By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Ken Troupe, Principal of KT Sports Marketing and host of #social4tixsales Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. EST on Twitter. Heralded by his fellow colleagues as a “consummate professional and a natural leader,” Ken has over 20 years of successful ticket sales experience in all facets of the sports industry. As someone who has always taken the best and most calculated next step in his career, Ken is an advocate for ticket sales and their importance in the sports landscape. He was gracious enough to offer up his time and insight into the ticket sales world, how you should approach an entry-level position and why selling tickets come down to creating and cultivating relationships.
From being a student intern at Houston McLane, to now running your own consulting firm. What has your sports business journey been like thus far?
I’m proud everyday of what I have done. From the time I was 17, I knew I wanted to work in sports. A lot of stops throughout my career have been by design. I knew I wanted to set myself up for success so I went about it in ways that I knew would lead me to that success.
One of the biggest things I have learned throughout my career is that getting from point A to point B is not a straight line. I have really adapted to my original strategy of turning myself into a more marketable and well-rounded sports business professional.
Ticket sales are where many students get their start. You have a large background in ticket sales. What drew you to that aspect of sports and what tips do you have for students wanting to get into that area?
I didn’t know anything about selling when I started. I just knew I wanted to treat people how I wanted to be treated.
It is definitely one of the entry points in sports business. It’s a great place to network, meet people and find out everything you can about how the organization works.
Ticket sales are the face of the organization. It is one of the few areas where people can call and actually have someone answer the phone.
Ticket sales gets looked down upon a lot, but everything hinges on the success that part of the business. It is a very critical position for the overall success of the organization and I think it is often overlooked.
You founded #social4ticket sales. What was the driving force behind putting it together, and what do you think has been so beneficial about it?
I love social media. It is a relationship-based tool, which makes it very powerful. With Twitter, I saw the ability to develop, share and build a way to share best practices and I knew it was something I wanted to do. We started about the same time as #sbchat. There weren’t a lot of twitter chats out there at the time. The first one was basically me throwing it out there and hoping someone would engage. It seemed like a natural outlet to network and share best practices and has been truly beneficial in multiple aspects.
Finish this sentence for me, “My first job in sports…”
Made me wish I had better penmanship. For the first six weeks of my career, I filled out certified mail cards and sent out 4,000 Jeff Bagwell bats. I had to handwrite the cards and it made me really wish I had better penmanship.
What has been the hardest consulting challenge you have faced in your sports business career? How did it help you grow?
My first ever-consulting job was my hardest. One of my responsibilities was helping middle managers grow and be more successful. One of them was great, but one really pushed me away. It was hard to find the common ground needed to get on the same level with him.
One of the hardest things is to manage people. Once you have given your staff the skills they need to succeed, you need to be able to step back and let them develop their own style and run with it. You have to give them the opportunity to grow and be successful. It was one of the hardest things for me to grasp, but once I did, I was able to teach and mange more effectively and efficiently.
Four things every ticket sales person needs to know are?
Get experience now. It is never too early to start learning what people like and don’t like about going to a venue.
Be well-rounded and likable. You need to have a good base and good work life balance.
Think outside the box. Be someone who doesn’t need to be spoon-fed on how to be successful.
Don’t be a super fan.
Believe in yourself and believe that you are going to be successful. Pick a goal and just do it. If you have belief in yourself and have a goal, you will be successful.
You have to go wherever needed to get your first job in sports. The hardest part about this business is to get in.
Selling tickets really comes down to creating relationships, selling people tickets they want to buy and giving them great customer service.
With a great personality and helpful attitude, Ken has transferred his extensive knowledge and desire to help others to become a true servant leader. To him, “the people who work in ticket sales are the face of the franchise and need to be treated as such.” We would like to thank him for his time and insight and wish him the best in his future endeavors!