The interviewee is the Vice President of a Women’s Golf Federation as well as owner of an event company known as Eventz Productions. She loves to golf, and has been doing it for ten years. She also have a background in marketing and completed a degree in Bachelor of Marketing Studies specialising in Fundraising, Communications and Public Relations. These were of course informal courses.
Her job function is development of charity events. This involves coordinating everything from the theme and date to how the entire thing is presented to the sponsor. Also what entertainment and gifts the players will receive. She is responsible for the entire show, from beginning to end; although, she has an army of people who are there to follow through with arrangements. Her brief is to sell sponsorships for charity events and promote the event among players.
The most difficult part of the job for her is closing the sale. Its not just about putting together an attractive proposition for them but being able to sell it in a way that appeals to the sensibilities of the contact person from the company. This depends a lot on the person’s personality, what kind of day they are having, so its difficult to predict. That’s what makes it difficult. She has to be able to read the contact person in order to try to gauge the right approach. It varies with each person and on any given day, and she just might have the bad luck to meet someone in a rotten mood.
The easiest part is the creativity. Putting a together a party for the event is fun and the sense of accomplishment when she succeeds in creating an event which everyone enjoys is also wonderful.
One of her strengths is definitely that she is a people pleaser. She likes to keep her clientele happy so that they look forward to the next event. She is also a very organised person who is a great believer in having lists. She has lists and lists which help her keep track of everything and make sure its running smoothly.
Her weakness lies in her inability to ask for money. She is extremely uncomfortable putting a price tag on what she sells and this has always been abhorrent to her. Where possible, she sends representatives to do the actual down and dirty money negotiation side of the business and she intends to avoid it as long as she can.
The most satisfying part of the job is two pronged; The first part is when the event is all over to the utter satisfaction of all the participants. She enjoy the smiles that success brings. The other is when she hands over the funds raised to the beneficiary.
When asked why she chose a career in sales her answer was that it chose her and not the other way around. It came about through her volunteer work for the board of the golf federation, where she found herself involved in charities. Her motivation comes from the charities themselves. She mainly works in the field of breast cancer awareness which, as a woman, is close to her heart. She is also involved in the cause of child cancer which no-one can really turn away from. Her occupation is not a job for her but a daily service to the community. It inspires her and rewards her so that she never feels like it’s a chore.
Her goals can be summarised in one word; More. More events, more sponsors, more money for charities and more participants at every event.
Achievement of these goals will be measured quantitatively in terms of how much growth has been recorded in terms of the quarter, half year and annual growth. The criteria used will be monetary in terms of how much has been invested in an event vis a vis how much was made. The goal is minimal investment for maximum returns.
Her sales organisation has a line sales type of organisation with herself having authority to issue commands which are passed down to personnel that then carry out the tasks stipulated. Her vertical specialty is the golf sports market. Her organisation is small and deals with players within the local area only.
She characterises herself as a caring, enthusiastic, extremely organised, honest, outgoing, friendly and generous person.
The sales processes she follows involves packaging an event, using three things, predisposition, motivation, and potential buyer satisfaction. She measures the intensity of all these cues to come up with a sales pitch. This system matches well with her product because it is very much an emotional response that prompts sponsors to give. In order to give, they must care first. This specifically involves using predisposition to put the client on her initial call list, while the client’s motivation will tell her just how much to push, and potential buyer satisfaction will give her the tools she needs to engage. She measures the intensity of all these cues to come up with a sales pitch. In order to identify targets she uses cold calls to organisations and individuals but most of her prospects are gleaned from referrals.
Her elevator pitch is based on the premise that everyone has had a friend, relative, or spouse suffer from cancer, or else an acquaintance or workmate. So she begins by inquiring if they’ve ever known someone who has suffered from the disease and whether or not if they were given the opportunity to do something about it, they would. According to the prospect’s answer, her spiel would develop from there.
In order to identify prospects, she filters out those who are supremely disinterested whom she places in a box labelled ‘for later’. She follows up with those prospects who show interest in the project or who ask curious questions about what our work is about.
She describes a good prospect as one who is already interested in the subject on the table and therefore they practically sell themselves.
The value she brings to the organisation is an undying enthusiasm for charity and the fact that this is not a job for her, but a pleasure to do. It gives her an edge over other people who are just coming for another day at the office. In that capacity, she is the ultimate person responsible for all the client’s wants and needs and therefore tries to write everything down and address every issue as it arises.
She stated that she hates closing sales, and leaves that to other people. Her closing tactic therefore, is to delegate money matters to her subordinates.
The sales process used by the interviewee is quite appropriate for the sale of sponsorship. Sale of event sponsorship to prospects who are interested in the sport of golf, either as players or as vendors is a suitable match for the product. This interview emphasised to me the importance of knowing your product. The interviewee was very familiar not only with her product but also the market surrounding it and was thus able to convert this knowledge into success in the field. Her reluctance to close sales though, yet she managed to achieve her objective made me question how essential this skill really is to a good sales pitch. If this is a weakness, perhaps it is better to delegate it to someone more capable. In the sales process I would not have employed the same sales process as the interviewee but gone a different way in terms of getting some background on the firm and contact person in order to tailor the pitch to fit them, rather than waiting to see what kind of mood they are in on the day. Getting to know the prospect would assist me to be able to put them in the right mood. My sales organisation would employ a more horizontal organisation as well, with each level given some level of responsibility to carry out their duties and only refer to me when they encounter a situation they are unable to deal with. The interview taught me that enthusiasm for the job is a crucial ingredient for success but it’s only half of the equation. It reinforced my belief in self-confidence as crucial to sales, but made me rethink the relative importance of ability to close a sale.