Thanks to a Facebook memory pop up, I realized that today marks two years since the launch of my digital sales training program – Influencer Sales. Which was also the launch of my company – Scout Simply.
The start was kind of accidental. I had just finished a really intense six month coding bootcamp and my actual plan was to find a job as a junior web app developer until I got my programming chops. Meanwhile, I had also designed a unique sales training class for a client that married sales strategies with some cool digital marketing technology and apps and Interstate Hotels needed an extra 300 salespeople to be trained instead of the initial 100.
With mostly naïve determination, I said yes, I will figure it out. And I launched Influencer Sales. I first trained all the Sales VPs in this new program and they suggested a few minor tweaks. With the program updated, I recruited some amazing partners and off to New Orleans in August of 2018 we all went! The program got rave reviews and I got a lot of calls asking for this program to be delivered in all sorts of places.
I figured out a way to keep up with my coding – I do all my own – and I also evolved the training. What began as strictly an in-person program morphed into a four week virtual classroom and then this past January I added a new format – a sales bootcamp. Short daily bursts of learning – 15 to 20 minutes – self paced and then a weekly virtual workshop. It was exciting, there was growth and I had even added a few more classes along the way – including the Hotel Digital Marketing Essentials Class in partnership with Dan Wacksman of Sassato and HSMAI.
And then the Corona came. I won’t lie, it was pretty terrifying for me, like it was for so many others. My niche was selling training to hotels and hotels were so very hard hit. I won’t soon forget the email I received on March 9 from a client who was about to start with eight weeks of two day, in person classes scheduled to begin in April. The email said, and I quote (from memory though I still have it) “Uh Holly, I think we are going to have to postpone this training. Our hotels have lost about $3 million in business over the last week. Stay tuned.”
However, here we are, five months later and I am frantically working to finish a new version of my program tailored specifically for global sales teams. So far, I have survived, my company has survived and I have learned a lot of valuable lessons.
The two most important are these. First, when you are feeling down, the absolute fastest way to start feeling better is to help someone else and second, don’t get too attached to those detailed plans you made – you may need to pivot. What was that song by John Lennon – “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
I’d like to thank all those folks who were invaluable in getting me started and keeping me going. I am sure that I will miss some folks but if I do, tell me because I do my own website so I can add you in!
Amber Fox, Loren Gray, Christine Williams, Toni Sammons, Jennifer Langham, Leigh Ann Waters, Denny Stewart, Hunter Webster, Michael Innocentin, Michelle Garmin, Sine Bob Sloan, Celine Klinker, Jennifer Chauvin, Ginny Morrison, Haydn Kramer, Michael Civita, Carolyn Smith, Mickey Rowley, Juli Jones, Dan Wacksman, Kathy Tindell, every single one of my fabulous students and of course, Henry and Scout.