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October 17, 2014

Middle East: Developing the successful salesperson

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Converting leads into deals is a skill in any sector but, in meetings and events, the right environment and mentoring is key says Rhonda Brewer, Vice President – Sales, Maritz Travel.

When considering how powerful the meetings and events industry is, the ability to attract top sales talent, strong leadership and coaching is critical in developing sales professionals and keeping them motivated during a complicated and long-term sales/ delivery cycle. It takes a certain degree of talent behind the scenes to successfully pull everything together to yield an experience or an event that delivers the special moments that can last a lifetime. 

I’ve been in the industry my entire career and I’m often asked what it takes to be a successful sales professional in the incentive travel industry. It takes both education and skills, but more importantly requires innate personality traits too: patience, tenacity, a collaborative spirit and the ability to put the needs of others first. One cannot overemphasise the role of an able leader to spot talent and keep a team moving forward in the face of adverse circumstances. Coaching and mentoring are two other vitally important components. 

For young professionals in the industry, it is important to find the right launch pad for their careers. This involves the right organisation, culture and leadership. Aligning sales team members with the best leader is a critical step. Team leaders aren’t just bosses or managers, but mentors and coaches too. They will be the ones who help build and sharpen crucial talents related to service offerings as well as soft-skill areas such as relationship-building, team and client communications, quite apart from the sales funnel management of nurturing, selling and delivering.

It’s through this teamwork that successful sales people avoid a ‘trial by fire’ scenario when finding their feet. This teamwork helps develop a more proactive anticipation of a client’s needs and interests. 

Like most, our sales organisation varies in skills and experience. A good manager focuses on a salesperson’s greatest strengths and pairs them with supporting team members who can complement them. For example, I have a highly successful, passionate and well-travelled salesperson who continues to grow the business and is one of the best at building relationships and thinking strategically. Managing financials and detailed paperwork are not her strengths, so I’ve been able to pair her with a support team that complements her skills and that team is flourishing. We continue to work on enhancing other skills, but focusing on the big picture is really the most productive way for everyone to achieve a winning result. 

Passion, trust and collaboration are key in this situation, especially when working in a team environment. Learning to respect the strengths of others and providing the right support will result in a very powerful sales organisation. The actions of individual sales team members has a tremendous impact on what we can deliver to our stakeholders. 

It can be a long and tough sales cycle, running far longer than other industries, but the reward is also that much greater. I can say from experience that when you’ve found an organisation that listens, supports and challenges you in meaningful ways, you know you’re in the right place. 

With more than 24 years’ travel operations experience, Rhonda Brewer focuses on strategic planning across Moritz Travel’s global sales. She is also a Board Director at Site International and president-elect for 2015. Site has grown since its inception 40 years ago to nearly 2,000 members in 90 countries with 29 local and regional chapters. It is the only global authority connecting motivational experiences with business results. Site professionals bring best-in-class solutions, insights and global connections to maximise the business impact of motivational experiences regardless of industry, region or culture. Site serves as the source of expertise, knowledge and personal connections that will catapult and sustain professional growth and help build the value of extraordinary, motivational experiences worldwide. Find out more at www.siteglobal.com.

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