February 06, 2020
By Laura Fredericks

With the ease of creating event proposals online, event professionals and group organizers often send out 10 RFPs in as many minutes, leaving sales reps scrambling to qualify and follow up to a huge influx. This has led to an increased need to boost “bottom of the funnel” sales skills, because, let’s face it, all of your trusted event selling techniques won’t matter if you can’t close the sale. Luckily, there are sales closing techniques you can turn to for clearing that final hurdle.

Some of them are classic, and others a bit quirky, but all of them should work. Read on for some of our top tips for closing successful event and group sales.

Explore 16 of the Best Sales Closing Techniques

1. Show how you help them win. 

Make a case for your impact to their business - this shows a deep understanding of your customer, and may be exactly what they need to push them past any remaining doubts. Prepare a quick presentation showing your impact to their bottom line, business goals, and overall vision, and then share it with your main contact for distribution to the rest of the prospect’s team.

2. Persuade the whole team. 

Summarize everything you’ve discussed in a persuasive one pager. This can be shared with other parts of the prospect’s team, including any final decision makers. You don’t want to rely on your prospect’s sales skills to communicate value to other parts of their organization.

3. Use video to personalize the close.

Record a customized video showing your vision for their group or event. Take the time to walk through the property talking about how they will arrive, where drinks will be set up, what the stage will look like, etc. This goes beyond the initial site visit and shows that you’ve been thinking about how you’ll execute on a shared vision.

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4. Solve the main problem. 

Write an email explaining how you’ll deliver on the prospect’s “one big thing.” This is the part that you will need to get right in order for them to call the event a success. Is their biggest pain point the event setup? Treatment of VIPs? What the group will do during free time? Check-in logistics? Whatever you have discovered during your conversations, use this “one big thing” as your final motivation to show how well you can execute.

5. Take advantage of your positioning

Know whether the urgency and demand are on your side, and lean into the pain point your prospect is experiencing. Once you’ve made them realize how bad it would be to not find a solution, then you can offer that perfect solution that meets all of their needs.

6. Show your enthusiasm for their event. 

The end of the sale is when a prospect really needs to feel like you’re doing everything in your power to earn their business. They should feel like the only person you’re selling to, even if you have ten conversations happening that day.

Express genuine interest in hosting the group by asking authentic questions throughout the conversation, and make sure to state your interest concretely at the close. This could be as simple as saying, “I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you about this event, and I think we could be a great partner on it. What else can we do to secure the opportunity of hosting you?”

7. Throw in value-added perks. 

Consider non-monetary perks and services that you can include at the very end to add value. Can you throw in a server to pass hors-d'oeuvres? What about late check-out on the day of the big game? Or can you open up a meeting space for a late-night pizza party? Including creative perks and rewards that deliver on the hotel’s brand promise and provide value to your audience will always be a win.

8. Narrow the choice early. 

Offer two suitable options for their group or event early in the process, so they begin committing to your vision and start saying "yes" to things you propose. This may be as simple as, “Both our garden and courtyard spaces would be suitable for that ceremony, and are currently available. Which space do you prefer?”

This technique offers two “yes” answers, either for the garden or courtyard space. Prospects are more likely to continue saying yes if they have been doing so all along.

9. Create a quid pro quo. 

When a prospect asks for a service or discount you don’t normally offer, they’ve opened up the opportunity for an immediate close. Assuming you have approval from your management, you can follow the request with, “OK, I’ll do my best to secure that for you. It’s going to be tough, but if I can get that discount can you sign the contract today?”

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10. Use creative urgency. 

A classic sales closing technique is to set a deadline for the sale. But don’t limit yourself to the end of the month or end of the quarter. You can create urgency with statements like, “At that time of year we have a lot of demand from regional sports teams for the big tournament. If you want to secure the space, you’ll need to get booked in before we speak to them in March.”

11. Take away one of the services or extras. 

This approach relies on the fact that humans hate to lose something, whether they own it yet or not. When your prospect asks for a discount, you can reply by taking away parts of the package. It can be as simple as saying, “Sure, I can get you to that price point but we won’t be able to offer the cocktail hour. Are you ok with that?”

If the prospect says yes, you’ve still closed the sale and maintained your price point. If they don’t want to miss out on that great part of the package, they’ll say yes at the higher price point. Either way, they’ve now said yes.

12. Reiterate shared goals. 

If you’ve been truly listening and building a relationship with your prospect, you should have a good idea of their main goals, as well as how those goals overlap with your own. Reiterating shared values and goals can be a great way to put a cap on a conversation and move it towards execution of those goals. Write a persuasive event value proposition that covers their needs and the benefits of choosing you, and you’ll be well on your way to closing the sale.

13. Bring in an executive. 

Some prospects will place a high value on titles, and will be impressed by someone from management taking the time to speak with them about their group or event. Especially for key prospects or accounts, bringing in your manager or director can move a prospect from “maybe” to “yes”.

14. Highlight resources that have already been committed. 

It takes time and effort for an event planner or group organizer to explore hotel options. Use this to your advantage by highlighting all of the work that has already gone into the relationship, and how much they would have to do to start over with a competitor. You can use this technique by saying something like, “We’ve done a lot of work together to make sure our space will be perfect for your event. I would hate for you to have to squeeze in another site visit, proposal, and requirements conversation. How can I help you get this contract signed so that you don’t have to start over?”

15. Use positive examples and testimonials. 

When a prospect is hovering on the edge of a decision, hearing success stories or seeing great examples of an event like theirs can be the final push they need. If a prospect requests time to think about your venue, try responding with, “Sure, no problem. While you’re taking the time to consider us I’d be happy to send over some examples of events like yours in our ballroom space. That should give you a good idea of how we can make your vision come to life.”

16. Use “awkward” silences to your advantage. 

Most people will jump to fill a silence as soon as it begins to feel uncomfortable. If you can embrace this feeling and instead let your prospect fill the silence, you’ll be more likely to close the deal. This technique works well when paired with a pointed question. So ask a smart question related to the prospect’s specific pain point, and then pause confidently. Your prospect will fill in the rest.

With these 16 sales closing techniques, you'll have a higher success rate and a significantly reduced time to close!

NEXT UP: Turn all of that new business into a great source for hotel sales referrals!

Laura Fredericks author headshot

Laura Fredericks

Laura brings a decade of insight to improving marketing, as she has worked in technology since 2010. She has experience starting and scaling a business, driving customer marketing, and speaking at live events, including WeDC Fest 2018. She founded Describli and Paradigm Labs, and currently works with companies to improve their customer relationship management and content strategy.

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