Garrett Sawyer * Management Major
* Sport Business Management Minor
* Graduated from UCF in Fall 2013
* Current Career: Account Executive, Corporate Sales at Daytona International Speedway LinkedIn
Question #1 for Garrett: What advice would you give to current students who want to work in the sport industry?
Do not be afraid to fail. I cannot stress that enough. I operated out of fear after making some crucial mistakes during my first two years in the sports industry. When you operate out of fear and are afraid to make mistakes, they happen more often. You have to be willing to be a sponge; we always think we know everything but in reality we don’t. Do not be afraid to ask questions and admit that you don’t know the answer; people will respect honesty, integrity and the willingness to learn 100% of the time.
The sports industry is fun; don’t ever forget that we work in an industry where people come to enjoy themselves. When you lose sight of that very simple fact, things will not go well.
In summary: Listen actively, always look to learn/grow from mistakes and other people, don’t be afraid to fail, and have fun!
Question #2 for Garrett: In terms of developing skill sets and preparing for a job, what advice do you have for current students interested Corporate Sales?
The business of corporate partnerships, sales and hospitality requires a very basic, yet difficult skill set to master. The one problem that I’ve always had and continue to work on is the ability to “listen actively.” The stereotypical millennial does not have the ability to listen and retain information when suggesting or applying a concept, solution, or strategy. You must also be able to convey your ideas, solutions and thoughts in a powerful and persuasive manner through verbal and written communication (grammar is paramount).
In my business, there is an 8-step process.
1) Researching: actively prospect leads through various business journals, articles, websites, market trends, or even other sports teams while gaining a basic understanding of their business model, key customers, clients and marketing objectives
2) Preparing: continuing research and preparing a list of questions and strategies that will help identify how you can help solve their marketing, client entertainment and growth strategy objectives
3) Qualifying: figuring out which prospects in your pipeline are going to be worth pursuing; we don’t have the luxury of “spinning our wheels” and wasting time on people who don’t require/need our services or partnership opportunities
4) Approaching: find the correct person to speak with and can point you in the direction of a decision maker to move the prospect forward
5) Discovering: speaking and listening to the prospect about their needs, objectives and goals…then finding a platform that will create value for them. You are not “pitching” you are actively finding a solution together that will benefit both
6) Proposing: convey your solution through powerful and persuasive verbal and written communication. It should be a logical outcome of the discovery process that attacks the problems and objectives your client is looking for.
7) Execute: Close. At the end of the day you need to make the sale. Negotiate and solidify details are very important to ensure your solution is executed correctly.
8) Follow up: always be “drip selling” or speaking to prospects and current clients. Always be building rapport and nurturing relationships or people will view you as somebody only looking for the next sale.