The task of selling an event space to prospective clients presents unique challenges. You not only have to offer facts, figures, and other essential information, but you also have to successfully inspire the imagination, focusing not just on what is, but what could be. Becoming a great event space sales team is an art in and of itself. These are some of our best sales tips for venues.
All photos Don Mears Photography
Don’t waste anyone’s time. The saying, “Time is Money” could not be more true for those working in sales. You want to make sure you are always using your time to the best of your ability. Respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. It’s the first impression you’ll make, and you want your potential clients to think of you as professional and responsive.
Pre-qualify your prospects. Before you confirm an appointment, make sure that your venue can meet the prospective clients’ needs. Is their date available? Can your space accommodate their anticipated number of guests? Your in-person time is extraordinarily valuable, as is their time. Ensure in advance that you are meeting qualified prospective clients.
Surprise & delight. Always begin or end with surprise and delight. Offer your guests a gift or personalized token of appreciation for considering your venue. These kinds of gestures are memorable and will keep you top of mind in the selection process.
Listen, listen, listen. One of the most common mistakes by sales professionals is not listening to the potential clients and truly understanding what they are telling you. Sales managers can sometimes launch into a pitch and forget to stop and listen. Ask what the five most important aspects of the event will be. By determining your prospect’s priorities, you’ll better know which features of your venue to emphasize. If photography is their priority, for example, spend extra time pointing out the best spots on the property for photo shoots. It’s equally important to listen to what they are not saying. Be perceptive and you will gain invaluable insight.
Do your detective work. If yours is not the first venue they visited, ask what they did not like about previous properties. Let them know that they don’t need to give you the venues’ names, just the aspects that didn’t meet their hopes or needs. The knowledge will let you spend time focusing on how your venue can better address their requirements.
Have no fear. Don’t be afraid to ask for the close. Explain what the process will be to book the date, set a deadline for a response and make it easy for your potential clients to say yes.
The most important goal when selling a venue to prospects is to be client-focused. Let them see and experience how you are able to anticipate, interpret and ultimately meet (and exceed) their expectations, and your closing rate will soar.
Heather Jones is the Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a handful of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.
Want to learn more about on-premises sales and marketing? Click here for the full list of Catersource live education sessions, presented February 18 to 21, 2018 in Las Vegas.