Even if the word “sales” is not in your professional title, as event professionals we are always selling. During each and every interaction we have with our team, our staff and our customers we sell our services, our ideas, our designs, our strategy or approach to a new project or process, and sometimes our own skill set. We may prefer to think of our communications as persuasion, advocacy or championing, but at the end of the day, like breathing, we never stop selling.

As Event Leaders drilling down into our organizational charts and extracting the full potential of each and every interaction or communication a team member or individual staff person has with our customers can create unique opportunities to maximize selling potential. We all know that referrals and repeat business are key to survival in a competitive industry.

Here are just a few tips to help you, the Event Leader, and your company or organization adopt a “salesitude” that may not only positively impact your bottom line, but could potentially boost office morale as the accountability for the sale is owned by your entire team.

1.) Sell the Experience not the Promise

We are all familiar with the age-old saying “the sales team sells the dream and conference services team delivers the nightmare” (or a version thereof).

As leaders it is our job to ensure that our entire team is always selling – externally to our customers and internally to each other. Selling is a mindset, an attitude, a perspective on how each of our roles is part of the sale. Adopt an attitude towards selling that shines a positive light on each team members’ contribution to the perfect event outcome or guest experience.

From the moment a client arrives at your hotel to conduct a site visit, to the moment they complete the post-conference meeting at the end of their program, every person that comes into contact with any customer is selling- selling their piece of the customer or guest experience.

2.) Spice Up Your Sales Lingo

Clear across your organization, from the sales office to the accounting department, eliminate meaningless filler words from your communications and interactions with your customers, suppliers and partners.  Although boring documents full of legal jargon could never be completely abolished, we can certainly spice things up a little. Generic jargon says nothing about your personality, vision, mission and values, or your commitment to a relationship.  Most of all they are a missed opportunity to wow or woo your customer.

Instead replace unnecessary words and phrases such as “please see attached our license agreement” or “it is our pleasure to submit our proposal” with experience focused details about the significance of the documents such as the beginnings of a new partnership or the exciting details of a new event design, theme or program.

Consider including testimonials or promises from individual team members responsible for delivering each piece of your customer’s event or experience. Demonstrating personal accountability right from the get-go sends a signal to your customer that your organization truly focusses on the customer experience.

3.) Include Unofficial Sales People

Be inclusive when planning your next meeting with a client to pitch an event design or when you plan your next big site inspection of our hotel conference space. At the risk of being slightly unconventional, invite an unofficial salesperson to accompany you on a sales call or site visit – perhaps your hotel’s Concierge, your Housekeeping Director or even your Chef. Let them be the Champion of your promised deliverables for your next pitch or proposal. Inclusion in the sales process not only motivates those who are generally not on the front line selling but offers moments of true satisfaction in teamwork.

Whether or not we are directly responsible for getting a client to sign on the dotted line to hire our event- management or production services, to book our hotel conference space and guestrooms, or to hire our destination management services, we are all part of the sale. 

Heidi Hughes

Heidi Hughes

Director, Sales & Marketing, Anvil Centre | President Elect, MPI BC Chapter

A 20-year hospitality sales and marketing professional, Heidi honed her skills working for some of the best hotels chains in the world, including Hyatt Regency, Marriott and Hilton. After almost a decade in conference and convention hotels, she spent several years as Manager, Events and Conference at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) before coming to Anvil Centre as Director, Sales and Marketing. Energetic and positive, her career has evolved from hospitality management, sales and marketing to include event management. Her devotion to being a contributing member of a growing and evolving industry that is continuously setting new and higher standards for best practices is echoed in her extra- curricular work and activities. Heidi is a former Instructor at both the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Art Institute of Vancouver and is highly active with Meeting Professionals International on both a local chapter and International Level. 

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