Like many executives in the sports industry today, Matthew DiFebo, Manager of Inside Sales for the Seattle SuperSonics, received his start in ticket sales. “Even though a person may not stay in sales their entire career, they gain invaluable skills and experience that they can take with them in anything they decide to pursue.”
Matthew takes his responsibilities very seriously and realizes that being successful as a Sales Manager is having a genuine respect for each and every person on his staff. “I truly believe that respect begets success. Like many jobs, ours can be very demanding. It would be detrimental to approach it any other way,” says DiFebo.
After receiving his Masters Degree in Sports Management from the University of Florida in December of 2002, DiFebo joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Baseball Team in January of 2003 as Manager of Inside Sales. His responsibilities were to train, lead and motivate the inside sales staff as well as supervising the sales associate staff.
Just six months after working with Tampa Bay, the Seattle Supersonics were looking for someone to run a similar program and Matthew was just the one for the job.
“Something I strive for each and every day is to make a positive impact for the organization. As an Inside Sales Staff, our primary purpose is to generate revenue through season and package ticket sales.” Matt says the key to that success lies in hiring the right people and continually working to develop their talent.
When someone approaches DiFebo for a position as an Inside Sales Representative, lack of sales experience does not automatically hurt their chances of getting hired. “Constant training combined with effort and commitment will cure any lack of sales experience. Candidates with a demonstrated desire to work in sports have the best chance of getting hired.”
Matt breaks his position into three separate roles: leader, manager and trainer/coach. “As a leader, my primary function is to keep the staff motivated day in and day out. As manager, I have typical administrative responsibilities such as reporting on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, conducting meetings and getting involved in sales and marketing strategies. Finally, as a trainer and coach, I work with my staff to help develop their skills daily.”
Training is probably the most important part of Matt’s job. “One thing that often gets neglected in sales is constant training and teaching. Sales people often find themselves so busy trying to sell that they forget the importance of training. One of the real joys of my job is working closely with individuals to find ways to continually improve their skills.”
Additionally, listening to and understanding the requests and needs of the guests is what drives Matthew and helps to build a successful sales team. “Creating relationships with our fans is paramount to a successful sales effort. Respecting and valuing those relationships is the underpinning of everything that we do.”
If you are looking to “Work in Sports”, DiFebo says showing commitment is a very strong quality that goes a long way. “Whether it is a degree in sports management, sport marketing, business administration with an emphasis in sport management, or even a history of work and/or volunteer experience for sports organizations, these are the things that most hiring officials look for.”