Milwaukee Bucks Lead IntelliShop NBA Season Ticket Study

IntelliShop recently published a syndicated tele-sales study in the January 6th issue SportsBusiness Journal. Our 2013 NBA Season Ticket Agent Study has produced a number of interesting (and often surprising) results. Taken at the highest level, there are three key takeaways; two being quite positive, the third being somewhat concerning:

1. NBA agents are performing better than most call center sales operations, including those of other major sports leagues.

2. NBA agents improved their sales processes and customer handling skills, since the last study (2011).

3. Although the overall picture is positive, there is an alarming gap between the performances of individual teams in how they handle customers.

The primary focus of the mystery callers is to determine whether agents performed key specific processes during the call (ask for the sale, collect contact information, etc.). At the end of the call, however, mystery callers were also asked to shed their evaluator hats and simply compare the overall call-in experience to other telephone sales experiences. The chart below shows that for this overall question, the agents not only scored exceptionally well, but also improved upon what was already an impressive performance in 2011.

Despite that fact that each NBA team is selling essentially the same product (a pair of season tickets), there is an almost alarming gap between the performances of each team. Simply stated, some teams employed telephone agents with absolute best in class sales skills, while others connected prospects to what would more accurately be described as “order takers.”

So what did the Milwaukee Bucks (who blew past their competition) specifically do to generate this type of caller delight? The answer is simple: their ticket agents not only did the right things (processes), they did so in an extremely friendly and engaging way. In terms of processes, the Bucks almost always invited the caller to log onto the website as a reference during the call. They were twice as likely as other NBA teams to invite the caller to come to the arena to look at seat options in person and more likely to ask who the caller will be going to the games with in order to tailor the “pitch” to those needs.

But, as noted above, the Bucks also excelled in “soft side” personal skills. For example, the agent’s “personality” was judged to be “truly exceptional” 90% of the time (more than double the already high NBA average). These high personality ratings for the Bucks were undoubtedly aided by things such as their consistently taking the time to personalize the conversation by talking about things other than the sale at hand.

One of the processes that propelled the Bucks to the top was a consistent effort to stress the benefits of season ticket ownership. This is important given that our callers were “on the fence” about whether to buy season tickets or just to continue on as frequent individual game day purchasers. In particular, the Bucks agents consistently made a significant effort to stress benefits, such as exclusive events for season ticket holders, access to amenities not available to non-season ticket holders, payment plans, and ticket exchange programs.

To get the full-detailed study, which includes summary performace on Reaching an Agent, Needs Assessment, Selling the Benefits of Season Ticket Ownership, and Closing the Sale – please contact

IntelliShop helps companies improve inside tele-sales from many different industries. Give us a call and find out how we can help your company win more sales! – (419) 872-5103

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