for candidates to demonstrate their value proposition. Use your cover letter as a chance to share stories about your experiences and what you learned from them.
Even if you don’t have experience, you still have a good chance of landing sports sales jobs. Three out of four employers said they don’t consider those without relevant experience unless they provide evidence demonstrating how their skills are transferable to the prospective role, according to our survey. In other words, just focus on highlighting transferable skills.
By tailoring your cover letter and resume to the role and staying engaged with prospective employers, you’re ready to start your career in sports. In the meantime, continue to network and seek learning opportunities.
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