This is a perfect time of year to get serious about booking more parties. If you take a strategic look at how business is created in your center, then I think you ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do I have a selling system?
2. Who has the accountability of the sales opportunities in the center?
3. What can I do today to create more sales?
Let’s look at each of these questions individually. A selling system takes a simple information based call where your people tell a customer about a party and turns every call into a sales opportunity. It’s simple; but it is a different mindset than may exist around incoming calls today.
You see the customer calls in and says, “I’m interested in booking a birthday party.” So a good guest service person begins to book a birthday party. Intuitively that seems like the right thing to do. And, in an information-based call, that focuses on “telling” the customer about your facility, and that works to get the word out, but lessens your chance of booking a party. It’s a transaction-based call that results in “taking orders” or not. However, if you want to begin to “sell” parties then you get a sales system.
We think you have to connect first with the caller, then ask some important qualifying questions. Once you have enough information from the guest, you present the party options that best fit their needs, and finally you close the sale or ask for the order. We call that the CQPC of selling and it is the system that we find incredibly effective. If you would like to see it at work, then watch this free five minute training video on YouTube called Bad Call, Good Call: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4w46RPukbc.
In looking at question number two it comes down to staff. Do you have a sales office or a dedicated sales person or team? Are you expecting your general manager to book all the parties? Maybe it’s your front desk. When we talk about accountability it always surprises me that some centers make everyone that answers the phone responsible for booking parties, but there may be no single person accountable for driving sales. You see the difference?
We all know that whatever we focus on is the thing that gets done. With that said, I’m not suggesting that the owner or the GM is the person to take over the sales role in the center. I’ll be bold and say that the owner or the manager is too busy with the day-to-day operations of the facility to effectively be that person in charge of sales. If that’s the way you’ve been doing it in the past, I encourage you to do it differently this year.
Put someone new in charge of sales. Make it more than just their responsibility. Allow them to set goals and to be accountable for those goals. Reward them for winning. With sales, it’s easy to keep score. You have year over year results to compare the success. Invest in a sales person or a team that has the accountability for growing your group and birthday party sales. It could be the best investment you ever make.
Finally, if you are like me, creating more sales today is at the top of your mind. So obviously, based on question one and two, the top two things you must do is stop telling people about parties and begin to “sell.” Number two, put someone in charge of sales.
I also believe you can begin to create sales from your current parties by simply asking those that are partying with you if there are people they know that would benefit from having a fun event like they just had. You could do that in person, in a follow up call after the event, or even in a written guest survey program.
One of the easiest things to do is to simply call the people who’ve had parties with you in the last three years. It’s worth the look back especially when it comes to birthdays. Moms want their children to do different things in different years. Last year’s parties might not even be your best target when it comes to birthdays. Rebooking groups is EASY. They really appreciate the fact that you called them 4-6 weeks prior to last year’s event.
Hey, if you get real serious you can book a group for next year, next quarter, next month when they are in your center having their current event. Ask –– you’ll be surprised how many groups will go ahead and reserve their spot.
If you are serious about creating more sales this year and getting beyond order taking, then make a real commitment to creating a sales environment where someone has the accountability of growing your group and party sales. If you don’t know how to do that give me a call at 817/886-4840. We would love to help you.
Beth Standlee is the CSO and founder of Trainertainment, a sales training company dedicated to great guest service, party development, and ultimately bringing more money to your bottom line. Beth can be reached by email at email@example.com.
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