As many of you begin reading this, you’re probably beyond interested to know what type of secret there is to private event sales and hoping to get your hands on this secret as.soon.as.you.can. Well, now that I have your attention, I’m going to go ahead and say it: the big secret to private event sales is… there are no secrets. Let’s be real here for a second; if there were actual secrets to success in event sales, we all could probably Google them by now. If it was that easy, everyone’s sales numbers would be skyrocketing. What I want to discuss today is that success in sales comes from something much more (and attainable!) than a quick fix or marketing gimmick.
Back in 2009, during my earlier days of event planning in Wrigelyville, I often wondered what ‘the secret sauce’ was to booking the types of clients that all the other restaurants and bars had. I thought there was some special secret or tactic that I had not learned yet that was going to catapult me from being a newbie event planner to an event sales guru. After I left that position to begin planning events for highly recognized restaurant group, I learned quickly that the tools we all use to plan events are quite similar. The only part I found was different (about the planning process) was how much effort the seasoned planners were putting into all of the small details.
So, I suppose there is a secret to sales; consistent and thoughtful work. All those small habits of making calls, holding meetings, follow up, answering questions and making sure you’re delivering what was promised? Those are all the same types of tasks that every planner has, but the ones who are successful are doing them with intention. They make it a priority to be the planner who ALWAYS calls back a client the same day, who handles walk throughs with enthusiasm and who approaches menu planning with careful precision. These qualities are ones only YOU as an individual can bring to your position and often these qualities far outway the actual product in the eyes of the customer.
I’m sure every event planner reading this has competition or knows of a similar restaurant or concept that is comparable to theirs. How do you set yourself apart from another business when you both produce outstanding food and cocktails or provide a perfect atmosphere for a party? Consistent and thoughtful work. How easy is the decision-making process for your client? Are you anticipating their needs and providing a solution or are you throwing options at them, hoping something sticks? This scenario alone can be the deciding factor in whether a client chooses your location over another. How about the way the client perceives YOU? Do you make them feel like priority by keeping in constant contact? Are you a step ahead of them during the planning of the event? Or do you become visibly annoyed when they make suggestions, ask questions or make them a low priority based on their budget? We gain SO much of our business by becoming someone our clients can trust to guide them and deliver. That’s the REAL secret.
When I began to incorporate this idea into my everyday work, I noticed that I had far less of a need to promote and market my product. This is because my work ethic spoke for itself. The clients who had a positive experience gave me word-of-mouth business that you just can’t pay for. In fact, the restaurant group I worked for is so successful in this concept that they are known for not using paid advertising. It sounds crazy, but it is possible!
This week, I challenge you all to take a look at your everyday tasks and choose one where you may be ‘mailing it in’. First, address the task. Next, understand the needs of the customer when it comes to that task. Finally, execute a solution that will fill that need.
What small steps do you plan to take into perfecting your process? Also, what sales-driving tactics have you and your team been sticking to that may need to be reevaluated?
I would love to know your thoughts on this piece, so please feel free to comment on our blog today and share how you plan to perfect your customer experience! If you are not a subscriber yet, please sign up below and you will receive my 3-Step Chain on How to Collect Customer Data. It is free and will help you set yourself up for event planning success in 2020!