Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Shawn S. Parsons.
About the interviewee
Shawn S. Parsons, National Account Director
With over 16 years in relationship sales, Shawn has overall responsibility of expanding Acer’s global sales. Shawn graduated from the University of Maryland where he studied marketing and graphic design and created his business and marketing plans through his vast knowledge of contact management systems, social media, network marketing and visual presentations. His responsibilities include further development of the Acer brand, national and international sales, presentations, contract negotiations, proposals and CRM management.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Acer Exhibits and Events employees 50 people and we are located just north of Baltimore and Washington DC in Belcamp, MD.
We have a diverse set of clients that represent many business models in the US and abroad such as Under Armour, L3, Johnson & Johnson, Mossberg, ATK, Fastenal, SafeNet, VEEAM, Engility, Battelle, Raymarine, Elsevier, FLIR, Genetec, Hiossen, fruition, AXIS Communications, NICE, Rogaine and more.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
Acer represents all types of companies, and each company varies in size. Acer has a large presence in the DoD and apparel industries. We can fabricate or build an exhibit presence for any type or size of company. ACER again joined the elite with its 2014 recognition as one of the best builders this industry has to offer by eventmarketer.com. Acer is again on of the top fabricators serving the U.S. event and exhibit industry in 2014.
Tell us what you love about the selling process?
People! Trying to connect with people from every walk of life typically through email, a quick phone call or a short meeting on the event floor is an art. You have to truly love people to make those connections. I like nothing more than to hear a potential clients is from Appleton, Wisconsin where I have family or that they went to school in upstate NY where my college roommate was from. Finding a way to connect with a stranger is such a unique opportunity each day. The selling process is a constant grind, so you must develop several avenues in which to originate new business. Some are atypical, some are non-traditional. Some of the best avenues come from your ability to brand yourself as someone that works under the philosophy of Give, Give, Get. What we realize is that we all go through and incredible amount of life challenges during each of our lifetimes, and if you spend a good deal of your time giving for no reason at all…personally and in business you seem to yield so much in return. Going out of your way for your clients, under promising and over delivering and consistent follow up are staples in loving the selling process.
Tell us what you hate about the selling process?
Selling is not just selling, it has never been about that. There are many facets to selling, all of which eat away on your actual time you have to prospect to new clients and meet new people. True hunters want to hunt and when you develop a new core group of potential buyers, then starts the account management, project management, paperwork, work orders, purchase orders, tracking etc. If I had to choose one thing I dislike about the selling process is its innate ability to take me away from what I love to do most sell. It’s a process, but for sure I would love the ability to sell more and process paperwork less. Hunters and Farmers are completely different animals, I just wish I could spend my time hunting, prospecting, meeting, talking, selling, promoting, interacting, blogging, using social media, branding and pursuing clients to review what Acer has to offer as I believe in my product that much.
What do you do to make selling work for you?
Over the last 16 years what I realized is that you must become a full blown marketing agency if you want be successful in B2B sales. My system incorporates the trivial pursuit visual of the wheel filled with slivers of pie. Each and every piece must be filled for you to win…so to allow the wheel to roll. I incorporate 8 – 12 different marketing strategies to stay successful, and truthfully there just isn’t a magic pill. I am in networking groups, I target market through email, I make industry specific phone calls based upon data from opened emails, I use a ton of social media, I send hand written letters to everyone I meet at shows along with thank you notes, I go to events and walk the floor, I try and partner with companies in my industry that do not do what Acer does, I blog, post articles and always consistently follow up! I consistently enter notes from email and verbal conversation into my CRM so I can use it as a reference point for future conversations. My biggest asset is remaining thankful of opportunities that come my way from my marketing efforts, following up consistently, being honest with my customers. I believe building a positive reputation in sales is literally your best asset and to live under the creed – Give, Give, Get.