We discussed last week in Part One how understanding what motivates your team members can help you develop and maintain a more engaged workforce and earn you the loyalty of both your team and your guests.  While this focus on your team shows a great return on your investment, it can be indirect and not immediately obvious. Understanding your potential guests’ motivations, on the other hand, will allow you to directly impact your sales in all areas of your business.

Two of the most important components of nearly any sales process are the time you spend investing in the relationship and discovering their needs and motivationsLike with your team, the more genuinely you care about getting to know your potential guest, the more likely you are to learn what motivates them to choose your product or facility over another.

For example, if when discussing a group outing, your guest is motivated by the idea of having cooperative family fun and you outline the competitive aspects of your attractions, you could be missing the mark.  Alternatively, if he or she is motivated more by time savings of having your professional planning, and you share how your team will make their experience seamless and stress free, you’d be setting your park up to win doubly with a closed sale and a happy guest.

These ideas may seem simple, but, just like when motivating teams, people often try to sell based on their own motivations rather than exploring their prospects’ motivations. This point is illustrated beautifully in the opening of Ernesto Sirolli’s TED Talk “Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen!”  He discusses working with an aid project in Zambia where his Italian NGO was attempting to establish agricultural processes. The land in this community was fertile and the need seemed clear, tomatoes and zucchini would grow magnificently and the Zambian people would be saved from starvation!  The people they were “helping” were not interested, however, yet still the project team persevered, motivated by their ideas of what they were trying to  accomplish.  They were right, the land was fertile and the project farm grew grand, beautiful tomatoes that were sure to be just what the town needed to thrive.  But, it wasn’t to be.  One night, when the tomatoes were nearly mature, a herd of hippos advanced on the farm, eating every single one. 

Photo by Susan Portnoy

Alarmed, Sirolli describes exclaiming, “Oh! The hippos!” and the town’s people responded, “yes, we know.” They asked, “why didn’t you tell us?” and heard back, “you never asked.”  The lesson was clear, the project team, like many sales people, entered the opportunity with their preconceived notions of what was best for their clients rather than asking enough questions to actually learn. 

The truth is, if you invest your time with your guests, and ask the right questions, you’ll discover exactly what they want to experience and how they need to hear the information. Below are a few examples to make it clearer.

At Admissions, one way to get to know your guests is by asking if they’re from the area or traveling from out of town. You’ll be able to personalize the experience with friendly banter as well as learn whether to offer them single passes, multi-day, or season passes.  Ask them if they’re looking for food and fun, or just fun today to know if a special combo you’re running might be great for them. Find out if they’ve been in before, and what they thought of their last visit. You’ll be able to thank them for their continued business and learn valuable guest service feedback in order to wow them this time. 

To learn what’s important to a prospective group event planner, ask questions like what they hope their group will accomplish or experience by having an event at your facility.   Ask what they like about your park for their event to gain insight into what they think are your competitive advantages.  When selling a wedding venue, I always used to ask brides-to-be what they saw in their minds for their wedding in order to learn the key elements that would give them the day of their dreams. The same is true for your potential groups. They have a mental picture of how their next event looks and feels. You simply have to ask the right questions to be able to get a glimpse of that picture so you’ll know how your facility can create the experience that is perfect for them. 

There are many more terrific questions to ask, and if you take the time to listen closely, you’ll find it easy to help guests make the very best memories every single day.

Have go to questions to learn about guests’ motivations? Share them below or on social media.

Icon-Facebook.jpg Icon-LinkedIn.jpg

Leave a Comment