I recently connected with Jay Feaster (NHL Insider on NHL Radio, Blogger for The Hockey News and EVP and GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2002-2008) and asked him the following questions about social media, sales and sports:
1. What impact does social media have on your bi-weeky blog on the The Hockey News (or your work with NHL Live)?
Social media really doesn’t impact my bi-weekly blog for THN.com. I am not a Facebook person and I don’t use Twitter or follow anyone on those social media outlets. I read the newspapers and beat writer blogs from around the NHL, I always check TSN.com, I try to keep up on what Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun and E.J. Hradek write on ESPN.com and I often read HockeyBuzz.com; however, I don’t use the social media sites. I also watch as many games as possible every night and I make it a point to catch NHL on the Fly on NHL Network.
2. From your perspective at the Executive level – what do you most dislike about sales people?
I dislike sales people who don’t understand the product and those who don’t respect the product. I believe the Hockey Operations Dept and the Sales Staff must work together in order for an organization to be successful. However, it is important that the sales staff understands the demands on the players and respects the chain of command. It is also frustrating when the sales personnel treat everyone in the same manner. B/c the demands on the players are so great we need to make sure that it is our VERY BEST customers we are “rewarding” with the special perks of a player’s time, travel with the team, etc. Just as in Las Vegas you won’t see a casino comping the once-in-while customer who gambles a couple hundred dollars, but rather takes care of the true “high rollers,” it needs to be the same in our business. We need to truly reward the very big spenders!
3. What qualities/skills or attributes do you think are required to make a good sales person?
I want our sales people within the organization to be hard-working, honest, bright, knowledgeable, personable, and able to relate to our potential customers. You need to be driven and you need to have a passion for what you are doing.
4. In your day-to-day work as a GM and/or EVP, did social media factor into your work?
It didn’t factor in all that much in Hockey Operations; however, it would be a much bigger factor now than it was prior to my departing the team in July of 2008. The organization needs to use the various social media outlets to its advantage, and were I managing a team now I would certainly utilize the technology. (I would look to Ted Leonsis and the Washington Capitals for the blueprint or road map on how to do it best b/c I really believe Mr. Leonsis has the Caps at the cutting edge of the social media phenomenon.)
5. Are you a regular linkedin user? What does linkedin do for you?
I enjoy linkdedin and I use it on a regular basis. I like to see what my former colleagues are doing and the various groups they have joined. It is a great way to keep in touch with people and network at your own pace and pleasure.
6. What gets you interested or excited about the NHL or member clubs use themselves regarding social media?
Again, I think we can all learn a great deal from the Washington Capitals and how they have made use of the various social media forums. There are so many uses an organization can make and it’s clear that player agents are aware of the value such sites have for their clients. We live in an information age, and it is great to be able to get critical information to our fans quickly and, in many cases, in real time. Without a doubt, in the event I am fortunate enough to land another job managing an NHL Club, I would make extensive use of social media as a way to stay in touch with and inform fans. The more we can do to make fans feel like “insiders” the better our chances of retaining those fans for life, and social media helps make that possible.