Build a strong sales foundation with these do’s and don’ts.
Sales is known for being a tough role but selling is a skill that nearly anyone can develop. What the best performers have in common is that they build a strong foundation of winning habits, and you can, too.
Whether you want to improve your inbound sales closing ratio or boost your outbound prowess, read on for ten quick do’s and don’ts to help you get to your next ‘yes.’
No. 1: Don’t rely solely on email.
With so many communication methods, getting in touch with decision-makers has become both more accessible and more challenging than ever. Don’t just send an email or two and call it done. Sometimes you have to get creative. Calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages, and even Linked In can be effective when reaching out to someone. As you build relationships with buyers, be sure that you’re consistently asking about their preferred method of communication so that you better position yourself to meet buyers where they are.
No. 2: Do work in sync with Marketing.
Your facility likely conducts some terrific marketing efforts, such as text marketing, email, social media, and so on. Be sure that you’re on the same page with the marketing team’s efforts. New specials and offers give you something to talk about in sales calls and can get buyers excited to hear from you. Maximize the power of a good marketing message by providing your audience with clear calls to action so they can take the next step on their own.
But also be sure that you’re digging into the data. Who is consuming your message? When? How many times? What do you know about them? If you have a small window of opportunity to make sales calls today, should you prioritize calling the person who has opened a marketing email three times or the one who hasn’t opened one of your emails in three months? The more in tune you are with your facility’s marketing efforts, the easier (and usually more fun) it is to sell.
No. 3: Do be genuine.
When you manage to get someone on the phone, take your time to invest in the conversation. Be yourself and try to relax and enjoy the interaction. It’s easy to get tangled up in the sales scripts you’ve read or in trying to make sure you ask all the right questions. But it’s important to remember that your buyer is a person just like you, so try to be as natural with them as you can. Sales scripts are terrific tools for new and seasoned reps, but you have to know them so well that you can weave through a conversation naturally, listening and taking your cues from the person on the other end of the phone. You’re selling fun, so try to remember that and have fun with it.
No. 4: Don’t ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions.
To know what experiences will be best for your buyer, you need information. If you ask the right questions, you’ll learn everything you need to know to win. Phrase your questions so that your buyer doesn’t just answer simply with a “yes” or a “no.” Of course, you need the logistical information or who, what, how many, etc. But some additional helpful questions when selling an event are:
- What kind of experience are you looking for?
- What are you thinking about food and fun?
- What did you like/dislike about the last event that you held?
- What’s most important that this event has/doesn’t have?
- What are you thinking you wanted to spend on this event?
- When/how will you determine where to hold your event?
Any of those questions will help you understand what type of event your buyer is interested in and what’s most important to them as they’re making the decision. Once armed with that knowledge, it will be much easier for you to share how your facility can meet your buyer’s needs and expectations.
No. 5: Do ask for their business.
Closing a sale is a necessary step that you must be prepared to make. It can be uncomfortable, but you aren’t just giving information and hoping for the best. There are many ways to achieve this, so find an approach you feel comfortable with. A good closing question could sound something like this:
- “Great, I think I have everything I need to deliver an outstanding event for you all. I can reserve that date and get you on the schedule for just a $500 deposit. How does that sound?”
- “Perfect, I can book that for you now to reserve your party. You’ll only need to pay a $500 deposit now, with the remainder due the Friday before the event. How would you like to move forward?”
No. 6: Don’t get surprised by objections.
No one likes rejection, and the best way to avoid it is to leave no critical question unasked before you get to the closing question. It’s a good idea to make a list of the most common objections you receive and craft open-ended (non yes/no) questions that you could ask during the discovery phase of the conversation that would prevent you from hearing that objection later.
One of the most common objections that surfaces is regarding price. Consider using a trial close if you couldn’t get the buyer to disclose a budget. It might sound like:
- “Terrific, I think I have a good idea of what your event could look like. If I’m able to get you the (attractions we discussed) and the (food and beverage options discussed) for about $3,500 for up to 75 guests, would I be on the right track with what you’re thinking?
A trial close can be effective because if the buyer is going to experience sticker shock, now would be the time. If they’re not on board with that pricing, you can go back to the discovery phase and learn what’s most important to them. Go over the event details, covering any built-in savings, such as if the package already has a higher value than the group price. Present them with a few ideas for a lower cost, such as reducing the number of attraction passes or gameplay, changing some of the food and beverage selections, or moving the event to another day or time.
Don’t worry, getting an objection after the closing question doesn’t mean a failed sales call. It’s simply another opportunity for you to learn more so you can share how and why you’re the best venue for the job.
No. 7: Don’t apologize for your price.
When faced with an objection about price, many salespeople immediately jump into apologizing for, defending, or discounting the price. But you don’t have to. If you have integrity of pricing, a great experience, and a high level of guest service, you do get to charge for that. Remember, someone in your market gets to be the most expensive in town, and there is no reason that can’t be your facility. Again, what you need is more information. If you get back into the discovery phase and ask more questions, you can arrive at an event that’s a win for everyone.
No. 8: Do commit to a next step.
You must have a clear next step at the end of every sales conversation. Otherwise, you’ve just had a conversation. Ensure you know what you’re supposed to do next and put it on your calendar or in your CRM, so you don’t forget. Every step that gets you closer to a decision is a win, so don’t be discouraged if not all your conversations end in a deposit. Scenarios include:
- They aren’t quite ready to book, or they want to talk it over with someone else. Offer a date and time you’ll call them back.
- They have decided they are going somewhere else. Try to learn why they’ve chosen another venue and what other types of events they might hold in the future. If they’re amenable, offer to contact them again at an agreed-upon timeframe to earn their business next time. It also could make sense to follow up with them closer to the event or shortly after to see how the process went and show yourself ready to help in the future. Mark the calendar or set the reminder to follow up as necessary.
- They told you to drop dead and never call them again. This is ok! You now know to take them off your list and replace them with someone else who does want to hear from you.
No. 9: Do keep the ball in your court.
People are busy, and they’re not as invested in your success as you are. So if we know that, then why would we leave the sale to chance by putting the responsibility for the win on the buyer? That’s why getting a clear next step is so important. You want to be customer-centric, and you might think that means you should tell your buyer to “just book online if you decide” or “call us back if you want” to move forward. These approaches are risky. You should be keeping the ball in your court, so you’ll always know what to do next and can be fully responsible for your desired outcome.
No. 10: Don’t forget to track.
You want to get onto the next task, make the next call, or book the next event. But it’s mission-critical that you track your conversations and set up your next steps. Set yourself up now with the future actions you’ll need to take to win next time. Trust me: future you will be so happy you’ve built the pipeline-filling habits that equal more sales!
Now that you’ve read our list of do’s and don’ts, which one will you try first? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
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