At times, meeting planners can be a fickle bunch. But don’t forget we’re human too. Check out seven of the quickest ways to crash and burn with clients and prospects.
1. Verbal Diarrhea – As a rule, planners love to talk about themselves and the programs/problems they are working on. Know when to shut up and listen; by doing this you might be able to become part of the solution. If you don’t turn off the verbal spew, then you definitely won’t be part of any solution.
2. The Frat Boy – As a planner, I’ll be honest with you and when I tell you “No,” believe me. Don’t continue to try and change my mind. You are only damaging your credibility and closing the door to future consideration. Respect my decision and tell me you’ll call me in six months or a year to see if anything has changed.
3. The Stalker – This trait has been popular during tough times. When given a small sign that the planner might have business to book with you, you end up smothering the prospect (and clients too) trying to over-service and close the deal. Ask questions that will get the planner talking, offer ideas and solutions and you will win the business.
4. The Dealmaker – There is ample research that shows people will pay more for the same product if the service, trust and relationship are there. Don’t assume that offering a discount or the best deal is a sure-fire way to getting the business. Most planners know how to negotiate the deal they need.
5. The Magician – A planner spends hours working with the account manager to get a contract (and relationship) in place only to never see or hear from that person again once it’s signed. The planner gets handed over to catering and banquets, and the sales manager moves on to the next sale. This is the fastest way NOT to get repeat business from a client.
6. The Know-It-All – Not related to the Stephen King novel, this supplier presumes to know what the planner needs/wants based on their products/services. You have two ears and one mouth, practice using them in that ratio. Get the client/prospect talking (by asking open-ended questions) and let them tell you what they need. Then match their needs to your product(s).
And last but not least…
7. The Adulterer – Enough said!
Summary – If you have taken any sales training or read a ‘how-to’ sales book, the above seven should not be a surprise to you. However, it is surprising how many suppliers don’t practice these tried-and-true best practices. If you find yourself falling into one of the stereotypes, stop what you are doing, walk around the block and get back on track to being a professional supplier for our industry.