Episode 137: Matt Rolnick – Leveraging Memorable Events for Better Engagement
Matthew Rolnick, Amazon bestselling author and VP of strategy and innovation at Yaymaker, shares with the Social Sales Link team how to leverage memorable online events for better engagement with employees and teams.
For Matthew, it’s all about determining what’s important to employees, asking them for ideas. Learn the types of events you can organize to help salespeople stay motivated, which according to him, does not always have to be complex or paid for. He also believes in healthy competition among teams as long as you set parameters and make it fun with little prizes for the most effective teams.
Matthew also shares how he teams up with celebrities to kick off events and speakers to discuss important topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental health.
Learn more about Matthew and his company Yaymaker at yaymaker.com. If you have questions or want to get in touch with him, you can email him at [email protected]. You may also connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
Matthew Rolnick 00:00
Making sales social really is just about connecting with people. So I’m a believer, whether it’s in person or virtually using social media, I love using LinkedIn to form new relationships, strategic partnerships, or even generate sales. So I find it a very powerful tool.
Bob Woods 00:18
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales, marketing, and business. Join Brynne Tillman and me, Bob Woods, as we each bring you the best tips and strategies our guests are teaching their clients, so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Enjoy the show.
Brynne Tillman 00:43
Welcome back to Making Sales Social Podcast! I’m really excited because I’m here today with Matt Rolnick. One of my buddies, he is a VP of Strategy and Innovation for Yaymaker. He’s the author of “Find Your Yay” isn’t that fun? He’s also probably the Udemy Instructor of all time. This guy has over 100,000 student enrollments. Unbelievable. And he’s a social selling thought leader and what he talks about is how to leverage really meaningful events to get engagement with employees and teams. Welcome, Matt. Thanks for joining me.
Matthew Rolnick 01:26
Brynne, thank you so much. Always a pleasure talking with you.
Brynne Tillman 01:29
Ah, I’m so excited. So the first question we ask all of our guests is what does making sales social mean to you?
Matthew Rolnick 01:37
Making sales social really is just about connecting with people. So I’m a believer, whether it’s in person, which I love, connecting with people or, or virtually, or social media using social media, I love using LinkedIn to form new relationships, strategic partnerships, or even generate sales. So I find it a very powerful tool. But to me social selling and utilizing social is about just connecting with people.
Brynne Tillman 02:05
I love that, you know, connection really is it, it’s that human to human. So Yay Maker is really about creating these memorable events. And I’m just going to start for a moment with, you know, right now we’re still this hybrid, right, where we’ve got a lot in person, but we’re doing more and more on Zoom, and I’m not sure that that’s going away. So share with us a little bit about what makes a memorable event, especially online.
Matthew Rolnick 02:34
What makes a memorable event is I think people being focused, engaged, not distracted, something that they really enjoy and connecting with others, which I talked about. And then virtually, I think having somebody to really facilitate if you have somebody who’s passionate about the experience, and can get everyone involved, whether they’re introverted or extroverted, I think that’s what helps make an event special and memorable.
Brynne Tillman 02:57
So that’s awesome. Talk about some of the things that can be done in these events. Like a business leader says, you know, what, I really need to reconnect my employees, they’re not seeing each other much. And I really want a bonding moment. What are types of events? Like, I know, you do some game shows and things like that. But what are some types of events that they can hold that create that employee bonding?
Matthew Rolnick 03:27
You know, that’s a really good question. I think what is listening, asking your employees like, what’s important to them? So mental health is really important. So that’s why I see yoga type of events or meditation events can be important to them. Some feel like there may be they’re just feeling like they’re doing the same thing over and over and over and the days just keep running into the weeks and the months.
So you know, we like creative experiences. So whether you know, whether we do paint nights, or making ukuleles are events, that things we do. But as I said, I think it’s really talking to your employees, what’s most important them, some are like, hey, we live different states, different countries, you know, you can do virtual happy hours and make it make it fun, make it you know, tie into a theme, throw in some trivia. I mean, there’s a lot of things leaders can do, talking with their employees. So I think listening, asking for their own ideas, I think that’s all helpful as well.
Brynne Tillman 04:24
Interesting. So I kinda like that. Now, some of the things that you talked about, even though we’d be doing them as a group, is still feeling a little individual like, I love the idea of a paint night but I’m still primarily painting my own picture, right? But things like game shows and trivia nights that you throughout.
These are really fun, really collaborative types of things. Do you recommend them doing it with their employees 30,40 employees or going into breakout rooms or what works? What doesn’t work?
Matthew Rolnick 04:57
Well, let’s think… I mean in person all sizes things can work. And there are things we do experiences like collaborative paintings where people can work on the same project together. I would say in general, like on a zoom, if you have 10 to 50 people that can really work breakout rooms and activities are experienced from, I’d say, four people to eight is probably ideal. I see when we do activities and do breakout rooms, six to eight is pretty common. So hopefully that answers your question there.
Brynne Tillman 05:29
Yeah, so six to eight’s, not too big. Sometimes I think like two to three is ideal. But you think in some of these collaborations, even six people isn’t too many?
Matthew Rolnick 05:39
Yeah, mean, we find when people are doing problem solving together, you know, like, again, I’ve seen murder mystery experiences or things, but you get a group of six to eight can be a pretty powerful group and so…
Brynne Tillman 05:52
That’s a lot of fun. Now, you personally run a sales team?
Matthew Rolnick 05:55
I focus mostly, we have a business to consumer side of the business, and a business to business. So for the corporate events team, I work with our corporate events team to grow our clients and things like that. So yeah…
Brynne Tillman 06:09
So how do you do what you sell? What do you do to keep your salespeople engaged and happy? What are some things that keep them motivated and have memorable experiences?
Matthew Rolnick 06:21
Well, you know, what they’re not everything needs to be paid for or needs to be complicated or things like that. I work closely with Min Brown, who’s our private events manager. And we have three meetings a week, every time she starts with a little icebreaker. And it can be you know, the most simple thing you hear two truths and a lie or things like that, or, or what’s your, you know, favorite hobby as a kid or whatever, little things like that, you know, it might seem silly or corny. But the reality is these icebreaker questions, you learn about each other, you open up more things like that.
I mean, trivia is a popular experience for us but any company can do their own trivia, and little questions like that. It just, you know, it gets people a little competitive, it can be fun, it can be you learn about each other. So I’m a big fan of, you know, if I had advice for leaders, that just trying to take that step to improve that culture, little ice breakers before meetings, or little trivia is can be a lot of fun.
Brynne Tillman 07:21
Ah, that’s fun. What do you feel about creating a competitive vibe with the sales teams?
Matthew Rolnick 07:27
You know, I think competition is good. I think it’s healthy and you know, you set the parameters and things like that, but offering little prizes for the most effective teams or things like that can be fun. You know, competition can be good. I mean, I work with a lot of sales organizations and sales teams, so you just get a little more competitive spirit, but having different departments compete with each other can be a lot of fun. So I’m all for that.
Brynne Tillman 07:52
Oh, I love that idea of me, marketing versus sales.
Matthew Rolnick 07:55
Brynne Tillman 07:57
Ohh my Gosh… How fun would that be? Oh, I have so many things going through my head, you want to talk about memorable. That would be a lot of fun. So I have two more questions for you. One of the events that are pretty popular for you guys are cooking classes. Do you send people a list of what to go buy and then everybody cooks together with their iPhone open. How do you do that?
Matthew Rolnick 08:27
Often, I mean, we can do that where we can actually ship supplies with any of our experiences. But often with cooking experiences, we will set you know, send a list of things that you can buy. So it depends on, you know, budgets and everything like that but a lot of people, groups will come and say, you know, “I want to do a cooking experience.” And we just sent him the ingredients, but others, you know, whether it’s mixology or cooking, we can just send them. Exactly.
Brynne Tillman 08:53
Yeah, I picture you guys teaming up with one of those, like fresh meals that get delivered to your door. But anyway, I always thought that that was fun. Looking at the things that you do. The last piece because I think this is really fun. Is the comedian/celebrities that really creates memorable moments and we had talked just briefly about some of those folks, but just share what celebrities can do to increase that memorable moment and who you’ve worked with.
Matthew Rolnick 09:34
Sure, one person we love working with quite a bit has been Montell Jordan, who sings “This is how we do it.” And a number one song in the 90s. Seems like every age seems to know that song. So we’ve worked with him to kick off events, since “This is how we do it.” Or if he does a pre recorded shout out to a team or things like that. So that’s been fun. We’ve worked closely with Miguel Cervantes, who’s the lead of Hamilton in New York on Broadway, that’s been fun.
We’ve done an event and it was a fireside chat with Fran Drescher. So that was an experience or event that we did. So we have worked with several celebrities. We also work with a lot of speakers on diversity, equity, inclusion topics or mental topic are important. So we’ve done like 30,45 minute talks with some q&a. So that’s something that I will recommend companies talking about diversity, equity, inclusion and mental health as well.
Brynne Tillman 10:32
So I love to see if some talks about that. Do you have any engagement strategies internally, or games or things that people could do to recognize DEI Strategies?
Matthew Rolnick 10:46
You know, when it comes to engagement, or strategies, I think talking about I think, coming from the top, not just an HR department, but the CEO or leaders to just at least acknowledge and mention, and doing some experience or conversation, I think it’s important.
So every company, depending on the size, is very different but that’s what I’d share. I think I shared with you earlier, once that, you know, recently hispanic heritage month that was, you know, tying in paint Hispanic Heritage paintings with that. But so, again, any company can do their own trivia and tie in some questions with that, and… (Brynne: Ohh that was good.)
So that’s, I mean, often you know, in all hands, I might share some fun facts on Hispanic Heritage Month, like Did you know, these things are women’s history month. So there’s just simple things to just make it more aware. So you could put it on just a general slack or talk. So besides an experience.
Brynne Tillman 11:44
love that, Well, Matt, this was a lot of fun. And it should be because that’s what Yay Maker is, is just a lot of fun. But tell people how they can get in touch with you.
Matthew Rolnick 11:55
So anybody can get in touch with me. I’m very active on LinkedIn so people can send me a message or send requests. So it’s Matthew Rolnick ( R-O-L-N-I-C-K). and my email is [email protected]
Brynne Tillman 12:10
That’s great. Well, thank you so much for sharing some of your really cool ideas for our business leaders. And I am sure you’ll have lots of people connecting with you. Thanks again for your time. Thank and listeners when you are out and about don’t forget to make your sales social.
Bob Woods 12:29
Thanks for watching and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Hit the Subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast. Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com for more information.
Find Your Yay: amazon.com/Find-Your-Yay-Voice-Social-ebook/dp/B09FNG4TFK