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Volume 23 No. 18
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Plugged In: Lance Tyson

Lance Tyson is founder and CEO of PRSPX, a sales training and performance management company with a focus on professional sports. Tyson trains, motivates and helps build successful sales staffs for a variety of sports clients, including some of the industry’s biggest brands in the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and San Francisco 49ers. It’s a fast-changing industry given teams’ ever-increasing demand to sell high-priced, premium-seating products, sponsorships and tickets while using analytics in every area of their sales operation. Tyson founded his own sales training company in 2010 after doing sales training with the Philadelphia Eagles and later added the Cleveland Cavaliers as a client. He now runs PRSPX out of Columbus, Ohio, with a staff of about 15 employees.

  Teams struggle with all the analytical data they have and they pile it on the sales person. It slows the sales person down.

The biggest issues teams face in training their sales employees: Most teams ask their sales staff to do way too much. They will take a person in inside sales who can absolutely grind and sell tickets and pound it out and promote those folks to sell business to business. It’s a hard transition. It’s an afterthought and that makes it hard. Try selling a suite to Merrill Lynch. A lot of the skills don’t transfer. You have to be savvy.

His sales training approach: Training is not an event, it’s a process. In pro sports, you’ve got a pocket of trainers with PowerPoint presentations. We focus on management first. We drill for oil from the top down. We also do a lot of assessments where we partner with an industry psychologist. We are trying to understand a team’s sales processes and their business issues.

The toughest sale in sports: It is the suite. Sponsorship people would tell you it’s a sponsor, but you can ready-make a sale to fit a sponsorship deal. There are so many ways you can form fit around it. But nobody really needs a suite. It’s an expensive proposition. You have to be a very profitable company to afford it. It’s a finite audience and a long sales cycle and there isn’t a lot of room for negotiation.

The increasing use of analytics in sales: It’s a weird blend of having all these analytics teams and marketing teams and trying to get all this knowledge of a customer and then blending it with sales. It’s hard for sales people to take all this information and integrate all of that into a sales process. Teams struggle with all the analytical data they have and they pile it on the sales person. It slows the sales person down. The biggest mistake is that the analytics folks and sales people trust the data too much. They make judgement calls before they actually talk to somebody.

                                                                                                                           — John Lombardo