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Selling Missteps You Don’t Know You Are Making

Picture this: Your website is converting, and your social media profiles are thriving. Your calendar is filled with prospective consultations to the point that your local coffee shop knows you from frequent caffeine-fueled meetings. But, after all that, you see prospect after prospect booking with competitors and your closing ratio shows the result of that. 

Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. It’s easy to put the blame on your pricing for scaring people off, but often, it’s your sales approach that needs an adjustment.

Here are a few missteps that you may need to address to up your sales game and close your next lead.

Your proposals don’t tell a story.

Every time you send out a proposal, keep in mind that each prospect is likely comparing you to your competitors. That leads to the question: What sets your proposal apart? Clients tend to hire event professionals based on emotional connection, so it’s up to you to craft custom proposals that speak to them personally. A corporate lead should not get the same template as an engaged couple and vice versa. 

Take the time to understand a prospect’s needs and tailor a proposal just for them. Don’t be afraid to get creative with titles and tell a story that captures your vision. “Jack and Jill’s Wintry Ballroom Bash” will speak to a couple more than a file named “Wedding Proposal” because it shows that their dream day is already on your mind. Likewise, include photos and sample menus from similar events you’ve done in the past to showcase your expertise at work. After all, the devil is in the details.

Your body language says “no thanks.”

Remember those nonverbal cues? They can say more than words in a sales setting. You could be hitting all of the right buzzwords, but if you’re physically closed off, a client will see that and likely look elsewhere. Events are very personal experiences; prospects want to work with someone who is open and communicative. It’s important to show that as well. Crossed arms, lack of eye contact, and fidgeting all speak to the contrary. Instead, train yourself to sit up straight, maintain eye contact and, most importantly, smile often.

It works both ways, too. Once you have your mind on body language, you can observe your prospect’s nonverbal cues and tailor your sales approach accordingly. Did something you say cause them to close themselves off? Time to double back and address their concerns. Do you notice that they are becoming more enthusiastic and engaged? It may be time to bring in upselling techniques. 

Your training program is inconsistent.

Consistency is key when you have a sales team. It’s one thing when you’re going at it alone, but as a team leader, it’s up to you to ensure that every prospect receives the same client experience. Consistency is rooted in how your employees are trained. What does your training process look like? Do you have a comprehensive manual and a week’s worth of shadowing? Or do you just let new hires learn as they go?

If you lean toward the latter, it’s time to implement a streamlined training approach that coaches each employee to follow the same process. While you want to avoid going down the route of stuffy sales scripts, you still want to ensure that every member understands your sales process, your expectations, and how you have learned to close a sale. You are the expert in your company, so go ahead and show others how you’ve found success.

An effective sales strategy encompasses the three Cs: customization, communication, and consistency. If you make an effort to implement these ideas into your sales approach, rest assured that your prospects will notice and you will see a change in your closing ratio.

There is one more strategy to address as you create a solid foundation for your revamped sales strategy: networking. For some, the idea of networking is terrifying; however, it is incredibly important for growing your business, no matter where it currently stands. Startups and established businesses alike have a lot to gain from expanding their networks and discovering opportunities with new partners across the industry.

Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of