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The 12 components of sales excellence

Those who enter the special events industry are a unique breed—they have a passion for celebrating the moments in their clients’ lives with flair and creativity, and they will stop at nothing to ensure that an event or a conference is executed without a hitch. Event pros are passionate and excited about what they do—and they do it well.

Most people involved in our industry entered into this field because of their passion for and skill set in events and culinary arts; but while these elements are vital, they are not the only factors necessary for success. In this industry you must be more than a brilliant caterer and a meticulous planner, you must also have panache for sales.

Sell, plan and execute – are you strong in all three?

In order to succeed and make your business everything you know it can be, you need to be a master at following skills:

Selling – You know that your vision and execution will blow your prospective clients away, but now you need to convince them to feel the same! They need to know why you are different and what it will mean to them.

Planning – Meticulous planning involves creativity, attention to detail, and the ability to think on your feet. Without confident and effective planning—even if your event is a hit—the stress you have caused your clients will lead to poor reviews and negative word of mouth.

Execution – This is the real test of your perseverance. Ensuring that your event is elegant, well received, and on trend is the third major responsibility of any successful event planner.

For most of us, planning and execution are our strongest suits, and sales can fall by the wayside.

Are your sales skills—or lack there of—hindering your business and preventing you from achieving the heights you could otherwise be reaching? You are not alone. Read ahead for vital sales tips that can help you change the way you operate your business.

Change the way you approach sales

Here are 12 components of sales excellence: do you have them all?

Attitude – Great sales skills begin here. Even if you are feeling down, stressed, or irritated, you have to let this go and approach every sales meeting with vigor and energy. Let your prospective client know just how much their business means to you, and keep that smile on your face. If you enter the meeting feeling defeated, your clients will sense this, and their business will go to a competitor.
Desire – You know you want this job, your staff members know you want this job, your spouse knows you want this job—now you must communicate this desire to your clients! When they see how excited you are to help them plan their event your excitement will be contagious.
Tenacity – To be truly tenacious, you need to use different information in order to make different decisions and find different ways to reach your goals. The key word is different! Stay on top of current publications, make new connections, and network constantly. These factors will help you stay sales savvy.

Money motivated – A great salesperson is motivated by their financial rewards at the end of the project. This is where add-ons, special request fulfillments, and accurate billing all come into play. Make sure that you are valuing your time correctly, too!

Eager to learn – When it comes to sales, as well as most aspects of your career, a hunger for new information and a commitment to lifelong learning will guarantee that you stay up-to-date with new skills and sales techniques that will strengthen your sales abilities.

Self-confident – A great salesperson simply must have confidence in their own abilities and the capacity of their company to fulfill their clients’ requests. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should your clients?

Appreciative of a challenge – If you approach a difficult sales situation or a prestige client with a defeated attitude, you will certainly limit your success and get passed over time and time again. Appreciate these challenges, roll up your sleeves, and tackle them with gusto. Your sales figures will reflect your courage!

Persistence – Once you have met with your prospective clients, you need follow up by the end of the day. Thank them for their time and remind them of the positive elements you will bring to their event, and then keep following up until you are informed of their decision.

Competitiveness – In the special events industry you might find yourself regularly bidding against your friends, and you must get ready to unleash your fiery competitive spirit! Keep an eye on your colleagues, and always stay one step ahead of the trends.

Able to cope with rejection – We have all been there: rejected. It feels terrible, but part of being a great salesperson is in knowing how to get up, dust yourself off, and keep your spirits high. After all, if you let this rejection affect your attitude you will lose more clients—and no one likes a vicious cycle like that!

Great listening skills – Have you ever spoken to someone who clearly is not a good listener, a person who keeps interrupting you and putting words in your mouth? It’s annoying and downright rude, and this person may have lost your business due to this behavior. Keep this in mind when you enter into a conversation with a prospective client. Take notes, make eye contact, and repeat their needs back to them to ensure you understand. Too often we are thinking of the next question without listening to their last answer.

Physically and mentally energetic – Finally, in order to be a great salesperson you must have energy! Racing from meeting to meeting takes physical stamina, and remembering the countless small details involved in planning is mentally tasking. Keep fit by exercising, meditating, and taking care of yourself, because without your health, your business is nothing!


Meryl Snow is an author! Booked It! was released at CSES2016, with her first book signing at the Welcome Reception on Sunday, March 13, 2016. 

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