February 5, 2019 - Episode 20

Sports Sponsorships and Professional Selling with Ryan Helfrick Part 2

Jake and Mirela are joined by Ryan Helfrick from the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryan is a sales professional with a marketing degree in the sports marketing industry. He has also worked with FC Dallas in the MLS and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. Ryan has a deep understanding of how sports intersects with marketing. We’ll discuss how businesses can benefit from sports sponsorships. Ryan will also share some of his tips and tricks to succeeding at professional selling.


Episode Transcript

Jake Braun:
Welcome to Kickin’ it with Kapok, a podcast about business stories and marketing advice. I’m Jake.
Mirela Setkic:
And I’m Mirela.
Jake Braun:
This is episode 20, “Sports Sponsorships and Professional Selling with Ryan Helfrick Part 2”. Today we finishing up our conversation with Ryan Helfrick of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Tampa Bay Rays. Just to remind everyone Ryan knows a lot about sports, marketing and how they intersect. If you haven’t already listened to episode 19, you may want to listen to that episode first. Otherwise, let’s get back to our conversation with Ryan.
Ryan Helfrick:
To be able to work with multiple individuals that are like minded, that are passionate about sports, who love what you love, who have the same type of interests, they come from all different walks of life, it makes it fun, interesting, you learn new things each and every day, so it's great.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, I'm kind of jealous of this job that Ryan has, go ahead Jake.
Jake Braun:
We've mentioned these sponsorships, maybe some of the people out there don't really understand what a sponsorship is. We knew a little bit about what we were getting ourselves into, but until we had a conversation with you, maybe we didn't understand exactly how a sponsorship works, and why it's good marketing.
Mirela Setkic:
Well I kind of knew, cause I went to business school, I took some classes.
Ryan Helfrick:
Mirela throwing fire.
Mirela Setkic:
Well I don't want people thinking that
Jake Braun:
I also went to business school.
Mirela Setkic:
I was just kidding!
Jake Braun:
I know you have an MBA but.
Ryan Helfrick:
Wow.
Mirela Setkic:
I'm just kidding, I just didn't want people to think like we don't know anything so good.
Jake Braun:
I do know what a sponsorship was it was really just leading question to the viewers out there who maybe don't know, who didn't go to business school, maybe we can tell them a little bit about what a sponsorship is and why it's a good marketing tactic.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, absolutely, so, and I know sometimes I refer to it as sponsorship, I'd like to refer to it, and I should get this into my vocabulary.
Jake Braun:
Partnership?
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, it's a partnership, right? Because we want it to be a mutually beneficial relationship, at the end of the day it's a different type of advertising, right? So think of this as, when I'm selling sponsorships, right, or partnerships, it typically comes out of a company's marketing budget, right?
Mirela Setkic:
Right, yeah.
Ryan Helfrick:
How are they gonna advertise, who are they looking to advertise to, and when it comes to professional sports, when we sell sponsorship packages, or partnership packages, it's really focused on getting your brand in front of the masses, right? And it really needs to make sense for the company as well, so are the people who are attending Rowdies games, is that who your target market is, right? So our demographic might be a little bit different than the Ray's demographic, and a little bit different than the Buck's demographic, and a little bit different than the Lightning demographic. So we're very unique in the sense that the demographic that attends Rowdies games, you have a lot of young professionals who live in downtown Saint Pete, a lot of entrepreneurs, you have a lot of young families with kids that play youth soccer, youth sports, but then you also have a lot of small business owners, and a lot of corporations that buy seats, or season tickets
to entertain clients, or to use to reward their employees, so you're getting in front of variety of individuals, right, so it allows companies to advertise to these different demographics, and they're certain things that some partners will do that focus directly on the young professionals, right? So a bar or restaurant might focus on promoting drink specials at the game, so one of our partners, if you bring your ticket to their location after the game, you get a free drink, right? And all of their signage around the stadium, it reflects that offer, right, it's to drive traffic to their establishment, some of our national brands, for them it's more about just getting eyeballs on their brand, right, getting their logo out there as much as possible, so when you're driving down the highway on the way home from work at night, and you're thinking okay, I gotta go to the grocery store and pick something up to eat or to drink while I watch the game tonight, what am I thinking about, right? So it's all about imp
ressions, so whether it's beverage, whether it's food, whatever it might be right, and then there's other companies like Kapok Marketing right, digital advertising agency, right, with different arms.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah and in our case we just kinda wanted to build our brand within the local community and not only, yeah of course we want to target you know, small business decision makers, but we also wanted just the entire Saint Pete, or Tampa Bay area to know that we exist.
Ryan Helfrick:
And it's a great way to get your name out there.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, yeah.
Ryan Helfrick:
You have every game, you have over 6,000 people in a building with eyeballs watching the field, right, the field of play, but with signage all around it, right, so the visibility that you receive with that, the ability to get in front of that many people at one time, 17 different times throughout the year is great, and now just the way that advertising works, right, like our social media platforms, right, we have one of the best followings in the USL, so that's the league that the Rowdies play in, being able to post things and tag KPAC marketing, right, whether it's trivia Tuesday where you get people interacting, following your Facebook page, and just getting your name out there, people start to become familiar with that. I can't tell you how many times last year the people who won the trivia Tuesday, the tickets and the swag bags, you know they would say I never heard of KPAC marketing, and then the next time I'd see them at a game they'd say you
know what, I went to their website afterwards and I checked it out just to see what they're about, right, and that's what it's about, it's to drive traffic. they might not become, they may never become customers, right.
Mirela Setkic:
But that's okay.
Ryan Helfrick:
And that's okay.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah.
Ryan Helfrick:
They may never buy something or become a customer even within a year or two, but it's all about repetition, getting your brand in front of individuals. Maybe they speak to somebody and they're saying, maybe their friend's a small business owner or just a business owner in general and they're saying hey listen we need some help, you know, in our digital space, you know, just through casual conversation, somebody might say hey listen, I go to the Rowdies game all the time, I'm a season ticket holder, I see signage for this Kapok Marketing, I'm not quite sure what they do but check them out.
Jake Braun:
People talk to each other.
Mirela Setkic:
People do, and there's also a little bit of a cool factor to it too, to tell someone oh, I'm sponsoring this local team and it feels kind of nice to tell people and so.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, absolutely.
Mirela Setkic:
I think it's a little bit cool, maybe a lot cool, I don't know.
Jake Braun:
And I think branding is underrated amongst, especially amongst small businesses, there's a reason all of the biggest company are engaged in branding campaigns.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, but I think it's not taken as seriously a lot of times because it's so intangible. And a lot of small businesses think like, I have x number of dollars to spend, I want to know exactly how much money I'm getting in return for this. And in terms of brandings, you might not get any of that back, it's just, you're just building equity in your brand.
Jake Braun:
There are metrics you can follow, and we make sure to ask like, a lot of people though even mention, oh you've been to a Rowdies game, did you see you know our advertising and stuff like that, or people we interview, you know, and you can get and idea about you know.
Ryan Helfrick:
Absolutely.
Mirela Setkic:
You can get an idea but you, it doesn't always translate to sales, or to close deals, and that's okay.
Ryan Helfrick:
And I think that's why at the end of the day, as we go through our sales process, especially when it comes to corporate partnerships and professional sports, the biggest thing is learning your customers needs, right, what are your marketing objectives, what are you looking to accomplish with this, and then based on what you're telling me, this is how we can help you meet your goals, or reach your goals, right, and I think if you do that, and you do it well, and you listen, it really, everybody thinks sales comes down to presenting and talking.
Mirela Setkic:
It's listening.
Ryan Helfrick:
It's listening, right, my boss once told me, he said you have two ears one mouth, use them proportionately, right?
Mirela Setkic:
That's true.
Ryan Helfrick:
So just think about it, and then I think the other thing is when it just comes to speaking to clients, right, ones that say hey listen, we only have this much money in our budget we don't know if we want to use it here if we want to use it at all, right, just something that I have used in the past, I don't use it with every client, right, it needs to be the, if I feel strongly that they are a good fit for what we're doing, my response to that will be what's your, what's a client worth to you?
Mirela Setkic:
Most people don't know that though, it's a dangerous question.
Ryan Helfrick:
It is a dangerous question right? But it's kind of like okay, if through this advertising arm you know, using the Rowdies, if I can help get your name out there and let's say you advertise with us whether it's one year or for five years, right, let's say your overall investment over a five year period, let's just say is 100,000 dollars, but in the ten year long, in the next ten years, you end up generating 300,000 dollars from advertising at Rowdies, because you got one new customer, who has become a repeat customer who has introduced you to other customers.
Mirela Setkic:
Which is the best type of customer.
Ryan Helfrick:
Right, referrals, right, would you do it? If you, you know, of course you'd do it. 100%, but that's the thing, people sometimes, people get, it's a risk, right, I don't know if that's the best move for me, right, so that's where it's a saturated market, you have opportunities to advertise with other professional sports teams, you have opportunities to advertise through other channels.
Mirela Setkic:
I know!
Ryan Helfrick:
So it's really what makes the most sense, what makes the most sense not only for the company, but for their marketing objectives, for their budget, and if you listen, you know, you'll be able to put something together that hopefully helps them out. Listen, at the end of the day, if I'm not helping a client out, and they're going to come back to me the next year or two years later and say this wasn't a good fit for us, thanks but no thanks, then I didn't do my job, right? So that's a reflection on me, right, do you sense the pressure though I'm putting on Kapok Marketing?
Mirela Setkic:
Ryan I'm sensing it but I'm like tough flan dawn, I'm not like
Ryan Helfrick:
I know you are.
Mirela Setkic:
That stuff is like falling off.
Jake Braun:
Mirela's gonna sell you onto something in this process.
Ryan Helfrick:
Good.
Mirela Setkic:
I've been reading that Zig Ziglar. No but, I have, I actually read his book like back in the day and I thought it was awesome.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, he's really good.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, but some of.
Ryan Helfrick:
He's old school, some of it's a little cheesey.
Mirela Setkic:
But like the gist of it I think is legit so.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, absolutely.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, do we want to talk about anything else in terms of sponsorships, or.
Jake Braun:
No if you have any questions.
Mirela Setkic:
Well I guess we should talk about like professional selling and like, what is it, and what is Ryan's secret selling sauce you talked about you know listening, and you know looking for what the client wants and so, what is professional selling?
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah so really when I speak to any client regardless to who they are, business, an individual, and I guess the third bucket that I throw into there which really is business but is non-profit organization, right, is I think about what are people looking to achieve each and every day. So it sounds like an easy question, but then if I said, write down what somebody's looking to achieve each and every day, right, you might get five or ten things, right, but if you really think about it you could get hundreds for each one, right so, one thing that I was taught when I first got into ticket sales and professional selling, what's something that people want to achieve? They want to be happy everyday.
Mirela Setkic:
True.
Ryan Helfrick:
They want to spend quality time, usually with the people they enjoy being around, right, they want to have a good time, but most people want to save money while they're having a good time, right, so these are just some examples, right, of an individual, non-profit organization, or somebody who runs a non-profit organization, they obviously wanna collect donations, they want to get their name out there, they want exposure in the community, they want like good reputation in the community, that's a big thing, right, if you talk about a business, maybe that want to expand their footprint, maybe they want to increase sales, decrease costs, I mean these are just some of the obvious ones, right? But regardless of what we sell, and regardless of what package we put together, whether I'm in sports sponsorship sales, whether I'm in insurance sales, whether I'm in real estate, right, you can focus on each of those different areas with individuals, right, so i
f you focus on those things and hone in on them, right, and you explain to somebody, because you can do a good job listening to maybe, to where there's some gaps and where you can help out, but if I can help you have a fun time with your family members or with your friends that you want to spend quality time with at a Rowdies game and help you save money, right, and we're hitting three or four different things that you're looking to achieve daily, then I can sell you, right, at the end of the day, if I'm speaking to a business that's looking to expand their footprint, right, beat the competition, maybe even increase the size of their company, well how do you increase the size of their, your company, you gotta sell, right, you need money coming in in order to bring in more people, to continue to grow, so growth of the company right, if I can focus on some of those specific areas as I listen to what they have to say, then I think there's a really good chance that if you address each of those things you can
sell an individual, right, so I wouldn't say, a lot of people think sales is like this scripted outline, right, you go in and it's like.
Mirela Setkic:
You hit your points and then.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah I'm going to pitch somebody on that, right?
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah.
Ryan Helfrick:
When you can always tell if you've bought life insurance or health insurance before, they don't just come in and say this is the best option for you, they ask you like 30 questions, they get to know you, think of yourself almost like a doctor, you go to the doctor, if I just went into the doctor and waited in the doctors office, doctor comes in and says, okay, good seeing you today, heres a prescription, of course they don't just give you a prescription, right, they need to know what's hurting, what's your ailments, what are your symptoms, they might ask you know, your dietary issues over the last maybe, for me it's dietary issues cause I eat unhealthy.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah Ryan likes spring rolls and ice cream or whatever.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah I'm a foodie, I have a sweet tooth, so but, my point is at the end of the day, you have to ask a lot of questions, you have to know the client, you almost want to know the client as well as, you're never gonna know it as much as they know their product, but you wanna know as much as possible, and if you understand where they're coming from, their wants, their needs, their struggles, really it's just, how can I help you with your wants, your needs, your struggles, and filling in those gaps, and then all of a sudden you're building a relationship with the individual.
Mirela Setkic:
That's it.
Ryan Helfrick:
You're building a rapport, and at the end of the day it's all about relationships. People aren't gonna buy from me if they don't like me, if they don't trust me, and if there's not some type of rapport relationship there. So by the time we get to the sales process, to the, I shouldn't say the sales process, that's part of it, the presentation, it's almost not really a presentation in terms of like, getting up, it's like the movies which show getting up in front of somebody and having this huge PowerPoint like, you can still put that together for them to look over, but it's really just the conversation, Mirela and Jake this is how I think we can help you, right, and filling in the gaps based on what you told me, and if they come back with, I'm not quite sure about this, right, I don't know if this necessarily makes sense, then I will revert to and go back to okay well, based on our conversation you said this this and this, so maybe I'm missing somet
hing.
Mirela Setkic:
So it's back on us now.
Ryan Helfrick:
Is there something, no but is there something else that I'm missing, right, maybe I didn't dig deep enough in a certain area, so that's kind of how the process works out, but at the end of the day it's relationships.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah it's true, I recently read in some book, oh actually I think it was this book, The Art of Choosing, and it talks about how every single person wants other people to see them the way that they see themselves, and that's like the biggest thing and the most important thing for everyone, so if you can make someone feel like you see them the way that they see themselves, they love you. And now they're like, you're one of their favorite people and they wanna do business with you, so I'm guessing that sales is kind of a little bit like that.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah and it's interesting, you know a lot of times when you first meet with an individual, you know they have their guard up and their walls are up and the first time you sit down with them it's, the conversation, not saying that it's awkward, but you can almost tell like, this person doesn't trust me, right, but as you start opening up about yourself, right, asking questions and showing that I really have an interest in you, I don't want to just talk about me, I'm not here to talk about me, I'm here to learn about you, there isn't one person that I've ever met that doesn't like talking about themselves. At the end of the day, right?
Mirela Setkic:
Because really we're all selfish deep down.
Ryan Helfrick:
And it's not, but it's not only that, it's that if you're in, you know you meet with somebody they have their guard up, they don't know what to talk about because you don't know, they might not know what they even have in common with you, or is this guy just trying to sell me something, right, and just get my money? So if I start asking about you, and learning about you, and showing an interest in you, and learning a little bit about your background, maybe where you went to school or your upbringing or, I mean one of my favorite things about this job is when I meet with an owner, like how did you get to where you are, right, tell me your story. Because that's something that, you know, I'm trying to learn something new each and every day as well, and I just think that that's a very important part of the process, right?
Mirela Setkic:
That's true.
Ryan Helfrick:
So if you show interest in them, if you ask good questions and really you put them first, then you get them talking, you kind of break the ice, you start to build the trust and reputation.
Mirela Setkic:
So do you think that these things also apply to a very small like mom and pop store who's, that's selling like cookies and ice cream and like, can like small business owners take this and make something out of it I guess?
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah, I think so, I mean look at so many small mom pop stores along central avenue, right, they have customers that probably are repeat customers each and every day, loyal customers. And I would say most of them are going in there one, there's probably a product that they like, but two, they feel comfortable, it's the way that they're treated, maybe the way that they're greeted, the relationship that they have with the individuals. Listen, I go to Kahwa coffee all the time, right, all the time.
Mirela Setkic:
I can make coffee here but.
Ryan Helfrick:
I know you can.
Mirela Setkic:
It's not banana bread.
Ryan Helfrick:
But there's I feel bad saying this, there's one guy there, I don't even know his name, which is really sad, since I'm a sales guy,
Mirela Setkic:
He's gonna be watching this right now.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yeah right, but I go there every morning and we talk about the same thing every morning, it's almost like an update, he recaps me on what happened the night before in sports.
Mirela Setkic:
And you don't know his name?
Ryan Helfrick:
No, we just talk.
Mirela Setkic:
Okay so tomorrow when you go in you gotta ask him for his name, okay?
Ryan Helfrick:
I will, but by the time I get to the counter he has my coffee, ready to go, like he knows what I want, I enjoy the people in there, I see people that I know in there, I enjoy the vibe, I support local businesses, right, so it's one of those things where yeah, I think it applies to everyone and anyone whether you're in a large corporation, a small business, even if you just work for yourself, by yourself, right, you have customers, one because you have a product that they need, but two because of you.
Mirela Setkic:
Because of you, yeah, if you are a no good person no one wants to be associated with that.
Ryan Helfrick:
I don't wanna work with you.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, unless you're like a monopoly and no one else has.
Jake Braun:
You're a powerplant?
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah.
Ryan Helfrick:
Unless you have something that I really really need.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah it's like okay.
Ryan Helfrick:
Or want, and it's like okay I'll deal with it heres the card.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, but other than that like you really have to like the person and, but yeah I'm just like you I mean I can make coffee here in our break room but when that three o'clock for me hits, I'm like oh my god I really want like a Kahwa or like a Craft Cafe coffee and some type of a dessert and I go and I spend my money and it's, it's just something, I enjoy the experience, and so you're right.
Ryan Helfrick:
So I think it really does, it really applies to anyone and everyone who's involved in business, right? And relationships it's something, some people are good at relationships, some people aren't good at relationships, right, but at the end of the day it's really treating others how you want to be treated, you know just think if you go to a social event, it always feels good once somebody approaches you, introduces themself to you if you don't know anyone.
Mirela Setkic:
Like takes the pressure off.
Ryan Helfrick:
Yep, and starts asking questions about yourself, right, instead of going to an event where there's, which we know, right, going to that working events, you have all your little cliques, which you know, that happens, and that's fine, but if I go to that event, somebody just comes up to me an they're just talking about themself the whole time it's like, who's this guy?
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly.
Ryan Helfrick:
But somebody comes up to me starts asking me questions about what I do, all of a sudden I'm like oh, there's a comfort level there, right, and then you start talking to them and you learn about them, next thing you know they're introducing you to other individuals and that's business, right? It's doing business with people that you know, you like, you enjoy.
Mirela Setkic:
Otherwise it's just miserable.
Ryan Helfrick:
It is, life's too short to be miserable.
Mirela Setkic:
You're right, you're right, oh my gosh, well is there anything else that we should have talked about?
Jake Braun:
I don't know, is there anything we should have asked you about but we haven't?
Ryan Helfrick:
No.
Mirela Setkic:
Do you wanna talk more about yourself and like tell us more stuff since we talked about how people like talking about themselves?
Ryan Helfrick:
See you have to ask me open end questions right?
Mirela Setkic:
No, okay.
Jake Braun:
Alright, so if someone wanted to get in touch with you or they were interested in doing a sponsorship with the Rowdies or the Ray's or if anyone out there you know, is interested in any of that stuff, how would they get in touch with you?
Ryan Helfrick:
Yep, so they can contact me via my email or my office line, so my office line is 727-318-1131, and my email is r helfrick, hel, as in Larry, f as in Frank, rick, at rowdiessoccer.com. And if you're on rowdiessoccer.com website all my contact information's on there under staff and you can reach out to me.
Mirela Setkic:
They can also find you on Linkedin I think.
Ryan Helfrick:
And you can also find me on Linkedin.
Mirela Setkic:
I think that's the only social media place that you're on.
Ryan Helfrick:
People have tried stalking me you can't find any info on me, not going to.
Mirela Setkic:
But I have a feeling that you have secret profiles under like Bob Smith or something.
Ryan Helfrick:
That is incorrect However I am on Linkedin quite often so, and I even encourage individuals to just if they have questions about business in general, not saying that I know all on it, right, I'm far from knowing everything that I need to know, but you know, if you have questions regarding breaking into professional sports industry, if it sounds fun or something that would be of interest to you just learning more about how the business works, the ins and outs of it from a professional sports standpoint, I'm more than happy to speak with you. If you're interested in a partnership I'm even more interested in speaking with you.
Mirela Setkic:
Now that we're talking money.
Jake Braun:
Alright well thanks for joining us today Ryan, I think you've provided everyone a lot of useful information.
Ryan Helfrick:
Thank you.
Mirela Setkic:
Thank you Ryan, this was good, hopefully we have some good material otherwise we're gonna have to do this again.
Ryan Helfrick:
Alright, sounds good.
Jake Braun:
Alright that's it.
Mirela Setkic:
Alright let's wrap this up.
Jake Braun:
With that, I think it’s been a great 19th episode. We’d like to again thank Ryan Helfrick from the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Tampa Bay Rays for joining us today.
If you’re enjoying the podcast, please make sure you’ve subscribed. Also we’d be very grateful if you could leave us a rating or review on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcast. It really helps us out a lot.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments about anything we talked about today or marketing in general. You can visit us on our website, KickinItWithKapok.com, or on social media. We're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as Kapok Marketing.
This has been Kickin’ it with Kapok brought to you by Kapok Marketing. Thanks for listening. We’ll have something just as great for you next time.