Landon the Sales Leader


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Being a sales leader is about setting the standard for results. As a longtime LA Galaxy fan, I was thrilled to celebrate the MLS Cup 2011 Championship this past season. The LA Galaxy won the championship 1-0 on Landon Donovan’s goal. He’s America’s All Time Best Player and LA Galaxy Captain.

Immediately following the game, Landon did a few things:

  • Celebrated on the field with his team
  • Accepted the MVP award
  • Performed post game interviews on TV
  • Shook the hands of five fans in the stands (four of them my family)
  • Applauded the crowd and headed to the locker room

WOW. What a feeling! Over 30,000 people at the game. I’ve been with Landon at key games in Asia, Europe, Africa and cities across America. I doubt that he even knows who I am. But, the night we celebrated the MLS Championship, he was gracious to come over to our seats and say thanks for coming out.

Thank you Landon Donovan for an amazing memory and a championship for the ages. MLS all-time best team? The 2011 Los Angeles Galaxy featuring Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez (MLS Defender of the Year), Josh Saunders, Donovan Ricketts, Mike Magee, Chad Barrett, Todd Dunivant and several other absolute studs. Not to mention, Coach of the Year Bruce Arena and his amazing staff, including Goalkeeper Coach Ian Feuer.

We suffered through some challenging years with the likes of Steve Sampson and Ruud Gullit at the helm. I know, some people will claim Sampson won the double in 2005 (US Open Cup and MLS Cup), which is true. However, it was the on-field leadership of Landon Donovan and some others that got it done – not the lame approach by the coach.

Doug Hamilton passed suddenly and tragically in 2006 and for a few years, despite exciting games, the Galaxy struggled. The signing of Head Coach Bruce Arena (his actual title was and is much weightier than merely coach) was the beginning of the resurgence that led to the championship this past season.

What does that have to do with sales leadership? Great question.

Ticket sales for most sporting events are challenged given the new economy. However, I’m as convinced as ever that world class soccer in a world class venue in a massive metropolitan area like Los Angeles, should be sold out for every event. Yet, the Home Depot Center continues to fake sellouts. You know, the kind where it’s an announced sellout but one-third of the seats are empty.

Let’s face it. Winning sells tickets. Landon Donovan sells tickets. David Beckham sells a bunch, too. But, nothing should be as powerful to ticket sales as a championship. As team captain and championship match MVP, Landon helped to ensure record sales next season for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Well done Landon!

Granted, those sales aren’t made just yet. But if the LA Galaxy cannot pack it out for each and every game next season, I’m going to be deeply disappointed. Disappointment like I feel most days when I am fortunate enough to find myself on a soccer pitch yet I do not see any semblance of LA Galaxy promotion. (Yes, somehow I am involved in soccer at one level or another just about every day; it’s an official passion).

Southern California boast tens of thousands of soccer participants and yet we don’t put the LA Galaxy brand in front of them enough to drive them to the stadium on game day. Very disappointing.

Hopefully 2012 will the year that LA Galaxy sales and marketing leadership comes to grips with the need to turn participants into consumers. Large TV contracts and a global brand are worthy causes but the locals need to be passionate and that will not happen until they are messaged to on the local pitches across Los Angeles, Orange and surrounding counties that make up some 22 million people. So Cal is like a small country. Scratch that. So Cal is like a medium sized country.

The Home Depot Center should be packed every week. Landon Donovan helped to ensure smooth ticket sales. He’s my pick for sales leader of 2011.

Thank you for a fantastic (undefeated at home) season full of exciting games and bonding time with my teenage son!

Go LA Galaxy!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Graham
Kevin Graham is an author, speaker and expert on empowerment, sales and leadership. As managing director of Empowered Sales Training, Kevin works with organizations to empower sales success. Formerly, Kevin was a top performing sales executive in the ultra competitive technology sector. He's qualified for President's Club status in three Fortune 500 companies, carried the Olympic Torch and played in a national championship.


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