Getting the Most Out of Your Time and Relationship
In my role, advocating for the value of the DMO in the meetings market, I have a great deal of planner interface, both at industry events and more personally, with our own DMAI customer advisory board for the CVB/DMO industry. I hear the same thing just about everywhere I go…that you are almost always time deprived and you don’t have enough time to engage with sales professionals who are not well prepared and who don’t fully understand your needs.
Gone are the days when planners would willingly field calls and make appointments with hotel and destination sales professionals and spend copious amounts of time in order to educate them. Today’s technology gives us all a great deal of transparency about organizational missions and concerns, along with meeting objectives and program detail. Suppliers have access to a multitude of internal and external databases and a pleather of post-event information at their fingertips. So why is it that many conversations between planners and suppliers start with the question…tell me about your meeting?
Or worse, general solicitation emails from suppliers who are not equipped to handle your meeting requirements in terms of physical space, rates, or amenities. There is general agreement amongst planners that the best sales professionals are well educated, educators. This means that they know what you need and they know how to match their offerings for a perfect fit.
So while you may not be in total control of the sales relationship, it occurs to me that there are several questions you can ask to make sure you are making the most of the interactions with the supplies you are counting on to help you make the best hotel and destination choices for your meeting.
This leads me to the first question to get the most from your sales relationships-one that will save you time, and make sure your sales pros are doing their homework.
- Have you had time to educate yourself about my organization and my meeting fundamentals and requirements? And if so, how can I help you fill in the blanks or answer any questions you may have?
This gives the salesperson the chance to impress you with what they do know…and then the chance for you to understand the types of information that may be missing in order for the salesperson to develop a good proposal.
- What do you think I may be missing in my understanding of your offerings that would help me build a better meeting at your hotel or in your destination?
This question allows for your discovery of information or special offering that might not be on your radar. It also intuitively allows you to discover the amount of product knowledge and creativity your salesperson has to offer you.
Additionally, the perhaps the most interesting question you can ask your salesperson:
- What have other planners with similar meetings have done successfully to tap into the resources of your property or destination to enhance their meetings?
This question helps you to tap into all the destination has to offer in terms of meeting support and attendee experience will directly influence your capacity to enhance, impact, and differentiate your meeting. And it’s always helpful to learn from those who have come before you. Coming full circle, this is a huge time saver as well!
Also, part of our work with the DMAI empowerMINT initiative is to better educate our CVB/DMO sales professionals on how to better serve you, our planners. We strive as an industry to deliver on our promise to be the best first point of contact to help you find the best fit for your meeting.
We love hearing from you and getting feedback on what services and resources you find valuable as you work with our member destination sales professionals. Please post your comments at the bottom of this page, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org