The secrets to show-round success
Show-rounds are an essential part of the sales journey for both corporate and private event bookings – but what is the secret to converting that initial interest into a booking? Jade Humphrey, founder of JWH Hospitality, shares his top tips and tricks for ensuring a winning show-round every time.
Preparation is key
I know it’s been said many times, but it really is true. Failure to plan is planning to fail. With tools like Google and LinkedIn to hand, there really is no excuse not to be well-prepped in advance.
Know the customer – find out what their job role is, what the company does and see if you can find examples of similar events held in the past. You’ll learn what the competition is all about too.
Make sure you’ve planned the whole route and involve the whole team too; let people know who’s coming in and why. Clients often remark how nice it is to walk around a venue and be met with smiling faces and friendly greetings, and if the general manager or chef is available, invite them along to the show-round or at least to say hello.
Mis-en-place is also important: make sure everything is in place. If the event they’re looking to book is for 300 cabaret, then try and arrange for the room to be set for 300 cabaret. It’s an effort, but this is selling the vision to the customer. Imagine seeing the room set up the way they want for a £100K event rather than a room that looks more like a storage facility with round tables stacked up randomly and dirty glasses everywhere – it really does make a difference.
Set the tone from the start
We are hospitality professionals, so be hospitable. Your clients may well have had a long or tedious journey, so offer refreshments and sit them down at the start. If you have car parking, allocate them a personalised space close to the entrance. And on that subject, make sure you get their name right! It sounds simple, but trust me, always double check before they arrive.
Once you’ve sat down with the client, ask questions. Find out about the event, what is the purpose of the meeting, where are people coming from, what does success look like, what is the most important element of the event, what is the decision-making process, when do they hope to be making a decision and what prompted them to view your property? After that, then offer them information, tell them what you’ll be showing them today and why.
Timing is everything
So often, people rush through the process at 100 mph. Don’t dawdle, but at the same time, don’t grab the customer by the scruff of the neck and fly around the venue shouting about all the features.
Use pregnant pauses: these can be powerful tools. Don’t be afraid of silence, give your customer time to absorb what you are saying and showing. Allow them space to visualise their event in your venue. Show genuine interest in them, and their business.
Cover the key points
We all know what the basics are in a room, and there’s no need to point out the obvious. Focus on the ‘wow’ elements that you have; whether tangible or service related. Enthuse as to why your venue will be the best choice. Be proud and passionate about your venue. Would you be inclined to buy from someone who didn’t show passion about what they sell? This is not an administrative task or an inconvenience to your daily routine; this is a fantastic opportunity to excel at your role and convert revenue.
Remember, this is a two-way process. Ensure you have understood and made reference to the customer’s needs and expectations. Similarly, ask the customer if there is anything else they would like to see or ask; what they like about the site inspection and what, if any, are their concerns?
Seal the deal
Lastly, ask for the business: Sounds obvious, right? However, the important questions are often missed. Will they contract today? What would stop them choosing your venue? You may have already encountered some objections, and you may encounter more or repeated ones at this juncture too.
Where possible, try and sit down with the customer to discuss further. Experience shows that face-to-face discussion around objections is more effective than an exhaustive exchange of email. Don’t be afraid to trade with the customer. They may seek certain concessions which is fine, prepare to ask for some yourself.
Agree the next steps and follow up. Follow up is crucial! Do it when you say you will and make yourself and the venue stand out from the crowd.
Send a thank you email later that day to coincide with their return to the office. Provide any additional information requested – not many will want a sack full of hard copy bedtime reading such as brochures and menus etc. However, emailed soft copies of brochures, floor plans, fact sheets and relevant images may well be appropriate.
JWH Hospitality can create bespoke training for your teams to deliver to show-rounds that convert – for more information visit www.jwhhospitalitysolutions.com