Never underestimate the selling power of a well-trained street team
The more “complicated” our clients’ brand becomes the more important it becomes to train our Brand Experts really well. At M2W we are known as YOUR ARMS AND LEGS IN THE FIELD…but if I could add something to our event division’s slogan it would be Your Arms, Legs and BRAINS In the Field!
At M2W we have very long term relationships with our customers, and with long term relationships come the challenge of constantly trying to raise the bar. Most event companies think this means coming up with a bigger and better WOW! factor – it does, but it also means raising the bar on the staffing/training side. Training takes a lot of brain power, not only from the Brand Experts as they learn, but from our management team as they put together a creative, dynamic training curriculum.
Fortunately at M2W we have an incredibly talented staff that understands the importance of a well- trained, well-branded street team. While they themselves aren’t always the most structured bunch, it seems to me they really put client product training, appropriate staffing (the right peeps for the event demographically) and key message delivery as a priority.
I look at training/staffing the most desirable street team like cooking a healthy dinner: make sure you have a lean protein to start, one or two strong BE veterans that have worked many of this specific clients’ events. Then add the green veggies for simple carbohydrates, a couple of rookies are OK (they have great energy since they are new to the biz – or to this specific client – and energy abounds) and then add a few complex carbohydrates (these are your constant BEs – they won’t win any “bubbly energy” contests, but they are always on time, have key messaging down and always follow the rules). This would be an ideal group to train.
Leslie Voigt-Kenfield, M2W Director of Operations, has been dynamic in developing some really great training programs, including a training webinar that she and our client MetroPCS worked on together. Leslie also conducts some really “FUN” training sessions in her markets coast-2-coast. We are also fortunate to have some other good trainers in both our management teams and Brand Experts. My hat goes off to Sophia Jackson (NY/NJ Market Manager) and Joseph Lanzarin, also on our NY/NJ team…and then there is John Mitchell – a Brand Expert extraordinaire – he is truly the best Brand Expert I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. On the video below you will see Sophia, Joseph and John on stage as they train and interact with our A Team of Brand Experts during extensive, high profile training in Manhattan. The video is courtesy of our Director of Business Strategy, also out of NY/NJ, Jen Cho, as she oversees all trainings in NY/NJ.
Some key points of a good training session:
- Plan on spending 4 hours of preparation for every one hour of training
- Make sure that you have the client buy-in, that the client knows exactly what your training entails and that they have provided the necessary training materials
- MAKE IT FUN- Games, prize drawings…yes, even role playing can be fun!
- MAKE IT INTERACTIVE-let the hams get up and strut their stuff, if anyone is a little bit introverted now is the time to put them to the test…and weed them out…this business is absolutely NO place for an introvert
- Feed them, if you are feeding them you don’t have to pay them. I’m not a proponent of paying any Brand Expert to show up for training…as long as we are guaranteeing them work. If you are not guaranteeing the BE work, then you should AT LEAST feed them. My staff disagrees with me on this, but that’s OK.
- Give them the next training date…make sure that you have a follow-up date for the next get together, you might even give some of your “training superstars” a chance to be involved in the next training.
- Take pictures…or make a video like this one…
So, to our potential clients, make sure that you hire an Experiential Event Company that believes and executes (often) training for their staff, which ultimately will be representing YOU in the consumer’s eyes.