Business growth expert to headline UMA Sales Summit

In the past year, the entire marketplace has changed dramatically, which is why sales teams — from the newest to the most experienced team members — need sales training more than ever, says Meridith Elliot Powell

Meridith Elliott Powell 

She plans to deliver that training at the third annual Bus & Motorcoach Industry Sales Summit, a virtual event July 13-15 from noon until 3 p.m. ET.  Powell, a business growth expert, is the keynote speaker for the three-day virtual training event. The sought-after professional speaker will kick off the event on Tuesday, July 13, with a focus on Sales Redefined: Engage, Connect and Thrive in Uncertain Times

“I’ve been in sales for more than 25 years. How I’m selling today is different from what I sold in February of 2020, pre-COVID,” Powell said. “We’re going to be talking about selling without getting in front of people, how do you build relationships in an online world, and where does in-person selling fit in right now because it very much does.”

Sales Summit benefit

Companies interested in selling more charter trips, keeping their fleets booked, building their sales pipeline, and elevating their overall sales and marketing efforts can benefit from the sales summit. Hosted by the United Motorcoach Association, Summit rates are designed to be affordable for operator companies to allow multiple staff members to attend.

Powell is tailoring her presentation for the motorcoach industry. She did her research by spending time with Young Transportation & Tours in Asheville, North Carolina. She came away from the visit impressed by how the family-owned business diversified its operations. 

“They had done everything that they could possibly do to protect themselves from any kind of external factor that could impact the industry, and the biggest thing you learn from that is no matter what you do, you’re never bulletproof,” Powell said. 

Young Transportation has fared better than most during the pandemic, and sales and marketing were a big part of that.

“They didn’t rest on their laurels, hoping for the phone to ring,” Powell said. “They looked around, and a lot of their business was gone, and they reached out. They started making the connections. They looked for new markets and opportunities.”

Sales culture, lifestyle

Powell says sales doesn’t have to be a massive expense, but it needs to be a culture and a lifestyle within an organization. 

“It’s one of the strongest things that you can do to ensure that you are as bulletproof as you can be against change and disruption in the marketplace,” Powell said. “You can’t cut your way out of a crisis, but you can sell your way out of it.”

Her presentation will focus on powerful tools for controlling change rather than change controlling you, including: 

  • Anticipate change so it becomes an opportunity that leads to growth.
  • Make conversations with customers happen, even if they say they aren’t interested.
  • Analyze what’s working and not working with your sales team.
  • Follow up. The least-often-trained part of the sales strategy and the most important.

Change and disruption

Powell’s career began in marketing. She has worked in travel and tourism, health care and financial services.

“I realized that I’ve moved into each one when they were going through massive disruption,” said Powell. “I figured out that my gift and my passion is massive change and disruption in the organization. Certainly, I deal with strategies with businesses to grow sales and leadership. But it’s all wrapped under change and disruption. If you need to find a new path forward, that’s what I do.”

She encourages attendees to show up at her presentation with an open mind and questions. She has spent the past 18 months studying companies that have found their path forward during this economically devastating time.

“I want them to realize this is their time to get the answers to what they need to really do to put their business back on track,” said Powell. “What I love about this industry is that you provide pleasure to people, whether it’s helping people get to a wedding or to a sporting event, or taking them on a trip to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry. That’s something people really need right now.”

TEAM Registration is now available at the UMA Sales Summit for up to five people from the same UMA Member company for $199. The individual rate is $109 for a UMA Operator Member. 


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