Beyond the Tradeshow - Being Relevant (Part 2)
If you are like me, you like to think you are in tune with what is going on in the world. And we probably are, but are you in tune with how you are communicating? How the information you are sharing is being received? How you are engaging others to “buy” into what you are “selling”? OR are you just selling, sharing the info and communicating the way you always do, and engaging the way you you’ve always done it—hoping some of it will “stick” and a planner will buy?
And, of course, this is all related to "knowing your audience" and being relevant to them.
The world is moving at a faster pace—by the time you learn one way of communicating a new way comes out. Mail and phone moved to fax, which moved to email, moving to Blackberry (the old style where all you got were emails), to iPhones and smartphones, to Skype and Facetime, to Androids and tablets, to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. All available in our office, in our home, in our car, on a plane, on the move, on and on and on....
It's dizzying to think about. Consider the fact the iPhone was invented in 2007—we haven't even celebrated its 10 year anniversary! All of these tools and apps allow us not only to communicate in many different ways and functions, but allow us to share information and to engage differently.
In addition, we are now at a point in our society where multiple generations are in the work space at the same time and they each have different ways and preferences in communicating. One size does not fit all. For some planners you need to meet in person, for others they just want email, and others prefer texting; while some enjoy being face-to-face using technology such as Skype.
You need to fine-tune your style to the individual to be relevant to them.
More information is now readily accessible. Who doesn’t have a website anymore? And on those websites who posts pictures of past events, pictures of their venue, highlights their clients they work with or have worked with on these sites? Planners look at this information.
By the time planners get to you they have already self-educated themselves on your property, your services, and if you post your previous clients online, they might have already reached out to them for references. They may have compared reviews from various people—reached out to an industry forum to ask, “Have you ever worked with company XYZ?” Reached out to colleagues asking, “I’m looking for a good AV company in Columbus?”, “Can anyone recommend a local decor company in Phoenix?”—all without you even being aware that you are being considered.
The main reason for this? Planners are trying to save time and create greater efficiencies for themselves and it's your job to recognize this and respond accordingly.
What are the five stages of selling you ask? Research, Engagement, Listening, Understanding, and Responding; all of which, when incorporated together, create the potential for greater sales. All of which we will begin to discuss in the next blog post.
(Next month: Part 3 - The First of the 5 Stages of Selling). Miss Part 1? Check it out here.
Posted by Larissa J. Schultz, CMP, MHA
Larissa is a writer, author, and professional speaker in the hospitality industry. She is also an adjunct professor at Glendale Community College teaching in Hospitality and Tourism.