Power Language Creates Confident CustomersPower Language Creates Confident Customers

Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, Milwaukee Brewers

‘Power language comes from confidence.’

More than just chosen words, power language ultimately results from a positive state of mind. Here’s how Billy Friess, senior director of ticket sales for Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, turns his sales team into power hitters.

Your staff members do most of their work over the phone. How do you develop “power language” to help them be successful?

Power language comes from confidence. We are seen as the experts in all things Brewers baseball, so we need to gain the trust of each customer we speak with. We eliminate words such as “just,” “I hope,” “I think,” “maybe,” and others that may make us appear timid, unsure, and ultimately unprofessional. We exude energy through our choice of words, which helps ensure our customers will walk away with a sense of trust and confidence in us. We need to be convinced and excited about our product with every conversation, because if we aren’t, we will miss a potential opportunity to create a relationship and open up a door — not only to a sale for this season, but for many years ahead. If we don’t show excitement about our product, it is highly unlikely that the customer on the other end will show any excitement, either. Using the proper power language with the proper tone is vital to maintaining consistent ticket sales success.

Persuasive Home RunsPersuasive Home Runs

Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, Milwaukee Brewers

‘Being tenacious and resilient helps us create a sense of urgency with our customers.’

Selling season tickets to Major League Baseball games can be a tough job: The season runs throughout the summer months and competes with countless other events; the team may be 15 games back in the standings by mid-May; and there’s approximately 80 home games on the schedule. Add to that the challenge of selling baseball in a state where the Green Bay Packers make the NFL playoffs (almost) every year and the University of Wisconsin Badgers dance to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four, and the job becomes even tougher. Just ask Billy Friess, senior director of ticket sales for the Milwaukee Brewers — a small-market team whose fortunes have taken them from the National League Championship Series one year to the bottom of the standings the following year. Yet golden baseballs and jigsaw puzzles created by Friess’ team have helped convince hesitant season ticket buyers to come on out to the ballpark.

You and your sales team must be both tenacious and resilient. Why are those traits important? And how do develop and encourage those traits in your staff members?

When selling baseball, like many offerings, it is extremely easy for the customer to come up with many reasons for saying “no”. We start selling for the next season in the fall and on into the cold winter months, when baseball may be one of the last things on people’s minds: “It’s football season.” “I’m not sure if we can afford it yet.” “I don’t know if our share partners will be back.” “We need to wait and see what kind of moves the team makes in the offseason.” “I don’t start thinking about baseball until after Jan. 1.”

Many times these objections mask the real objections, which is why we need to listen to our customers and ask the right questions. In most cases, we know we are talking to baseball fans, and they buy on emotion. We need to ask the proper questions to get that emotion out of the customers. Being tenacious and resilient is so important, because it helps us create a sense of urgency with our customers and increase demand for our product.

We’ve sent gold baseballs (representing Carlos Gomez’s Gold Glove Award in 2013) with a message from Carlos that read, “Fall in Glove all over again this Valentine’s Day… Signed with glove, Carlos.” In 2010, we sent a 35-piece puzzle featuring Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun that only had 34 pieces in the box. The missing piece represented the buyer!”

Selling baseball is all about being excited and energized by your product offerings and having that shine though in each conversation, and that has been the difference makers for us. In baseball, if you are successful three out of every ten times at the plate, you’re considered one of the best in the game and many times a future Hall of Famer.