with Kathleen Winchip & Cam Petty
Introducing the Render Team Series on the Render Podcast!
This week we are kicking off a new series designed to help our listeners identify areas of growth in their business while learning different tips and tricks to succeed in key areas. We will be sharing a deeper insight into what the day-to-day tasks and goal setting and achieving look like at our Render HQ.
If you’ve been keeping up with us on our Instagram, you’ve been seeing our “A Day In The Life” reel series. This is us trying to give you another authentic glimpse into how we serve our clients and each other daily.
CAM — Hello! Welcome to the Team Series, breaking apart our business and the people who serve in each of the different areas and positions. Today, we are going to chat about sales and I’ve got the amazing Mrs. Kathleen with me here today!
Kathleen is our lead sales and project manager at Render and absolutely kills it with design decks and quotes to our customers!
Kathleen — Hey everyone! I’m excited to be back on the podcast with Cam, this time going in-depth on what I do at Render. I’ve been here for almost a year now but it feels so much longer! This past year has really been a growing year for me in my career and with Render. I feel as if I have grown both personally and professionally in this role and Cam has really pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I’ve truly enjoyed diving into the events industry, making connections with other professionals, and most importantly creating joyful experiences for brands, couples, and people in our community.
CAM — So sales in this events industry have been off and on and a bit different over the last few years. We used to have a ton of lead time before an event, at least 3-4 weeks before the event at the very latest, but now we are getting event inquiries literally on the day of the events sometimes. How are you handling these quick turnaround times?
Kathleen — The quick turnaround times have been challenging but we have such a great team and our communication is so in sync that we’re able to pull these tight turnaround times! For these types of events, I make it a priority to really get on the same page with the client. Hopping on a phone call with them to get event details and their aesthetic is so important. Since we provide custom renderings for our clients I want to make sure that I’m fully understanding their vision and this is where you can really show them that you understand what they want. Which is huge for the sales process! In addition to nailing the aesthetic, I’m also making sure I get as many logistical details as possible that way when I pass it along to Gabriel, our Operations Manager, he’s not scrambling to gather all the information for our delivery team. Our team is so great with having each other’s back that we naturally do our part to set each other up for success by the time the project is handed off to the next person.
CAM — There’s a difference between hunting and fostering incoming sales. Hunting is going out and finding sales and fostering is the organic wish lists and emails that come in for events. We’ll talk about hunting the sales and how we do that in a moment, but can you tell us a little bit about how we foster the sales that come in from google searches or through our website?
Kathleen — It’s so important to foster the sales coming in because these are actual clients that have sought after Render. Something about us caught their eye and we want to make sure that once we receive their inquiry that they feel immediately taken care of. Something as simple as calling the client to let them know we’ve received their inquiry goes a long way. It’s also nice for them to know that we are not robots behind computers and that a professional is actually sitting and looking at their needs. After we’ve chatted on the phone or if the client continued the conversation via email, I walk them through the next steps which are building their custom design deck and quote. We talked about this in our previous episode about Design Decks so if you go back to that episode you’ll hear more from Kaley, our Chief Creative Officer, and me about that process.
CAM — So outside sales are a bit different in our approach. One of my favorites is sponsoring events and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Kathleen, I know you love networking events and relationship building as outside sales, will you talk a little more about those?
Kathleen — I’ll be honest, I’m an introvert, and networking events really scared me in the beginning! But as I attended more events I got more comfortable with being uncomfortable and pushed myself to really sought after meeting professionals within our industry. I’ve met so many amazing people at networking events from planners to photographers to venue managers! There definitely have been a few networking events that helped bring in business for Render. I met a planner at a wedding networking event and we really hit it off. Not only did we talk about what we do but we talked about our husbands and activities we enjoy doing around Dallas. From there, she connected me with a couple who she’s planning their wedding which brought in business for us!
Another example would be planning a site visit with a venue! For site visits, I like to bring some sort of custom rendering that aligns with the space and their clientele to give to the manager. That way it allows them to literally see select pieces from our inventory and the scope of work we do.
I attended the grand re-opening party of a well-known venue in downtown Dallas and instead of taking it all in at the networking event I decided to take it a step further and get a one-on-one visit with the venue manager so I could have a private tour of the space and also talk about the services we offer. A couple of weeks later, I found out she passed along my information to a client using their space and was able to book rental pieces for them!
CAM — Sometimes Sales can have the “used car salesman” or sleazy type of stigma to it, I hope that mantra is changing and I see it changing too! How do we still become human and make the follow-up and interaction with our clients more personal and maintain a relationship with our clients?
Kathleen — This is big for me because I’ve always joked about my retail days and how bad of a salesperson I was! I’ve just never liked it when someone tried to sell me something and I’ve taken that feeling into my role here. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold something to and once the sales come through that’s that. “Thank you for your money, bye.” No! It’s so important for me to show our clients I’m a human and they’re a human and have human interactions. Yes, I want to work on their activation, wedding day, or child’s birthday party with them but I also want to know what they’re celebrating, how their vision came to be, or their story! Getting to know our clients during the sale and after is important! You can better serve your clients when you genuinely care.
CAM — You’ve got an SOP for sales that we have crafted and perfected over the years, how often do you use that or how important is it when you were being trained in your position?
Kathleen — I’m a 1 Enneagram so structure is important for me. SOPs are so important because they are guidelines for processes that have been tried and true. You and Kaley came together and put these processes together from experiences you’ve had in the past. Whether they’re good or bad, it’s important to know because it helped build our sales SOP. If I didn’t have these SOPs I would be SO LOST without them. I think I would actually be the “used car salesman” without it! No one likes that.
CAM — We use marketing to help get knowledge to our customers and promote rental products that we want to push more. How do we use our creative team to do this?
Kathleen — The “this or that” Instagram stories really help us get a pulse of what our clients are liking and wanting to see more of. It’s a great way to see that information in real-time. Reels are also a great way to recap events we’ve done and show off our scope of work! TJ, our Content Manager, has definitely passed along a good amount of inquiries we’ve received on social media from our posts.
CAM — You hear a lot of “no’s” from clients or sometimes nothing at all if they ghost you. How do you stay motivated when your orders don’t close into sales when you are quoting?
Kathleen — Being confident in our work and design skills keeps us motivated. If this design didn’t work for a client or if a project fell through, I’m confident that we’ll have another client that would absolutely love the design work we’ve done. For example, Kaley had a Texas-themed event that unfortunately got canceled due to COVID. A couple of months later, we sponsored a Texas-themed networking event and we were able to utilize a few of her design pitches for the new event!
CAM — To finish our podcast today, I have three questions for you to answer! Kathleen, what is your favorite memory of working at Render?
Kathleen — I think it would be my first Render Christmas dinner! I absolutely love intimate settings and laid-back activities. I love simple yet intentional gatherings like that.
CAM — What was your favorite event?
Kathleen — I really enjoyed designing and executing ‘The Defined Dish’ book launch party. It was a short turnaround time but I was so proud of the end result! I did my first fruit display on that project and was just so in love with how it turned out.
CAM — What is your favorite core value and why?
Kathleen — Work hard, live well. I’m naturally a hard worker and can easily burn out so I’m really lucky to work for a company that allows rest time. It allows me to show up as my best self to work and to continue to pour into Render and our clients.
We want to ensure you get all the information possible through our podcast episodes. If reading the interview wasn’t enough, click the Apple or Spotify link above to listen to this week’s full episode. Cam and Kathleen both share various stories about different parts of their job at Render relating to sales.
If you want to get snapshots of this episode, head over to YouTube to watch them discuss that sales team at Render.
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