Chris Keirns - Account Executive, Business Development
Chris grew up in Thornton, Colorado before receiving a scholarship to play golf at West Texas A&M University, where he majored in Communications. After lettering for four seasons, he was accepted in graduate school at the University of Arkansas. For two years, Chris worked of his M. Ed. In Sports Management, while interning for the University of Arkansas Athletics in the Development Office. After graduation, he took a job with the University of Colorado’s Athletic Department as an Account Executive before being hired on at DAYTONA as Account Executive of Business Development. He currently lives in Lake Mary with his fiancé Carli, who works as a financial analyst for Walt Disney Imagineering.
How did you become interested in working in sports?
I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in sports. I believe that you’ve got to love what you do. I love sports and I love athletics. The more and more I got into things, I began learning about the business side of it. I always had a niche for business and thought it made perfect sense to combine it with my passion for sports.
What skills did you learn from playing college sports that you’ve transitioned into your career?
Golf is very much an individual sport. If you go out there and don’t play well, it’s on you. I think that gave me some good self-responsibility. I think that’s helped me as I’ve moved into my career. I also think it teaches you about dedication to something, putting in the hours, doing what it takes. In sales you always feel like it’s on you to make the sale or it’s on you to drive revenue. In the same way, in golf the pressure is on you to shoot a certain number.
What attracted you to working for DAYTONA?
One, it’s an iconic facility. You don’t have to be a motorsports fan to know what Daytona International Speedway is. Two, the opportunity that [President] Joie Chitwood and [Senior Director of Sales] David Strahan gave me to sell inventory for something that is truly revolutionizing how the entire motorsports industry operates – the World’s First Motorsports Stadium. That is just a wonderful opportunity and something I’m extremely blessed and grateful to be a part of.
What are your current job responsibilities? What about during event time?
My main focus is to try to sell Daytona International Speedway’s corporate hospitality to regional and local companies. That is my main focus. My general day consists of trying to set up appointments with businesses or individuals throughout the state. I’m trying to educate them on how they can utilize DAYTONA’s new corporate hospitality to grow their business.
During event time, I’m going to be checking in on all of my customers. I’ll be walking throughout the whole facility, checking in on each and every one of my accounts to ensure that everything is running smoothly. I like to use the time to get to know the clients better. I’m a big believe in a relationship-based selling approach. I really am. And the only way to do that is to create a relationship with your client. During event time, I’m not just going to go in and sit there. I’m going to try to learn more about my clients and get to know them on a personal level.
What are the most important skills for your current duties?
You can’t be afraid to be rejected. I get told no throughout a lot of my day. Probably the biggest skill you need is just the ability to not be afraid to go up and talk to someone. Interpersonal skills are absolutely huge. Being confident enough in your product and your ability is key.
What’s your favorite part about working for DIS? What do you enjoy most?
The thing that has stuck out most are the people. I’m not just saying that. The people on this team, whether it’s on the Business Development side or the Marketing side or at the Executive Level, the people here are truly great people. You want to spend time with them outside of the office. It’s a wonderful place to be from that standpoint and it’s fun to come to work every day.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Golfing. I’m getting married in September, so I definitely enjoy spending time with my fiancé. I’m a big water guy and love going to the beach. I’m also a college basketball guy and looking forward to March Madness coming around the corner.
What would you tell those who want to get into the sports industry?
I think the best quote that someone gave me when I was younger was, “Hard work creates opportunities.” It’s pretty simple. Whatever it takes, always work hard at it. Try to be the best whatever task you are given, whether it’s making copies or pouring coffee or selling. If you work hard, more and more opportunities will open to you.