Mar 28, 2012

Getting Out From Behind the Desk- A Sales Girl samples Event Planning

By Jen Millard, Director of Business Development @YellowHouseTO @JenMillard999

As the Director of Business Development for Yellow House Events it’s my job to bring in new clients. So when we were hired to plan the Player’s Gala for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s Team Up Foundation, I signed the deal and wished the Ops team well. What, you say? A salesperson who doesn’t see things through to completion!? Surely you jest! Okay, I admit, I did stay pretty close to the planning but don’t tell anyone or it will ruin my street cred. Anyway, I had a pretty good handle on what was happening so I wasn’t expecting any big surprises when the event day rolled around and I joined the team onsite.

Now, I wouldn’t admit say that I didn’t appreciate everything that goes into flawless event execution, but I would say that this was an eye opening experience. Not because the thought of managing all those details gives me hives (also shingles, acne and stomach pains), but because I’m going to be a much better sales person for it.  With apologies to Oprah, my A HA! moment came when I realized I had no business selling a product I didn’t fully understand. And in this case, our product is people. Don’t get me wrong, I understand them as human beings (relatively speaking), but what I didn’t fully appreciate was how they do what they do. And this is a problem when our value proposition is firmly rooted in their skills, expertise, and experience. Now having seen them in action I can sit across from a prospect and say, with utter confidence, that we will execute to perfection or die trying.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a really detail-oriented person that I find event planning so impressive. Or maybe I’m just easily impressed…. Either way, if you’re a sales person selling a similar product, I recommend that you get your feet off the desk, and jump in the Beemer to do some real learning. Fire up the Bluetooth if you must* Get your hands dirty and experience the product.** I think this is especially important if you’re selling something intangible; and if people are the difference between success and failure, then you need to understand what they do in order to get it and sell it.

*I have neither a desk, a beemer or a BlueTooth

**If you are selling drugs or venomous snakes please disregard this advice