Greg McCormack, CEM, is national sales manager for The Expo Group. He was also recently named the IAEE’s 2011 Young Professional of the Year.
ECN: How should account executives target prospects in this new economy?
Greg McCormack: It really starts with developing your business plan and determining the goals you are trying to accomplish. You want to make sure that you are targeting prospects and events that you and your company can create long-lasting partnerships with for future growth.
ECN: What do you believe is the number one trait necessary to succeed as an account executive?
GM: Hard work. You really have to love what you do and look for new ways to expand your knowledge. By doing so, you are benefiting yourself, your company and your clients.
ECN: The exhibit industry has changed a lot in the last two years. What is the biggest challenge facing sales professionals?
GM: Today’s exhibit industry is seeing an increase in products and services being offered. The expanding markets of social media have helped educate consumers and increase their knowledge of new areas in the marketplace.
Now more than ever, we as exhibit industry professionals need to understand the needs of our clients and help them look for new ways to market their shows for future audiences.
ECN: What advice can you offer to an individual who wants to pursue a career as an account executive (sales)?
GM: Never become complacent with your position in this industry or your craft. This career path is a labor of love, and you are only going to get out of it what you put into it.
ECN: What is your greatest accomplishment? (This does not have to be related the industry)
GM: My two greatest career accomplishments would be obtaining my MBA in Event
Management and having the honor of receiving the IAEE Young Industry Professional of the Year Award in 2011. Both have been major high points in my career and I will always treasure them.
My greatest personal accomplishment is finding my fiancé Mary Thomas. This industry can be very difficult at times. You spend a lot of time on the road away from your family and friends. Finding someone who not only accepts what I do but also supports it is amazing. She is truly the best and I am very thankful to have her in my life.
ECN: What personal attributes, outside of pure sales ability, are important to building a book of business for the long term?
GM: Be honest and sincere with your clients. They will always be able to read through the lines. As long as you are upfront with them, you have done everything that you can do in the business. Remember that you are looking to develop partnerships in this industry and a partnership goes both ways. Never compromise the integrity of your client or yourself.
ECN:From your perspective, what should veteran account executives be aware of in order to survive and thrive in the industry?
GM: A very good friend of mine once said, “Greg, you have three options in any career. Migrate, adapt or die.” If you want to remain successful in this industry, you have to keep educating yourself and understanding your clients’ needs.
ECN: Sales prospecting is a hard job. What keeps you motivated and focused?
GM:I look at my work as if I’m building a friendship and not prospecting a sale. I have the honor of saying that I have enjoyed working with all of my clients, and a lot of them today are still some of my close friends. I also have had the privilege of working for Champion Exposition Services and now The Expo Group. Both companies focus on client relationships and only accept those clients who are looking to enter that kind of partnership.
ECN: Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the one piece of advice he/she shared that you cherish today?
GM: I actually have had several important mentors in my career, and I’m sure they know who they are. The one message that has been a constant from each is to just be yourself. We all have our own unique personalities, and you need to just let it show. Enjoy what you do, and try to put your own personal flavor on it.