When it comes to selling parties and events, there are a number of things that can make the process easier, more fun, and successful.
One of the things that can make the biggest difference is to replay the call. I personally have learned more about how to sell better from the people who did not buy from me. It probably sounds odd but taking the opportunity to go back through the sales process and evaluate why you didn’t get the sale will sharpen your skills very quickly.
Fundamentally, I believe there is a specific sales process that gives you the greatest opportunity for success. If you’ve read this column in the past you know I’m addicted to the idea that you must first connect to people, then qualify their needs so that when you are ready to present your product you’ll be in position to sell them what they really want; and then finally close the sale by asking for their business.
All of that sounds very straightforward, right? However, my experience is that many times sales people rush to the presentation without having enough information. When you take the time to replay the call in your mind or with someone else you can think through the process. As you do the exercise I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
1. Did I really connect with the buyer?
2. Do I have a good idea of what is most important to the guest and the event? Did you ask questions like, “If your event is perfect what would that look like to you”?
3. Am I clear about the logistics of the event?
4. Do I know who my competition is?
5. Am I talking to the decision maker?
6. Do I have some idea about how much money they want to spend on the event?
In a replay of the call you may find out that potentially you only knew about the logistics of the event. Without a clear understanding of all of the other items listed above it is easy to have the sale go to someone else. It is my opinion that you should not even present a proposal until you know all the information listed in the 6 questions above.
Once you are sure that you’ve connected, qualified, and presented based on great information, then the final call replay activity is all about the close.
If you have been in sales for any time at all, I know you’ve heard the statement ABC. Always be closing! Personally, I think that closing happens through the entire sales process and you still have to ask for the business. You may find when you replay the call and think back about what you might have done differently, that you may not have directly asked for the business. I notice that sometimes a sales person uses “sending the proposal” as a method for closing. While I think that is a “next step” for booking the event, it is not the close.
In closing, you must say things like, “based on everything I’ve heard I believe I can put together a great event for your group. I can get everything put together for you and be ready to do a proposal review with you at 2:15. At that time if everything looks great, I can take a 50% and make sure your date is secure. Will you be ready to place the deposit at the time”? This is a powerful way to ask for the business directly and to help you understand whether or not this person can make the decision and how serious they are about booking the event at your center.
Please notice in your “replay the call thinking” if you directly asked for the business or not. What I have found in replaying the call, is that there are definitely places I could have asked more questions, gotten better clarification, and been more direct about asking for the business. It’s a great practice and a fast way to learn to sell better.
I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on your sales process of groups that you book and definitely the groups that don’t book. Remember, in the end, you’ll learn more from the one that got away, so take the time to look back and see what you might do different in that next sales encounter.
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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