Even though you may not be ready to hold events in your FEC, your sales staff need to stay sharp at managing birthday booking calls.
Birthday parties and events have no doubt been a huge part of your business. Even if you’re not open or not currently holding events, your phone staff still need to be sales-ready.
In my experience secret shopping and training many family entertainment centers over the years, I’ve found that a lot of sales people fall short of winning the business. But that can change with your next phone call! Practice a few of these 10 do’s and don’ts and watch the shift from “I’ll call you back” to “I’ll book now.”
No. 1: Do make it easy to do business with you.
First, when it comes to inbound sales calls, you have to answer the phone. You might think that’s a no brainer, but the last time I booked a $3,500 event for my friends and family, over 50% of the venues I called didn’t answer, even at 11am during the week. Now, how many of those do you suppose I called back at another time? Yep, zero. it’s important that your sales office is available when the majority of the calls come in during the week or on the weekend. If you don’t know when you’re getting the majority of your calls, start tracking them now for a period of 2-4 weeks to get a good idea. Use your phone system to analyze call volume or a simple hourly agenda sheet and make tick marks on it each day so that you can analyse and adjust staffing needs accordingly.
Making it easy to do business with you now also means meeting potential customers where they are. A lot of parents who might have called your business in the past, may be too busy juggling work, family, and distance learning issues to spend time on the phone booking a family party or special event. They want a seamless online buying experience. Make sure your website and webstore is mobile responsive and up to date with current information about hours, party packages, and COVID-19 measures. Easy to see “Book Now” buttons throughout your online experience that lead to your well-themed web store are an essential part of a thriving party business. And, if you use social media as a customer service arm of your business, be sure the correct links appear on your main website to make it easier for guests to find you elsewhere online.
No. 2: Don’t just ask them to book online.
If a potential guest is calling you, it’s your sale to lose, so don’t refer people back to your website or ask them to wait for someone else to book their event. Every moment’s hesitation is an opportunity for a guest to reconsider whether your facility is right for them.
This past weekend, I decided I needed the new Samsung Note 20 that just came out, so I contacted Samsung with my credit card in hand (literally) only for them to tell me that they’d email me a promo code for an add-on product. Not one to miss a bonus deal, I agreed and checked my email every 30 minutes for the rest of the day. It never came. By the time it had come in about 28 hours later, I’d already had second thoughts and decided I didn’t need to spend the money after all. Bottom line: be ready to book the event and take their deposit when they call or you risk losing them to a competitor or alternative experience.
No 3: Don’t lose control of the conversation.
A well-written script ensures that you deliver a consistent sales experience without important details falling through the cracks. Leaving it up to chance, or just answering questions as they come up, sends the message that you don’t know what you’re doing. This makes the party parent wonder if they’d have to manage every aspect of the experience to make sure it’s “done right.” Be sure you take the lead and weave a conversation that shows you have what it takes to plan an exceptional event.
No 4: Do make it personal.
Take the time in every sales conversation so build rapport with your caller. Show enthusiasm, use the birthday child’s name throughout the call, and take care when giving details. This will show how important they, and more importantly their child’s special day, are to your business.
No. 5: Do ask the right questions.
Make sure you’re asking the right questions to help you recommend the best party package, attractions and add-on ‘Extras that will make their day special. Some great questions are:
- Whose party is it? – will usually garner gender and name (without you having to ask).
- How old will Chloe be? – will build rapport and give hints into attractions and ‘Extras’ to suggest.
- When is Chloe’s birthday? – usually they have a date in mind for the party but if they haven’t said it, this question is great because you can steer them towards availability before, on, or after the child’s birthday in a way that makes sense.
- How many party attendees? And how many adults? – helpful not only for packages and capacity, but in identifying upselling opportunities.
- What are you thinking about food and fun for the adults? – provides a low-pressure opportunity to suggest adult attractions, food or admission items before the party, eliminating a lot of possible customer friction later.
No. 6: Don’t rush the education phase.
When recommending the right package for the birthday child, take your time with the details. If you have more than one package, list the items that are included in all packages first, then detail each of the unique packages (going from most expensive to least). List what’s included in the package before giving the caller the price of that package. This allows you the time you need to share all the amazing attractions, experiences and inclusions they’ll be getting and reduces the potential for sticker shock.
No. 7: Do assure them you’re taking health and safety seriously.
Throughout the call, you’re always building confidence in the caller’s mind when you demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. Show that you have health and safety well in-hand by sharing the important measures you’re taking to provide a clean, socially distanced, safe experience.
No. 8: Don’t make assumptions about their needs.
Don’t assume they’re not ready to book, that they can’t afford what you have to offer, or that they’ll think it’s too expensive. Many times, sales people don’t understand the true value of their own packages and undermine their sales conversation with an apologetic tone or lack of confidence in the product. Make sure staff know the value of your experience, why your facility offers the best parties, and be confident in how much it costs.
No. 9: Do ask them to book the party. Today. Now.
Believe it or not, many sales people never actually ask for the business. It’s important to understand two things: your caller isn’t window shopping and they’re not “just looking for information.” They’re going to stop looking when they feel like they’ve found the right experience for their child. It’s up to you to ensure they stop with you. get comfortable asking for the booking with phrasing like, “Great! All I need now to lock down Chloe’s 9th birthday bash is just a deposit of $100. You won’t have to pay the remainder until the day of her party. I can go ahead and take that over the phone for you…” The way you phrase sales language is critical, so be sure to read our blog on winning sales language.
No. 10: Do continue to build confidence and rapport leading up to the event.
Once you’ve booked the event and confirmed important details, be sure to follow up with your party agreement with any unique details discussed. Then, use pre-set event milestones leading up (and after) the event with party tasks like deadlines for ordering cakes or specialty supplies, when to hold the party prep call, etc.
Also, be sure your event items are set up with any automated messages you want to send via email in relation to the party date, like electronic invitation and liability waiver follow up reminders, check-in instructions, FAQ guides, a final excitement building message prior to the event, as well as any post-event messages. These consistent touchpoints pave the way for a chaos-free experience from start to finish.
There you have it! Our top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for a successful event sales conversation.
Which Do or Don’t helped you the most? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter.
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