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The Sale – Truth, Justice and the Patience of a Saint

The market at the moment is a tough place to be playing ball in, a large number of people don’t want to play fair, the new kids on the block are doing their best to show the old guys how things are done, and its a tough world where nothing is a done deal until the ink on the signed contract is dry – and even then negotiations seems to continue.

So how do we ensure that our first contact with a client is a memorable one, and ideally the creation of some kind of relationship that reflects well on us and the venue we represent, and as such leads on to the eventual success of sealing of the deal?

Over the past year, I would say that it has become harder and harder to build that initial relationship and everyone seems to be a little more on edge and have a little less time – wanting the facts, nothing but the facts – and a one liner maybe on whether they can get an increased commission if the event does go ahead. Factor in too, the last-minute nature of all business at the moment, the fact that client and agent alike don’t always know if their event is London, Paris, Madrid, Hawaii or LA based (yes, we had something like that – and where would you rather be in the summer months?!) and the managing of a sales strategy is a little more than challenging.

As an individual I can imagine this to be even harder. Twitter opened my eyes to just how many event managers and events companies exist in the market place, and left me somewhat happy that I was not one of them. I can imagine that many of these companies are competing for the same business and many are struggling to make their mark – all selling the same dream, the ability to do things “differently” to their competition, and yet most suffering from lack of foundation within the market place and as such not having a client base who doesn’t feel they are “taking a chance”

Adapting to the market is something we all have to do, selling out is not. With that in mind, and avoiding therefore the feeling that may exist to devalue our brand (company or the brand “you”) – we have to stand firm even though we feel the ground underneath us shaking.

Don’t hide from it. At the end of the day you know what you can do, and you know what space, skills and support you have to play with. Taking that risk of promising something you are unlikely to be able to follow through with, just to seal the deal, is only going to blow up – and probably at the key time and when nothing you do can save you. At that point any hard work, and the best of intentions mean nothing.

There is no doubt that when you hear that the event you have been working on so hard to confirm, met all of the clients requests and matched all prices from the other competitor venues, has gone elsewhere due to “client preference” that there is a feeling of injustice. The dressed up site visit, goodie bag thank you, company logo blazed across the walls – all to no avail…..there is though no time to dwell on this. Of course, we need to do our best to work out the “why” gleen as much information as possible as to why the event went elsewhere, and work internally so that next time it doesn’t – there isn’t however, time to feel sorry for ourselves as there is no line on the P and L for “nearly”

What can I really say. Whether the event is short lead or one of the last few remaining – “booked 6 months out” types, there is the need to tread the fine tightrope of the waiting game. to stick or to twist, jump before being pushed – to lower the rate by the few £ that may make no difference – or matching everything to then be left to wait on tenterhooks as the post returns nothing but “maybe tomorrow’s”. Sometimes you do everything you can, and then you just have to move on to the next thing and not look back. You reach the point of having done all you can, and waiting is the new name of the game…..really tough for anyone in the events world, whose lives move at the speed of sound on any given day….no nails left for sure.

Who knows when things may turn, and yet as I have discussed before, there are people and companies who are still able to hold their events, book their space – and event managers who know their value, and whilst learning that the need to be flexible is paramount, are also aware that to relinquish quality at this time means a long road to travel when such a president has been made.


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