3 Reasons Why You’re Losing Private Dining Clients

With on-site events, walk-throughs and in-person meetings on a very strict hold, many planners are putting their efforts into virtual consultations to book business. Now more than ever, we need to reflect back on our sales skills and reevaluate how we are interacting with potential leads. Rushing a consultation or ‘mailing it in’ with proposals may have worked before, but we’re in a pandemic, and business may be scarce - even after restaurants and bars open up again. This means we need to be at our sharpest, proving to clients that we are the best for providing an experience from the first call to last call. Here are 3 reasons why your consultation experience may be setting you up for failure with leads.

  • Weak First Impression: Are you rushing to get to your online consultation? Are you asking your client to begin later or making excuses for why you don’t have certain details ready to discuss? Are you dressed appropriately? Being on time and prepared to discuss how you can help your client is the #1 priority when at first scheduling a call with a lead. We’re already demonstrating how much we can be trusted with how we handle the initial meeting. If you show up late to an online consultation overwhelmed, disheveled and making excuses, you are not positioning yourself as someone your client can trust. Yes, being in quarantine can have us operating differently and can cause adjustments in our schedule, but you have to ask yourself this: how important is it to land your lead? Don’t let the client think you’re doing him or her a favor by showing up. Give them an experience and make them feel as if you are JUST as excited as they are for their event.

  • Pushing your own agenda: Oftentimes, many planners see a consultation as an invitation to spew their pre-written pitch and push their ideas on to the client. Not listening to your client and insisting they do things your way is almost a form of professional gaslighting! Now, I understand that as professionals, we do have a responsibility to guide our clients in the right direction. However, that time will come, and it’s not at the consultation. Consultations are an opportunity for us to consult, which means to seek information (i.e. LISTEN!). Take the time to soak it all in. This is especially important as we learn so much from what our clients say. The more customized our proposals are, the more likely a client will book. How do you make a customized proposal? By paying close attention to a client’s needs and providing a story of how exactly you will meet those needs. Do not simply send your ‘packages’ and assume every lead is a one-size-fits-all.

  • Slow Follow Up: Imagine this: You have a fantastic consultation with your client, you both are truly VIBING and you promise to follow up with details or information to the client. That client is probably SO excited to keep the momentum going and receive more information. However, you decide to wait, maybe until the end of the next day. By that time, the client had a consultation without another planner and received their information and contract shortly after the call. Now, you have the added responsibility to recreate the ‘magic’ all over again. If the momentum is high, you must ride that wave until the client signs on the dotted line! Otherwise, you’re putting your lead on the line and risking the chance of losing it to someone who is quicker. People are busy and there is so much stimulation in the world - especially when planning an event! Ground your clients by keeping them in one lane - yours.

How do you stack up against these 3 reasons? Could you use some help in creating more of an experience for your clients? Well, I’ve heard your cries and you’re in LUCK. When you sign up to receive our newsletter, you’ll receive our *free* private dining consultation form straight into your email. Yes, you heard that right. This form has every question you need to create an unforgettable planning experience with your guests! As a subscriber, you’ll be the first to receive all blog posts, free materials and registration sign ups for our online courses. We can’t wait for you to be a part of our team.