Engagement is critical when booking group business

We all say that we are fostering engagement in our sales departments, but how are we doing it? Let’s start thinking about being more of a consultant than a salesperson. The idea is to stop selling and stop talking so much. Stop with the sales pitch and sales presentations. 

In today’s world of information technology, most people responsible for booking meeting venues have already explored options for their needs. We do not need to focus on telling prospects all about what it is we have to sell them. What we need to do is to engage prospects by working with them, as a consultant, to help them make a valued buy decision. This means knowing all you can find out about their needs as someone in charge of a group; their needs as a company, association or organization; the possible needs of their attendees; and maybe even the needs of their bosses. 

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There is no need to say much about your venue until you know more of what it is they are seeking—their needs and wants. This is the consultant approach in assisting them in making a buy decision. Engagement is so very critical in developing the information. Just do less talking and more asking of critical questions.

Everyone would agree that having confidence in sales is of the utmost importance. People generally like to deal with those who have confidence. The most successful salespeople are those who have confidence in themselves. So, how does one build confidence? In our business of hospitality sales, the three areas of knowledge that create confidence are knowledge of your product, knowledge of the competition and knowledge of prospects’ needs.

With appropriate engagement of a prospect, we gather their needs through the asking of who, what, when, where and why questions. Of course, sales staffers need to know their product inside and out! That means to be aware of all the features of the product as well as how any feature may meet a need of prospects and their attendees. This means salespeople must create an in-depth product analysis of the venue. The other area of knowledge has to do with the product analysis of the competition, and to understand the comparison of features.

It is really the confidence a salesperson has developed in terms of knowing the prospects’ needs along with knowledge of the product and competitors. That creates the consultative approach that helps a prospect in making a valued buy decision.

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