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Selling Me, Selling You – A Mutual Understanding

They tell me that sex sells. The glitz, the glamour – pomp and circumstance, just as you think you have seen it all, out of nowhere, BAM!

Of course, if you sit on the lower ground floor, in an office with no windows – all be it in one of London’s top hotels – the chance to get above ground is as exciting as it can sometimes get.

And so, there comes the time, when you have worked on an enquiry – the initial proposal sent, back and forth banter with an agent / event organiser / company secretary – when the day finally arrives for the site visit you have worked so hard to secure. Ground work has been laid, and all rooms are looking at their best. Homework done, time is set aside in the diary, “if it goes amazingly well and they have time” drinks are booked in the bar, and you happen to also be having a particularly good hair day…..”ain’t no stoppin us now” as the song goes.

It is important to remember that when conducting a site visit in the company of, all be it not necessarily together with, an agent / organiser – they are hoping to look good in front of their clients in a similar way to how you want to look good as a representative of the venue you are trying to sell. We also need to be sure that by the end of the site, the client is happy with both the venue and the initial relationship created with you, the event manager.

So, a couple of easy pointers?

Prices and rates
Some agents ask that rates not be discussed during a site visit. What and how they are selling their services as the middle man is up to them, although one would hope it would be transparent – but in any instance it is best to avoid having an agent pissed when clients are then able to turn around and say, “…but you told me”

What you can and can’t do
Same rules apply as above. Be clear from the outset whether or not you feel the venue can suit the needs, and exceed the expectations of, the client. The idea that “….but you told me” could be used either by the agent or client is not a good one, and you don’t want to create a situation that implies that you have not told the entire truth about any aspect of a quote.

Double team
Some of the best sells have been when I have been able to speak with the agent in advance, bond with them and then double team when it comes to the site and meeting with the end client. It is in some way a little like having mother of the bride on side before the bride herself sees  the space (although in a lot of cases it is the other way around when it comes to who needs to be onside first). If you and the agent are on the same page, genuinely enthused for all the right reasons, and can show this united front with the client, then it is in cases harder to lose the booking than it is to win it. Don’t miss-understand, there will be times when you think everything has gone right, when all the boxes have been ticked, and yet the event still ends up at some other venue – if you can look back and say that you did everything you could to make it work then losing it becomes a little easier to bear.

Contradictions
Don’t try and out do  the agent, or over impress the client. I have worked with clients whose loyalties are firmly with an agency or event organiser (no matter how rubbish they may be) and if you then bound in with all sorts of over zealous banter, you may well find yourself alienating the client and their agent friend. This of course then means no booking.

Smile and Smile
Smile on the inside and you will smile on the outside. It isn’t always easy to size up a client in the blink of an eye and there will be some who you don’t gel with from the start, or at all. However, smiling can assist in the breaking of ice, and at least will set you on the road to “thaw”

So, just a couple of ideas, but I would love to hear yours, how do you best work, when working with others?

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