While our beloved event industry is working through some very challenging times at the moment, it is natural to start to question how we will recover. The good news is that events are now starting to return to us. Domestic enquiry levels within most countries are improving, with some glimmers of hope in the long term international enquiry levels. This has made us at SYG ponder… what will sales look like post COVID. Our belief is that now more than ever, relationship & trust are going to play a huge part. “People buy people” is a saying many of us have heard before, however we think “People buy from people they trust” is a more accurate statement.
So the question is… how do we build relationships with our clients that foster trust?
4 Simple Steps –
- Genuine Interest
- Technical Knowledge
- Walk your talk
Displaying Genuine Interest is an easy one! With every client interaction, focus on being genuinely interested…. interested in your client, but also interest in their needs. What interests do your clients have? Is your client a fitness fanatic?… or a cat lover?… or both!! Any common ground you can find with your client will only grow the relationship. If they are looking to hold a 10 person meeting at your venue… find out more about the meeting… Who will be attending? What is the purpose of the event? Be genuinely interested!
Whilst we don’t expect our sales people to know everything there is to know about everything…. You should have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t work for your venue. You should be able to answer technical questions around room capacities, hotel room facilities, catering requirements including dietary requirements and what works best at your venue. You should always add value to the conversation by making useful suggestions to your clients on how to make their event better. We need to remember that often our clients haven’t actually organised events before, and they rely on our expertise.
Walk your talk
Arguably the most effective way of building trust is keeping to your word. It is important to set reasonable expectations with a client. Always check what time frames the client is working with, but don’t promise something you can’t deliver. If you need some time to work on a particularly complex proposal, ask if it is ok if you send it by COB tomorrow… rather than today! But most importantly if you say you are going to do something by a particular time… do it! If you tell a client you will call them next Monday to review the proposal…. Call them Monday! Or better yet, send them a calendar invitation to schedule a specific time… this will help with ensuring the client is available to talk, and it will be in your calendar!
Listen…. Our best advice to sales people… is shut up and listen. Clients want to feel heard, and they will give you a lot of information that will help you… if you just listen to them.
If with every interaction you have, you keep these 4 steps in mind, you will transform your professional relationships into winning relationships! People buy from people they trust.