Skip to main content


01 Feb 2024

Motivating and inspiring sales professionals at the AEO Forums by Alison Willis

Motivating and inspiring sales professionals at the AEO Forums by Alison Willis

What an amazing day we had at the AEO Forums last week.  It was an honour to curate and chair the sales forum in partnership with Flume Sales Training at the Business Design Centre on Friday.  A great way to kick start the year with rich content, inspirational speakers, top take aways and of course industry networking.  It was great to see so many new connections being made, and personal networks being built!


The theme of ‘Power in You’ translated throughout the day:

Kicking off with the inspiration and energetic keynote by Sarah Furness, where we all realised that feeling scared is completely normal and learnt how to control and accept the emotion, to simply ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’!  She spoke passionately about how to embrace discomfort, lead authentically and literally embrace the power in you.

Then on to the sales stream. Like many of the delegates, I started my career as a sales exec, which is why I was excited to create a stream, dedicated to helping unlock potential with lots of knowledge and tips for personal and professional growth.  As someone who has followed the commercial career path in events, the sales agenda was designed to support career goals and enhance skillsets.


Key take-aways from the agenda include: 

Ascent to Excellence

The first session, which saw Joe Riddett my colleague from Easyfairs and Connor Lamoureux from Black Hat, join me on stage for an honest and inspiring panel.  They discussed their events sales career and how they have flown to become strategic leaders today.  From both starting their sales career at Office (yes, the shoe shop) to becoming extremely successful in event sales today, there were so many take aways to start to implement immediately!  Especially for me, the drive and individual focus on their career goals, outside of the career support they get internally.  Always striving for the next goal and being on a determined path to evolve skills and experience, to go over and above to deliver, and then reap the rewards in career progression and recognition!  Set a goal – like winning an internal award and focus and drive to achieve that!  Some fantastic advice and tangible take aways for any driven commercial professional!  The authenticity element came up again – be yourself and learn from those around you!


365 partnership: Customer insights for year-round event success

There is no better way to understand how buying habits are constantly evolving, than to hear it straight from your customers.  And we had the delight of a customer panel featuring Colin Pittman, Advanced 3D Laser Solutions, Halil Bedevi, UK Head of Advanced Manufacturing Sectors – for Santander and Raoul Monks, CEO of Flume Sales Training.   With tangible insights into the buying cycle and process, how it has changed.  Especially the decision-making process, now multiple stakeholders are involved!  Refreshing to hear that the personal, consultation approach is still favorable, and that the salesperson can make a positive impact on the decision!  We heard how ROO and ROI is influential and how we can really understand what would make a successful event for our customers and build bespoke campaigns around their unique objectives and support them in their personal work-related objectives,


Managing high performance teams

A fantastic keynote delivered by Raoul Monks, Flume Sales Training, packed full of insightful research and translated into actionable insights that were 100% focused on driving revenue.  How we can change perspective and look at the world through the eyes of the customers, to allow salespeople to design approaches that make it easy for the customer to say “yes”.  What will make a difference to the decision maker, to make it mean something to them to say ‘yes’, and how can we fight the deals that get lost to inaction and status quo.  Loads of measurable and inspiring take aways to improve conversion.


‘Unleashing the power of the telephone for increased sales’ Anthony Stears AKA the Telephone Assassin

Anthony shared his mission to get businesses talking again and stop people from hiding behind their emails and social media. As a conversational strategist, he helped us understand how to get in front of more of our ideal customers and get more business from our existing clients.  He focussed on learning how to avoid rejection by implementing PTS (permission to speak) getting past the gatekeeper, perfecting the pitch and building rapport fast over the phone.  Highly engaging, packed full of take aways to get engagement up and making each call count!


And so quickly we saw the final interactive session

‘Power of mentors and accelerating your career’ with the Women in Exhibition mentors.  We saw one mentor per table steering conversations across the following themes:

  • Building your personal brand
  • Getting the best out of the sales and marketing relationship
  • Coping with the event cycle
  • How to build a network

Lots of ideas and highly engaging conversations, with much of passion and measurable actions, especially around the sales and marketing collaboration!  Aligning targets and improving communication to drive towards the same goals!

And just like that the day was complete – a lot of questions were asked, and I was delighted to see so much networking happening!  Thank you to my amazing speakers and delegates, who made the day memorable and fun!  I certainly learnt a lot!  Can’t wait for next year!