Director of Group Sales: Joe Strohm, Ozark Mountain Ducks, Ozark, Missouri

Below is the results of an interview between Ryan Holdenried, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University and Joe Strohm, Director of Group Sales for the Ozark Mountain Ducks. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2001.


Q: What is your position or title?

A: Director of group sales, 15 years with the Cardinals organization.

Q: Could you give a brief job description and responsibilities?

A: I am responsible for groups of 25 or more tickets sold, I am also responsible for overseeing a sales staff of basically thirteen employees. Their main responsibility is to sell group tickets; they also meet with clients and offer the different packages we have to sell. The other responsibility is to create new sales programs.

Q: What could be some possible earnings or salary ranges?

A: I think the hardest thing is when you compare it to other clubs, every club has different titles and different responsibilities. I think the biggest thing I would say about salaries and sports is if you’re going into sports for the money you’re making a mistake, because you could make more money in other marketing fields. You put a lot of hours in this industry, but if you’re going into it because you love sports, you love the challenge, the everyday challenge because every year there is a new challenge. Because the product you’re selling changes every year and that would be the team itself so that’s why we focus on selling the entertainment part. The salaries earned are enough for a comfortable living.

Q: Are there any advancement opportunities (and based on?)

A: I think the Cardinal organization has a history of promoting within. We have a lot of people that started out in entry-level positions and have been promoted. I would even say probably most of the directors and vice presidents, probably around 85 percent of those started out at an entry level, internship type positions.

Q: What would be some recommended education and training now, and future?

A: I think the key is to get as much hands on experience as you can. So what that means is when you’re in college, assist wherever you can whether it is the athletic department or in summer time helping out with a minor league team or any type of professional team. There’s opportunities there people always need extra help, and be willing to give of your time the more you can give of your time especially while your going college the more it’s going to help you down the road. I still think the hands on experience you’ll learn a lot more than you will from reading any book, any classroom. It’s just not the same you just learn more by observing and being a part of it.

Q: Essential skills: (When you think about the most successful people in this position, what are the keys to their success in terms of skills? What are those not succeeding lacking?)

A: The keys to getting involved is the contacts you make while you’re working there, its not the work you do, you may be carrying boxes, so what though, you may be carrying the boxes into some ones office and have the opportunity to spend ten minutes with the president of the cardinals and he comes away impresses with you and says here contact this person when you’re ready. It’s the contacts networking is the key.

Q: Can you list some appropriate personalities?

A: I would say you have to be yourself. Every type of personalities can be successful in sales, because you can fool some people if you’re a phony, but after a while they are going read through you. I try to tell sales staff be honest, be yourself and people will like that because the one thing there going to do is to trust you. I don’t think there is a personality style that’s better than the other I just think you have to be yourself and whatever your personality is don’t alter from it.

Q: What are some experience and qualifications needed for the job?

A: I think it depends on the positions. We’re looking for the best candidate. Someone that is able to build relationships.

Q: Changes in past decade or more?

A: The biggest change is that people want more for the dollar. The days of just buying a ticket and going to the game are over; they want more for their experience. Consumers want more options that’s why we have tried to create atmosphere for them with party rooms etc.

Q: Insider tips for landing a job like this?

A: If you want a position, put all you effort into it, go for I and when I say go for I there’s more to it than sending out the resume and say okay they didn’t call. Call the appropriate people in the organizations, try to set up a meeting with them show them you are excited about working there.

Q: Typical career path: (How did you get where you are? And is that typical?)

A: A lot is going to depend upon the organization. This is an organization the Cardinals organization does not have a huge amount of turnover. You can go to other organizations and there is a lot of turnovers and the advancement opportunity probably happen earlier than they do here.

Q: What are some pros and cons to the job?

A: Pros: I would say the most positive thing is the people you meet. We meet a lot of people, when I talk about meeting people; I am not talking about celebrities. I am talking about Joe fan, people we are selling tickets to. Some of my closet friends now are people I dealt with from a business standpoint that’s probably the neatest part. Cons: I think probably the negatives would be no different that any other job you would have, there is always going to be negatives out there. My answer to that would be if you were in a position where the negatives out weigh the positives you should probably leave that position.