Archive for December, 2012

2012Dec 6

SPAD is Sold on How Important Sales are to a Successful Career in the Sports Industry

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

Welcome, SPAD Blog readers! I would like to start off by thanking you for your support of the SPAD program by staying updated in its ongoings through this website. The purpose of this post is to go over this past semester’s third year course “Championship Selling” and last-week’s wrap-up “GAME DAY™”, run by Tom Blake, SPAD Grad and CEO of Optimé International and Sprout. First, I will go into the background of the “Championship Selling” program, then talk about what our class worked on these past few months, and finally, how we applied our knowledge during the capstone GAME DAY™ experience.

Tom Blake (humbly referred to as Tom by his peers), has been teaching the specialized Championship Selling class for SPAD students for four years now, and it is the only class in North America of its kind.  Typically, Sales in the Sport Industry has been a fourth year course and this was the first year it was moved to third-year, as this solution gave third-year students the benefits of being better prepared for their internships and 4th year Consulting Trip presentations.

Now, how the class works is several weeks in a semester Tom travels back up to Laurentian for six-hour sessions with students to teach students three simple things:

– How to get a better job

– How to be better at the job

– And how to be better at life

Of course, these three things entail much more. Tom has taught us basic tools from using basic manners and opening with a purpose and an agenda, to his company’s trademarked “Playing Catch™” method of asking questions, to his 7-Step Sales Process, used by companies all over the world.

Finally, all our efforts this semester, led up to the ultimate sales test: GAME DAY™. On Friday November 30th, ten teams faced off in a real-life simulation of sales calls in which actual executives from prominent organizations such as Procter & Gamble, the CFL, PepsiCo, Molson-Coors, the Toronto Blue Jays, The Dominion Insurance, Sprout, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Smart Technology, and Optime, came to GAME DAY™ where the SPAD students act as the company and present a solution, as they act as their own company’s customer.  The teams are in contact with their “customers” leading up to GAME DAY™, where the students must apply what they’ve learned and are evaluated on their ability to Play Catch™ with their customers, and if they can execute the sales plan by offering them the best solution that both parties mutually confirm on.

Team Revised Class Inc. consisting of Mark Wiersma, Nick Andrews, Josh Dreith, Jon Ross, and Alonso Gutierrez, who sold to The Dominion were declared the Sales Champions of the day. Student Bryce Newton, who worked with P&G, assessed the event as “an experience that cannot be taught through textbooks. It is the closest to real life we will get in a school setting. We used our sharpened skills that we learned all year from Tom and proved that we had what it takes to sell like a champion.”

A huge thank you goes out to Tom, his assistant Jennifer for all of their hard work this semester, and to all of the customers and companies that came out to help run a successful GAME DAY™. From day one, every single person in that class improved themselves by becoming a better presenter, to being able to ask the right questions at the right time. Everything we practiced during the class was further emphasized, as we were able to transition our newfound knowledge into the game, and we can now move forward and succeed in our internships and future careers, based on what we have learned and demonstrated.

Now, that you have read about our classes’ experience with the Championship Selling and GAME DAY™ program, can you agree that these SPAD students have a better advantage to get better jobs, do better at these jobs, and be better at life?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brianne wrote this article using Tom’s Seven-Step Sales Process. Hopefully you have now bought in to what an incredible experience and opportunity this is for our students.


2012Dec 4

SPAD Alumni Profile: Jamie Saull

SPAD Student Council President, Scott Rodgers (left) presents Jamie Saull (SPAD’12) with SPAD coasters as a thank you gift.

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

The SPAD Speaker Series continued on November 29, 2012 with an appearance made by recent SPAD graduate and former SPAD Student Council President, Jamie Saull (SPAD’12).  Jamie is currently the Marketing Coordinator at TSN in charge of the national broadcaster’s social media presence.  He is also responsible for the marketing involved in TSN’s major productions such as the World Junior Hockey Championships, NHL on TSN, and the Grey Cup.  The journey he took to reach his current position may be considered untraditional, but with it came some unique stories and interesting experiences.  Jamie’s presentation on Thursday night to SPAD students and faculty veered off the beaten path because he actually created a Facebook page dedicated to his personal “Timeline” – the basis for his talk and eventual retelling of his experiences as a student and as an industry professional.  Each significant moment he experienced upon entering university, after leaving it (which really was recent!) and his working career is located on this Facebook page.  The onslaught of questions ensued about these experiences and how they collectively led up to where he is now.  Being both a producer and consumer of social media on a personal and corporate level, this certainly emphasized Jamie’s penchant for the marketing tool and for creating unique and memorable presentations.  Considering this, he even mentions one of his presentations during university which involved a water slide on UC hill in early April!  To view the page, visit

Presentation styles aside, the purpose of the SPAD Speaker Series is for students to gain insight into relevant sport business endeavours and the current strategies and tactics used by industry professionals.  Jamie’s background lies in event management and social media marketing, two very relevant areas of study for SPAD students.  Jamie began as a marketing and event specialist at CBC and worked on a number of productions such as Battle of the Blades, but later accepted his current position with TSN.  At TSN, Jamie took control as the lead of social media because he felt it was a missed opportunity, and his first project was the TSN Predictor App – an application allowing fans to predict scores of upcoming games through social media.  Eventually, Jamie was involved in creating the TSN Check-In App for Facebook to connect Canadian hockey fans during the World Junior’s, demonstrating the power of social media and the direction in which it’s headed.

Now, creating relevant content is the biggest challenge at TSN and for Jamie simply because of the amount of news, updates and scores that viewers are often inundated with.  The purpose of social media is more about creating an experience through live interaction and updates rather than reporting news.  Jamie states that fans create content because they are reacting to live in-game moments and talking about it on social media.  It’s then TSN’s goal to use what these fans are talking about to leverage the potential to build the follower-base of their social media outlets and ultimately create relationships through strong interactions with these fans.  A large follower-base is nothing without fan interaction and Jamie knows that if the fans are talking about it, TSN will be too.  We thank Jamie for taking the time to speak with us about the extremely significant world of sport and social media!