Sometimes a personality is so special it can’t help but get noticed. Seventeen years ago, when Paige Farragut was fresh out of college, she was attending a social gathering with her friends. Out of the blue a woman from a radio station approached Farragut, insisting she go into sales and inviting her to tour her radio station. Farragut took the tour, but was uneasy with the idea of living hand-to-mouth as a commission-based salesperson. The next day, Farragut ran into another woman she met at the station who, after a conversation, told her she shouldn’t give up on the idea of sales. The woman asked Farragut if she was interested in selling hockey, a question that resulted in Farragut working for the Dallas Stars, the NHL affiliate in Dallas. Now, 13 seasons into a career with Major League baseball’s Texas Rangers, Farragut is running her own sales team, and they’re shattering sales records despite past hardships.
I’ve been able to work my way up the ranks of the same metroplex, while others often have to move around to get promoted. This is a male-dominated industry, but early on I learned that you can’t get intimidated by the competition because once you do, it’s over. When I started in sales, I decided I would end my career in sales, so giving up never felt like an option.
Did you know? The Texas Rangers won American League Championships in 2010 and 2011. The team hit an all-time attendance record in 2011 with 2,946,949 visitors.
The unpredictability of the marketplace is my biggest hurdle. You always want to achieve the organization’s goals, but you have to adapt your sales plan and initiatives. When the team is performing well, the sales expectations change. It’s great that Nolan Ryan is our president and CEO; he has an excellent understanding of how the industry works.
Goal setting has been my personal road to success in sports. In September 2010, we set a goal for 10,000 Full Season Equivalents (FSE). We had been building toward it all season, and in September we really pushed and were able to accomplish this large achievement. We’re now approaching 20,000 FSE in just 18 months. It’s an unbelievable feeling. In the last decade, when the team wasn’t making post-season play, our base dropped drastically. We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. I love coming to work every morning and looking at the sales report.
Hiring is key in this industry. We have one of the best sales teams in the industry, and a big part of my job is knowing when to step away. When we have a new hire we train them and give them the guidance they need, but afterwards I’m going to get out of their way and let them do their thing. I don’t micromanage because I understand that people achieve success in different ways. There are churn-and-burn-type sellers, who make 100 calls a day, and there are people who work at a slower pace, building relationship with their clients. I let them use their God-given talents. In sales, you’re in charge of your own destiny. What you put into it is what you get out of it.
If you’re thinking about entering this industry, you need to focus on the particular role you’ve been hired for. It’s okay to know in advance that you want to grow, but become the best at what you’re doing now. Pay attention and be a sponge, learn as much as you can from people in all different departments, and find out what makes them successful and able to do what they do best. I still consider myself a sponge, I don’t ever want to stop learning because once you stop, you also stop improving.