Converting Secondary-Market Sales to Primary Customers

“Recently, I was visiting a National Hockey League (NHL) partner on the west coast. After a quick meeting regarding our business with them he offered me a tour of their arena. I have always been a student of the “Stadium/Arena sales tour game”, and quickly welcomed the chance to see the ins and outs of an Arena I had never been in before. Our partner gave a very informative tour, highlighting the pros and cons of each seating category and accessing my needs as if I were a potential new customer for him. He answered questions professionally and eloquently and was not pushy at all. Now this was probably because my company already distributes seats in his arena or maybe that is just how he has perfected his pitch. Either way, it was a very well put together sales tour.

Working within ticketing, this was definitely a highlight for me as we very rarely get to experience the perks of our purchases. We analyze margins, upside and demand and then combine those factors with our own data and analytics to make a buying decision for the potential resale value on ticketing marketplaces.

I knew the margins that these seats generate and as a past primary market seller I always catch myself thinking about the upsell potential of those buyers who attend and sit in our seats. I view these customers as “fish in a barrel” for the aggressive primary seller. I asked our partner “how many of our “customers” he has converted into full season or package buyers”? I was very surprised when he looked at me with an awkward expression on his face and told me that it was not his practice to “poach” our customers. I told him I certainly respected his ethics, but our business model does not necessarily work like that. As partners, part of our job is to drive traffic to your building. We do this by offering a price that a customer is willing to pay for a specific event or game and then make the buying process as seamless and easy for them as possible. What our primary partner then does with that “free” lead is up to them. I recommended to him to approach these buyers on a game by game basis, let them know they partner with a ticket distribution company and then explain to them the benefits of upgrading into a larger package. This should be an ongoing practice for him. He knows that he will potentially see new customers every game and all should be viewed as great opportunities for him and the organization to capitalize on.

As sellers, we all get caught up in finding that new industry, that new company, making the most outbound calls, setting the most appointments etc. How do we stay on top of the leaderboard? I would argue that capitalizing on in-stadium guests that paid a potential premium to go to one game should be close to the top of each primary seller’s target list. The offering of these leads is another example of working together to achieve similar goals and keeping your building full while maximizing every revenue opportunity available!”

– Eric Lapointe, Head of Sports Partnerships at Prolific 1

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