Party Professor – October 2016


Sales Versus Order Taking

Selling the Experience, Not the Price, Will Get You to the Next Level


Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

It always makes me crazy when a business owner has a fit about someone “taking” an order. Sometimes they refer to it as “low hanging” fruit. Here’s the deal: If we don’t grab the low hanging fruit, it will fall to the ground or someone else will come by and pick it up! My solution is that we talk about what’s really bugging us: order taking vs. sales.

Order Taking

It’s a transaction, plain and simple. The buyer says, “I want one of those” and the seller says, “Okay, give me your money.”

Or, it is guest led. The customer is in charge and there is no real opportunity to “sell.”

Many times it winds up being all about price because that’s what everyone is talking about.

A cashier can be converted from order taking to sales with a little training.

Successful order taking may rely a lot on marketing and heavy discounting.


It’s a relationship. The buyer says, “I want one of those” and the seller says, “Wonderful, I’m glad you’re here. How long can you stay today? Have you been here before?”

It is team member led. The guest feels as if they are in charge because the sales representative understands how to find out what the guest needs and makes sure your product is the answer!

Sales is a skill. Your team members must learn to connect with the guest, qualify their needs, present the right solution, and then ask for the money. (In that order.)

Creating Sales People

When we’re working with family entertainment centers, sales vs. order taking is often the dilemma. Everyone wants to grow their group and birthday party business. However, many are reluctant to hire a dedicated sales team or even a dedicated sales person. Groups and parties are calling in, and at many locations, the gal at the golf counter books the birthday or the guy at the front desk gives details (maybe correctly or maybe not) about a company event. It leads many to wonder why make the investment in hiring sales staff if you can simply take the order from the front counter? Yes, that’s a trick question. Do you just want to take orders or do you want to create sales?

If I was queen of the FEC Kingdom, I’d decree that every location have a dedicated sales team. I wouldn’t want my facility sold based on price. If I only have order takers, then I can’t sell the experience for the value   I know it’s worth. If you think you just have order takers in your sales office, your sales team doesn’t understand its role.

Every event is about the experience NOT the price. One of the first questions an event sales person should ask is: “If your event is perfect, what would that look like?” The guest will tell you much of what you need to know so you can present the best experience for their group.

I hope this is making sense to you. If you decide to convert your order takers into sales people, start by teaching them about curiosity and gratitude. “Mrs. Guest, I’m so glad you called, we have the best events in town. Please tell me more about your guests. What did you like most the last time you all got together?” I have a ton of “best questions” like these. (If you would like a list email me at [email protected].)

In conclusion, I want to make it clear that order taking is NOT a bad thing. Capturing the low hanging fruit is a must! But, if you really want to get to the next level, the first thing you need to do is to decide that you are a sales organization with a house full of sales people. It is what you have now… It’s just that some people are selling and others are un-selling all the time.

Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and  hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at


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