11 4 / 2013

By Adam Michalek, etouches Sales Director

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Upon starting my first corporate position this past October, I found myself equally nervous and excited for the opportunity to sell. It is truly a great accomplishment to procure a job as a college graduate and I felt positive about the energy I would bring to my team. Everyone I have spoken with that has been around before the millennial generation promotes taking on a sales role for a first job because no matter where I end up—I will be selling myself my whole life.  The position is a challenge, but if I work hard I can be rewarded with emotional and monetary results. At first I thought if I made 100 calls a day from a list that I would start seeing results. But as I quickly learned, there are overlying factors that contribute to one major internal force:  my “sales personality.” This trait defines my work ethic and influences the success I want and need in order to become an accomplished sales professional.

The Link Between Sales and Golf

This idea truly came full circle when I found myself on the golf course with my brother and father late last season. Golf is a game that requires proficiency at every phase…much like sales. My father is an accomplished golfer, just like his father, which is why I have genuinely grown to appreciate the sport. Great golfers are patient, strategic and put a lot of preparation into their game off the course. Just as there are unlimited sales techniques in the world, the same goes for golf swing fundamentals. I have learned that it is up to me to put in the preparation while utilizing my resources to create my sales personality and my swing. Both are something I create on my own, and both exact a constant battle to add and subtract the elements that create fluidity.  

Preparation
"If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf." –Bob Hope

I’ve found that making 100 calls a day is the same as going out to the driving range and whacking 100 balls with my driver. It is not time well spent unless I prepare with a purpose. The more time I spend working out, stretching, reading articles, practicing new shots to develop my swing, working with my putter, and studying courses, the better I will prepare myself for executing all my shots.   

In my new sales role I spend time actively exploring industry trends and sales techniques, learning the ins-and-outs of my product, collaborating with colleagues and researching target prospects. By practicing a call with a coworker, I am preparing for any and all questions during a discussion with a lead. As with golf, the same tactic helps when I find my drive is in the rough and I have to adjust to the terrain. If I spend 8 hours a day calling, emailing, and working my tail off, it will not matter if my work ethic is not targeted.

Drives & Demo’s
“There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball, be the ball.” - Chevy Chase in Caddyshack 

The distance and accuracy of my drive is evidence of the practice and preparation I put into my swing at the range. The biggest advantage is my long ball—the shot that gets me closer to the hole, making up as much initial progress that I can. While the drive can be the defining aspect in one’s game, it can also be the shot that gets a golfer into the most trouble.

The first attempt at engagement with a prospect is equal to my drive. I could ineffectively give a basic product demo to a prospect but if I use my preparation time to qualify my target, then I avoid hitting my drive out of bounds into the woods. Recognizing my prospect’s needs and presenting a directed conversation or demo is the launching point for a sale. I have their interest, my ball is in the middle of the fairway with the pin in clear site…so I swing away with everything I have prepared for in the back of my mind.

Approach Shots & Conversations
"The most important shot in golf is the next one."  –Ben Hogan

The stronger I position myself after my initial demo/conversation, the more likely I will be able to close the deal. This is the approach shot. There are always challenges on the course as well as within conversations with a prospect. I may face someone who is unsatisfied from a previous competitor’s service or product. Now I am dealing with strong winds and I know I must adjust. Other times the prospect loves the solution immediately and I find myself on a flat lie in the fairway ready to chip in and close the deal. With a more complicated deal, my preparation and strategy come to fruition. I’ve been working on that punch shot but I realize the flop shot is what will ultimately get me closest to the hole.

Putting & Closing
“Happy, the ball has its own energy or life force, if you will. It’s natural environment is in the hole. Why don’t you send him home? His bags are packed. He has his plane ticket. Bring him to the airport. Send him home. Send him home.” –Kevin Nealon in Happy Gilmore

Tiger Woods is considered the best putter in the sport. Very few people have the same gift, talent and passion for golf as Tiger. With that in mind, I should not aim to become the best putter in the world, but rather the best at getting my ball closest to—and ultimately in—the hole. Of course sinking a 50-foot putt results is always a win-win, but I cannot rely on that.

As with closing the deal on a sale, putting should be the last concern. Hitting the fewest number of putts should always be the objective. There is no need to nag a client to sign a contract because I already know that they are confident and eager to begin business with me. They are not always tap-ins but I am confident in my ability to acquire a deal because of the tactical steps I took from my demo to my conversations: my drive to my approach shot. The better I position myself on the putting green, the higher my conversion percentage will be. The same goes for sales opportunities.

Final Score

If I work hard and target my work properly, if I prepare and make the necessary adjustments to my initial conversation/demo, then I consistently have a tap-in when it comes to closing a deal. If I continue to think critically and apply myself to each aspect, I learn how to find my style, my swing, my sales personality and the numbers will reflect that. I may not have the best score at the end of a round, or the highest quota for the quarter, but it’s the trial and error of each hole/sale that provides me with the insight and experience to be just as successful on the next outing.

In the end, golf and sales require excellence at every stage of the game. Taking this into consideration, I know that like my swing the sales process is something I create internally. Just as I find the fluidity of my swing, I create a personality that becomes my own style as a salesperson. Lucky for me, I love where I work. Every day I learn something new as I am surrounded by brilliant people. One day when I look back to where I began, I know that every tool in my arsenal will have strong roots from my first job. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60PQRpo9T-Q

“Watch how he settle himself right into the middle of it, feel that focus… He got a lot of shots he could choose from… Duffs and tops and skulls, there’s only ONE shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field… One shot that’s his, authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him… There’s a perfect shot out there tryin’ to find each and every one of us…” –Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance

Have any questions or feedback? Feel free to engage with us on Twitter @etouches or email Adam! amichalek@etouches.com

11 4 / 2013

By Colleen Donnelly, etouches Content Marketing Associate

Conference and Incentive Travel reported a new study conducted by George Lancaster, a student at Leeds Met University. The study revealed that almost 80% of first-year event management students envisioned a career in the industry after graduation but after a year-long internship, this figure dropped to just over half.

As a recent graduate, statistics like this always strike a chord with me.  I still share the pain of recent graduates /college students as they search for their first job /internship as I experienced my fair share of internships and various career-aspirations since beginning college. After a year as Peace and Conflict Studies major, I somehow ended up interning at a global investment firm. In typical Millennial fashion, I left unsatisfied and fully convinced the industry wasn’t for me. The next summer I interned in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and with fierce disposition decided to pursue a career in the non-profit industry. Quite the dramatic shift for a few indecisive years pondering the question, what do I want to do with my life?  I imagine the 30% of event management students who switched career-goals after an internship asked themselves the same question as me.

During senior year I applied relentlessly to various non-profits, spending many nights skipping over homework assignments to craft a one page representation of my experiences and expertise, aching for a chance to enter the industry. I experienced a few interviews, a lot of rejections, and even more response-less applications. 

Hopping from private equity to non-profit in just one year, I laugh as I look back at my naivety in beginning my first professional experience.  As I reflect upon my path that led me to a career in event management, I find that I acted eerily stereotypical of our generation. I was closed-minded, stubborn, and most importantly—unwilling to expose myself to various career options. I tried it out once and it wasn’t for me just as a toddler would toss away a brand new shiny toy after becoming bored after few moments.

In defense of Millennials, no one can trump the determination and ambition of our generation and I attribute these characteristics to how I landed my first job.  The summer after graduation I interned at a non-profit and albeit my hard work, I was not offered a job. Unsure of where to go next, I stumbled upon an opportunity to take part in an innovative hiring method, eCruit

eCruit was borne out of the need to identify exceptionally talented individuals to work at etouches while growing jobs in the state of Connecticut. Envisioned by Leonora Valvo, CEO of etouches, eCruit identifies top talent and provides real-world scenarios to allow both the candidate and etouches to understand if the individual will thrive in the etouches’ climate. Through eCruit, I fell in love with etouches and was offered.

Although I did not end up in the industry I envisioned myself in, I channeled my ambition into pursuing all opportunities available for career development. I jumped on the chance to participate in eCruit, eager to  I know this characteristic is inherent in all Millennials. We crave opportunities to advance our careers and turn weaknesses into strengths. Perhaps the event management students who changed their minds about the industry after an internship were right, the industry isn’t for them. But the one thing I know for certain is Millennial determination will ultimately lead us in the right direction. 

09 4 / 2013

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Last week etouches presented a webinar with our partner Onstream Media on how to effectively deliver highly engaging content with webcasting and virtual events.  Not only do we love collaborating with our partner, but we love talking virtual event solutions and integrations.

Virtual. We hear this term all the time as face-to-face events increasingly incorporate virtual components, such as a webinar or live stream.

So why is everyone talking about virtual events? According to a new report from Market Research Media, the virtual events market is projected to reach about $18.6 billion and expected to see an annual growth rate of 56% through 2018!

Virtual events extend your reach by removing geographical limitations of attendees, incorporating them into a virtual destination. Driving visibility and ROI through behavioral data and comprehensive reporting metrics, virtual events have the potential to extend content reach and visibility.

Event marketers use multimedia to drive event attendance and generate new revenue streams from paid attendees, exclusive content and sponsorships. Leveraging virtual event components enhances attendee engagement pre, during and post event. Reducing travel and logistic costs, virtual events promote sustainability as they are a truly green event.

With rapid growth comes rapid change. Should we prepare for virtual event takeover? Any fear about virtual events dominating the live event space is unnecessary.  According to the IAEE Virtual Event Study in July 2011, “event technology or digital line extensions extend the reach of physical event brands, either to complement them or serve as a product line extension.” We should begin to see virtual events as an opportunity to enhance the live event experience. Embracing new hybrid technologies can lead to events with a higher ROI, increased attendee engagement, and much more.

One way to begin participating in the virtual event space is through an Onstream Media product, MarketPlace365. An online destination to support all types of virtual events, MarketPlace365 streams live webcast and videos and creates animated exhibition halls. This product can set up a virtual auditorium with keynote speakers, learning centers, media library, and even a social lounge.

One question raised during the webinar was “When creating sponsorship programs for virtual events, what should and should not be offered? What do you think is the most beneficial?”

The three most common sponsorship opportunities associated with webcasting are banner ads at the top of the page, a companion ad that sits off to the side of the media player or a pre-roll video advertisement that runs anytime somebody uses that media player.

So what are you waiting for? Join the event technology evolution now! Click here to view “Love the Virtual” webinar

03 4 / 2013

Speakers and presenters are being asked to do a lot more than just shine up and show up at the time you have scheduled them in your program. Hopefully, your speakers will increase attendance because your prospective attendees recognize their names or are interested in their topics. Why not take it a step further and ask them to help you promote your event and increase engagement at the event?

Prepare your speakers before you even choose them. Starting with the call for proposals, ask potential speakers if they would be willing to record a video before the event and if they would be willing to be recorded during their session. Ask for twitter handles and other social media profiles to see which ones are accustomed to engaging attendees with these platforms.

Short videos from speakers and presenters provide great content to help you promote the meeting or event. A great speaker will start conversations with attendees via social media channels (groups and hashtags) before the event so they can get to know the audience and start answering their questions. Invite them, individually or a few at a time, to a Google+ hangout where you can interview them. Potential attendees can participate, view live or watch an archived version later.

If you are planning a virtual or hybrid event, then clearly, your speakers will need to give their permission to be recorded or broadcast. However, depending on the level of engagement you wish to create with a virtual audience, you’ll need to find out how much experience they have speaking to a virtual audience. You’ll want to consider adding a virtual audience liaison to field questions from the virtual platform or social media channels.

Whether or not you provide your speakers with a template for their presentations, you can ask them to include the conference hashtag on their slides. This helps encourage attendees to share what they are learning during your event. If you have someone monitoring the hashtag from each session, it could also be used for questions from the audience. Your introverts in the audience will appreciate a way to participate without raising their hands. An audience response system can be implemented if you have several presenters who are willing to work with you on polling, Q&A and surveys.

List your speakers’ twitter handles wherever you have their information listed in your program, mobile app, etc. Your savvy tweeters will want to use proper etiquette and give your speakers credit for the good information they are learning from them. The easier it is for them to find this information, the happier they will be.

Your speakers and presenters can be a great asset when it comes to promoting the meeting or event and creating an engaging environment for your attendees. Make sure that you communicate your goals and objectives before and during the contract phase of the relationship so that they are prepared to help you instead of doing you a favor.

01 4 / 2013

By Colleen Donnelly, etouches Content Marketing Associate

etouches is the proud sponsor of Event Alley Show, a free internet radio show produced by event industry experts Liz King and Lindsey Rosenthal. Airing weekly on Tuesdays at 1 PM EST, Liz and Lindsey interview event industry leaders as well as subject matter authorities on the latest trends and tools. Last Tuesday’s program centered on Millennials. I listened and called in.

Curst Steinhorst, Speaker at the Center for Generational Kinetics and George G. Fenich, PhD, Professor at East Carolina University gave insights on creating engaging content for the millennial generation. Curt explained that a reputation of entitlement sets Millennials apart from other generations. With huge professional goals and aspirations, Millennials have adopted a mindset of deserving positions for which they are not qualified. Wow, this really struck a chord! I called-in and asked what Millenials should do professionally to be viewed as motivated rather than entitled. Curt explained that Millennials need to set a goal, then, work backwards from there, instead of jumping ahead to the senior position. This advice strongly resonated with me.

The day I left for college, my father ingrained a principle into my mind. “Go to class and do the work,” he said. “It’s as easy as that.” So, I did. I thought I knew the roadmap to success. Growing up as a Millennial, I was told that if you work hard, you yield results, i.e. a job upon graduation. So I worked hard: spent countless hours studying for exams, applied for internships (albeit unpaid) and before I knew it, was searching for my first job. Upon graduation, I entered one of the toughest economic climates in history, competing for a small number of entry-level positions. My roadmap to success wasn’t exactly a straight line, not only for me, but, for other Millennials as well. One-third of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed. A job upon graduation is no longer a guarantee. Furthermore, the rate of college graduates filing for bankruptcy increased 20% over the past two years.

As the most educated generation in history, we feel our efforts should bear fruit. Yet, we’re frustrated and disappointed that, somehow, we let ourselves down as well as our families because we struggle to land our first jobs. A characteristic of our generation that I think goes unnoticed is the ability to capitalize on opportunities. We’re eager to get ahead in the face of uncertainty. We work internships in fields we know nothing about. We make risky career moves—going with our gut and working hard to make it pay off. We’re searching for places where we feel valued, challenged and included. I can tell you I don’t feel entitled.

Entitled or not, I’m motivated and ambitious. I want the same success as my parents, grandparents, professors and mentors. I have dreams. Big ones. Can you truly criticize Millennials’ ambitions when our grandparents grew up fueled by the American dream?

To all the Millennials out there. I think Curt’s backtracking suggestion is a good one; plan the steps to get where you ultimately want to be. Channel your ambition and build a new roadmap to success. Use the entitlement label to motivate you. Don’t give-in to the criticism. We want the next generation’s burden to be lighter. We want technological advances to continue. We want the market to improve. Just like the generations before us.