09 Mar How to Increase Conversion: The A to Z Guide
How to Increase Conversion: The A to Z Guide
Do you want know how to increase you or your event teams conversion? We specialise in increasing sales and revenue within the events industry. Here are 26 key ideas for you to easily implement that will increase your confirmations.
How to increase conversion: Ask for the Business
Asking for the business can be really tough if you can’t get your head around the words, but also crucial to conversion. If you aren’t asking for a confirmation at the end of a negotiation and your competitors are, you could be losing a lot of business. Try to come up with a few phrases that you feel comfortable saying. Some examples:
- “Is there anything from preventing us moving forward?”
- “So, does everything look correct from your end?”
- “Do you have any concerns?”
Rather than just trying to ‘come to a deal’ or ‘win the business,’ try building real relationships. Talk with your clients about things other than work or business (of course keeping it appropriate). If your clients get to know the real you, rather than just a sales coordinator, then they are more likely to trust your judgement and ultimately buy from you. This means you won’t just win that piece of business, but it gives the overall business longevity.
Call, don’t email
As above, relationships are important. And relationships are quicker to build over the phone than over email. You will get SO much more information during a 2 minutes chat over the phone than you ever will over an email with a list of bullet-point questions. Be brave, and pick up the phone!
Determine timeframe of Buying Cycle
This can hugely vary per market segment, but it will also vary from client to client. A customers Buying Cycle begins at the point they enquire with you, through to the event on the day, post event and then back around to hopefully enquiring with you again. If you know what sort of timeframe they are trying to stick to then you will be able to approach negotiations and upselling opportunities differently and more effectively without them getting frustrated.
Enhance experiences, don’t upsell
It is much easier (and perhaps ethical!) to increase per person spend by offering relevant and low-cost items that you truly believe will enhance your clients overall event experience. Don’t upsell for the sake of it; upsell items because it will improve their event. Never offer the most expensive options because usually whatever you are offering won’t be accounted for in their budgets.
How to increase conversion: Follow up effectively
Chases are more important than you would think, and often they get pushed to the bottom of the list. In a busy sales and events office other things can seem like they take priority: A new enquiry coming in, a revenue report that needs updating or even an internal meeting. But if you have said to a client you are going to phone for an enquiry update on Thursday afternoon, you really need to phone them on Thursday afternoon. Making these calls doesn’t have to take very long and you can even use a meeting room to get them done if you prefer. The chases you do day-to-day will affect so much including forecasting, budgeting, staff rotas and diary management. Make sure you priories 5 minutes to get them done because more than likely, your competitors are.
Get others to cross-sell into your revenue stream
It is a dream for someone else to do the selling for you, however you can’t get away that lightly! You will need to work with other departments to educate them on what you sell and how it works. It would be useful to discuss with them about the importance of enhancing experiences, rather than selling. I would also talk to them about the word ‘sales.’ Those who aren’t sales people might be nervous at first and see it as a ‘magic trick’ you do. Chat to them about it, find out their fears and encourage them to give it a go!
Have templates that look bespoke
At Selling Savvy we LOVE a template! We know how busy your job is, and therefore know that you just don’t have time to design ever proposal beautifully from scratch. So work with your team to create templates (preferably per market segment because you want to appeal to different clients in different ways) that can be easily ‘bespoked.’ Things that can look bespoke are:
- Logos for corporates and agencies
- Brand colours for corporates and agencies
- Couples names for wedding enquiries
- Relevant names to be included of Birthday/Anniversary enquiries
- Post ‘bespoke’ proposals to wedding and leisure enquiries
Do you want more tips on how to increase conversion? Have a look at our blog post here
Include questions in emails
Did you know that emails that include 1 to 3 questions in them are 50% likelier to get a response? If you are attaching your proposal, make sure you ask a few questions about the details of the enquiry. People won’t read long emails, however, so if you write the questions as bullet points it will make the body of the email not look so daunting. Make sure you ask insightful and genuine questions and the reason for the event, as it shows your client that you are invested in making it a huge success for them. But remember – unless you have to email, calling is always best!
Just walk away
Walking away from a piece of business is really tricky and can take guts. But sometimes it is necessary so as not to damage your bottom-line profit or reputation. You can work with your team or manager to give you confidence to know when to walk away. At Selling Savvy we believe that if you can explain the reason why you walked away then you will be backed up by your seniors.
Know your stuff: Product knowledge
Product knowledge within your department is always relatively easy when you have been in a role for a while, however product knowledge of what other departments sell can also be extremely useful when trying to up or cross-sell. When asking other departments about what they sell, it is useful to discuss with them the logistics of how the operational side of things work as well. For example, of you are asking for a room service menu ask the team if there are any time restrictions with regards to the menu or who is responsible for taking the orders. This sort of detail can go a long way when you are cross-selling things, and on a showround if questions crop up.
LinkedIn: An untapped sales tool
LinkedIn has obviously been around for a while, but it is only in the last 5 years or so that people are using it strategically in business for both proactive and reactive sales. It is advised to use the business page of your venue or events business; however it is essential to use your personal profile effectively. You don’t have to solely post about business on your personal profile either. Of course, it’s not Facebook so people don’t want to see thousands of photos of your dog, but they do want to get to know you as a person. This can be extremely beneficial when trying to build relationships with clients and grow your existing network. Get posting about an exciting event you’ve recently worked on, or the recipe for your favourite cocktail in the bar!
Want to see what we are up to on LinkedIn? Connect with our Founder Kate Plowright here!
Negotiations come up in everyday life, whether it is deciding who is going to cook dinner and who is going to put the kid to bed, or if it is within your business discussions. And because we negotiate all the time, even with ourselves sometimes, then we are all quite good at it. But in order to manage it you need to know exactly what you want to get out of the negotiation, what it is worth to you and what your boundaries are. If you have a team, spend time explaining about diary management and effective yielding. This will empower them to make their own decisions and be confident when entering in to negotiations with their clients. Our favourite saying at Selling Savvy is ‘if you can justify why you did it, then we will back you up.’
How to increase conversion: Next steps: always confirm
After every single bit of correspondence always confirm what the next steps are. Now this will mean deciding how you want your clients buying cycle to look and which stages follow each other, but you should always confirm with the client when you will be in touch next. So when you send a proposal you can say to them ‘I will give you a few days to have a look at the proposal and will give you a call on 10am on Friday to get your feedback.’ This not only confirms to the client that you can’t hold space indefinitely, it also encourages them to get some feedback by Friday. The only thing about this is..you have to stick to your promises!
Sometime closing a sale or getting to the next stage of the buying cycle can be tricky and you might not quite know why your client isn’t budging. Understanding exactly where they are coming from can help you overcome objections in order to move the sales process forward. There are several ways you could be experiencing objections. It could be that your client goes silent and doesn’t want to discuss things. Or it could be that they are finding excuses not to move forward, eg they need to speak to their partner or manager for advice. Either way, to overcome any objection you need to be honest about your situation and ask questions about theirs. Ask for their opinion on the proposal, for their view on any issues or even just ask for a reason as to why they aren’t confirming. And remember, being open with them about your situation as a salesperson is just as important as finding out their point of view.
Proposals that work
At Selling Savvy we understand the value of being different from your competition. Having a ‘USP’ is key, but showcasing that USP is often tricky. Are you 100% sure the proposals you are sending to your clients are proving that you are different to your competition? Important things to think about when create a proposal template are:
- How can you prove that you know exactly what they are looking for? Can you include a section about them?
- Testimonials: Use relevant testimonials on every proposal that prove you are how good you say you are
- Call to Action: Decide what you want the next stage to be after the proposal stage and create a fun call to action that guides the client there
- Pricing: where does it appear on the proposal? How do you lay it out?
- Scarcity: When people think things are in limited supply, the value of them goes up significantly. Remember to highlight that your proposal is only available at this price for a few days/weeks
Qualify every enquiry
Sometimes we don’t want to take a piece of business, and that is ok. If you have a team, make sure they know the reasons why you wouldn’t want to accept a booking and then discuss with them how they can learn this early on in the enquiry stage. By asking the right questions in order to qualify every enquiry correctly you can save a lot of your time and your clients time. Once your team understand the way you yield your diary or bookings, make sure they have the right phrases to turn business away so as not to offend any clients or damage your business’ reputation.
Rapport can make or break
Rapport building can be key to a business relationship and it is vital to start on the right foot when talking to clients. These initial stages might come from you or they might come from a sales team, but either way the relationships people have with your business begins with the initial rapport and can make a difference in increasing conversion. A statistic that I find relevant and useful is that top performing sales people spend time building rapport effectively at the beginning of the relationship with their prospects, and this time decreases throughout the sales process. In opposition, lower producing sales people spread their rapport-building time throughout the sales process in equal measure. This suggests that building a strong relationship during the initial stages can lead to more lucrative relationships than working on the relationship over a longer period of time. Once you’ve built that trust, you can spend more time engaging in business discussions, like negotiating and upselling.
Want to know how we can help increase your conversion? Check out this blog post!
SWOT Competitor analysis
Knowing your competitors is another essential element to help you confirm more bookings. If you live locally you might already know your competitors from a personal point of view, but do you know their events offering, how many bedrooms they have and whether they are busy on a Tuesday night?
Using a SWOT analysis template gives you a structure to analyse your competitors in the same way, and gets you to think about where you sit in the marketplace. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and you can find templates by just googling them.
You will probably have several competitors in the area and whilst it is useful for you to know them all very well, it might not be the best use of time for your entire team to visit every one of them. A good strategy to get around this is to create Competitor Champions. Assign each team member a competing venue that they can learn inside-out. Ask them to fill out SWOT Analysis reports and present them back to the rest of the sales team to inform others. This could be a quarterly exercise to make sure you are keeping on top of the local market.
How to increase conversion: The Law of Scarcity
Scarcity is something used by lots of businesses to encourage clients to make buying decisions faster. It means that if something is seen to be in short supply then the perceptive value of it increases significantly. Scarcity is a tried and tested selling tool and is transferable to any business. If you are from a venue, you only have a limited amount of space available to sell, therefore your availability is always limited (even if you are completely empty!). If you are a supplier for events, you only have a certain amount of time in your diary and therefore your availability is always limited (even if you are completely empty too!). Add an expiration date to your enquiries and use language that makes sure your clients know your time and services are precious.
Under promise, over deliver
A classic sales phrase – but a goody! Over delivering, and especially unexpectedly, is the best way to build raving fans of your business. When we say ‘under promise’ we don’t mean sell yourself short but have a few tricks up your sleeve that you can use post-contract stage or even during an event.
Value over price
No one wants to be in a negotiation where price is the issue. Sometimes we need to walk away from clients who’s decisions are totally based on budget because it is rare that you want to be the cheapest in your market. Therefore making sure you are constantly highlighting the value your client is getting from you means that whatever price you quote, it will be valuable. Highlighting the value proves to your client that what you offer is worth the money people pay, and then you shouldn’t have to get into a competitive price war.
Wording is key
Believe it or not the wording you use during conversations with your clients, over email and when writing proposals can also effect how you increase conversion. For instance using collaborative words has a positive impact on sales. In fact, it has been proven that using words such as ‘We’ instead of ‘I’ can increase sales by up to 30%! In addition to using collaborative words try and replace any negative words such as ‘no’ or ‘worry’ or ‘hesitate’ with positive words such as ‘absolutely’ and ‘of course.’ Using positive language can have a huge subconscious impact in your client’s perception of you. Try eliminating all negative words from your vocabulary for 24 hours – it’s harder than you think!!
X-isting is not enough (ok, maybe I’m clutching at straws with that X!)
Just existing is not enough to confirm bookings. Nowadays salespeople are very strategic in their approach to conversion and client relationships, therefore you need to be too. Warm leads rarely drop in your inbox ready to be converted. Competition is high within the events industry and we are all having to work harder than ever to confirm bookings. So, get savvy with your strategy!
You are the expert
In the tough marketplace of today, it isn’t enough to be ‘just a salesperson.’ Clients want, and even expect, more and more from us. Infact, 79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor — not just a sales rep — who adds value to their business. Therefore remember that you are the expert in your field and make sure you prove it. You know every single detail about your job, what works and what doesn’t work and don’t be afraid to explain this. Clients will appreciate your honesty and your opinion, and value you as a trusted advisor.
Zero in on the issue
Your clients all have an issue they are trying to fix; they need a space to hold a meeting, they need furniture for an exhibition, or they need catering for a wedding. Zeroing in on their exact issue can be key to confirming business. Sometimes they need furniture for an exhibition but actually the stands are really small and they don’t want the furniture to take up much space in each stand. By asking the right questions and simply having a detailed chat about the events could be the difference between you confirming the business or the client going with one of your competitors.