Hockey star Mike Bossy enters IT world

NHL Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy had no trouble scoring goals during his career. He had nine straight seasons of 50 goals or more – a record that even the great Wayne Gretzky was unable to break. Today, Bossy tries to help IT companies achieve its sales and marketing goals by creating mini-trade


He is the president of Sales Stars International, a company made up of hockey celebrities and sales and marketing professionals that offer Canadian corporate name recognition help for selling products and services.

Bossy’s foray into IT was promoting two Avaya Canada events in Ottawa and Montreal.

“The shows that we did in Montreal and Ottawa were very successful and I am the kind of guy who takes things personally. When I was playing I blamed myself and fortunately I have not had to do that here,” Bossy said.

The events cost $15,000 in total and was attended by more than 500 people for each event. Avaya attributed $1.5 million in sales to the events, said Stuart Armstrong, Bossy’s partner and vice-president at Sales Stars.

It was Armstrong who approached Bossy about forming a company.

“The association (of hockey stars and sales events) is a no brainer. Since I retired I have made many appearances for different companies. The whole idea was Stuart’s and after the two Avaya events, we knew it was something we could follow up on,” Bossy said.

The celebrity aspect of these events is only one part of the offering. Sales Stars works with IT companies to help them build awareness, generate good leads and get real sales out of the events, he said.

“I can call anybody and get a phone call back,” Bossy said. “When I do, I have to have something to say. Athletes can open the door and help arouse curiosity but then he has to work with the company to develop or sell products,” he said.

Bossy believes the mini-trade show concept works better than the traditional Comdex shows.

For example, if the event features 10 companies and each invite 15 prospects, that is 150 for each company in the show, Bossy said.

“What we are able to do is show off our personality, which they (Comdex) cannot do. You have the time to talk to people at our shows. It’s different than the 100,000 square-foot show where you don’t have the time to talk.”

Bossy has even taken a hand at doing technical presentations. At one event, he demonstrated the new Compaq Ipaq’s communications features by actually calling Bryan Trottier, an ex-teammate, in New York.

“I scratched the surface when I did that. My main concern was to make sure it works because you are in big trouble if it doesn’t work,”” Bossy said.

He added that he would not force other Sales Stars celebrities such as Darryl Sittler, Lanny MacDonald and Guy Lafleur to do technical presentation unless they wanted to get involved and grasp the technology.

“”To ask a guy like Darryl Sittler to spend a week learning something for a one-day event does not make sense,”” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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