How do you stand out, ensure your venue is seen in the best light and you win the business?
HOORAY – an enquiry has come through, now is the time you become best friends with your client….the Event Planner
In essence you need to show empathy, understanding and give the event planner the best options available.
How do you do this effectively?
Ask questions (lots) preferably open–ended questions – I have mentioned in a previous post that I hate the use of the keyboard when we receive an enquiry.
Have a list of well-rehearsed questions to help you show your client that you are hungry for the business and that you are there to make the decision process easier for them.
What is an open-ended question?
The main rule is your client can’t answer with a ‘yes or no’. They need to answer with more than one sentence word which means you will get much more useful information. They usually begin with why, how or what. When you get more information, it will be easier for you to create the proposal and highlight how you will be the best possible alternative for their event.
Examples of open-ended questions
- What is important for you with this event?
This is a great question to get a lot of information. Make sure you never forget this question.
- How would you rank these important criteria?
It will give you an insight into what the event planner is looking for and will enable you to positively position your venue with their requirements. E.g. They are looking for space with lots of natural daylight and team building area.
From your first question you will receive several important criteria for them in order to create a successful event, it would be good to know what criteria are most important. Relate these criteria to what you can offer. However, be aware of overpromising, be honest if your venue doesn’t have one specific criteria. Don’t waste their time.
- What do you hope to accomplish with the event or the main purpose?
This gives you a better understanding of the event. Here is the opportunity to mention previous clients that have held similar events, thus creating FOMO (Fear of Missing Out!)
- What was good / bad with the previous event?
If they have arranged previous events in previous years, it’s important to know if there was something special that worked well or if there were bad experiences.
- What budget do they have for the event?
For larger events they usually have a budget, if you are aware of the budget you can create a better offer for them. Remember – ensure you adhere to your own businesses financial strategy, if the budget is too low, explain this to your client, again honesty is key. Never undersell or undervalue your event space and the service you provide.
- Are you flexible with the dates?
For example, if they have a low budget, alternative dates could be a better option for your venue to offer, It will ensure you don’t fill most popular dates with low rated business. For example – A January conference in low season may work for both your sales strategy and your client’s budget.
- What other venues have your considered?
It goes without saying that you will know your competitor set, and as you now know your clients’ ideas, wants wishes you can safely compare your venue.
- Who will be making the final decisions?
For larger events, it is likely to be more than one decision maker, ask your client what can you do to influence all of them?
Can you invite the key decision makers to visit your property and experience your hospitality first hand – Maybe a Directors lunch / CEO stays complimentary, offer something you know your competitors won’t offer – stand out from the crowd !
- Shall I hold the space for you?
Although not an open- ended question per say it is a financial question to ensure commitment. Clients are likely to agree to hold the space once they understand they have good option in your hotel.
- When is a good time to follow up? If you are holding the space in your event diary, it is important to ask when you can follow up with a call / meeting – don’t forget to send a Calendar invite. As you are holding the space, it is essential you chase to avoid blocking your space with provisional business and stopping colleagues selling the space.
- What have I missed that is important to you?
This is an ideal opportunity for them to come back to you with additional criteria or for you to re-iterate their criteria. Ideal opportunity to show them you are listening to their wants/ needs and wishes and doing everything to provide the perfect solution for them
Here are a few examples you can use to help you build effective relationship with your event planner – remember to Link In with them, and send a note of thanks for giving you the opportunity to propose.