By: Amari Dryden, @Amari_Dryden
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Mike Judge, the Senior Account Executive for the Cleveland Browns. For most kids growing up in Cleveland, working for the Browns is a dream come true. He was gracious enough to offer up his wisdom about the world of ticket sales and how attitude and hard work create a culture conducive for success.
What has your journey to becoming the Senior Account Executive for the Cleveland Browns been like since graduating from Cleveland State?
It’s been really exciting. I grew up in Cleveland so working for the Browns is unique. I never envisioned myself being in the sports industry but I was able to team up with one of my friends who left the Cavaliers to pursue a position at the Browns. He was the one who kind of introduced me to getting involved and working in the sports industry, especially with the Browns. It’s been quite exciting. Every day is awesome. I love being a part of it.
There’s not been a day in the past two and a half years that I’ve come into the office and not been excited for what we’re doing and the task at hand. To be able to work for a team that is so well supported and highly followed in terms of the region is pretty awesome.
What inspired you to work in the sports business profession, particularly in sales?
I’m fairly competitive and sales is a naturally competitive position. I love business. I’ve been in different types of sales positions dating back to when I was in high school and college. I knew it would be a great fit and an opportunity to be within the industry and excel.
I think the other thing that drew me to it was the opportunity to work with not only individuals, but businesses in northeastern Ohio. Growing up here and having a background on how things are, it was a no-brainer that I could be able to put some of the connections that I’ve been fortunate enough to have to use within my position.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I feel that we have one of the best cultures. Granted I’ve only been working in one spot but I’ve been talking to folks around other sports teams and I feel like we have such a neat culture. I work with such an incredibly talented group of people, whether it’s those who are on my team or in leadership positions that we have with the Cleveland Browns. They are a big part of it. I absolutely love being a part of something that I really think is first class. Our leadership team is so awesome and so highly invested in what we do and takes the time to really grow individuals.
What are some of the challenges working in sales?
I wouldn’t call them challenges. I would call them learning experiences. Making sure you’re never too high or never too low. You keep an even keel about yourself. Continue to work hard. Sometimes you have to put in the time and make sure you’re setting up the right appointments and making the right phone calls. Those are the most important things. If you can meet your metric, you should be successful within your sales role in the industry. Have a good attitude. Be positive and upbeat and a hard worker. It sounds simple but it’s really the true factor of being in a sales role.
What is your typical day like?
I like to go to work and first reach out to those who I may have missed yesterday, reach out to some new individuals, set up some meetings, and maybe go on a couple meetings I’ve set. Right now my typical day is always changing because training camp is starting. Now we’ve got a couple thousand people coming to our training facility everyday. It’s a neat opportunity to meet people and talk to different individuals in our fan base that live in the area. There really is not a typical day because you never know what’s going to happen and I think that’s the fun part of the sports industry.
What is your ultimate career goal?
I would love to be the president of an organization. We have some really great minds of the business so learning from those who are above me continues to advance my career. My next steps are to hopefully be Manager of Inside Sales and work my way up to Director of Ticket Sales and Service. From there, who knows? There are a lot of different ways I could go about it. But my ultimate career goal is to be the president of an organization.
Most students end up starting in sales. What are some tips for students starting their first ticket sales position?
I would say be a sponge; make sure you take in all the training that you get whether it’s from your direct manager or the training that might be brought in. Work hard. Hit your metrics. Make sure you’re making phone calls and setting up meetings. Be very organized and thorough. Have a great attitude. If you can do those things, there’s no doubt you will sustain a long term career in the sports industry and especially in sales.
When I started out in the sports industry, one thing I always did was to make sure I set meetings or lunches with people. I did this with not only my peers but also senior level people, such as sales representatives, because I wanted to learn from those who had been there before. Setting up meetings with the leadership team so I could learn more about them and how they got to where they are today and making sure I was always learning from those around me was the biggest thing. Also, really enjoy it because, as workers in the sports industry, we’re really fortunate to be a part of something that’s so awesome and should not take it for granted. You have to continue to work hard and try to be the best.
We would like to thank Mike for his time and insight and we wish him the best in all his future endeavors!