In the previous session of the Buddy2Buddy Challenge, your peers covered the top three effects of an information-heavy age where planners are empowered with 20 times more information about you and your competitors than five years ago.
- They come to the table already 70% of the way to a buying decision.
- They are engaging with at least five different internal and external stakeholders when making their decision.
- They can dip in and out of the buying process in an unpredictable way.
In this session, we looked at some of our current activities as an industry and discovered some mismatches.
- With planners relying heavily on independent, online search, are our direct mail postcards and flyers getting lost?
- With planners making up their minds before we're able to reach them, are our hosted events getting the right planners who would consider us?
- With planners having to satisfy multiple stakeholders, is our sole investment in a single decision-maker or influencer the best way to drive business?
- With an unpredictable buying pattern, are our follow up calls, emails, and gift baskets reaching the planner at the right time?
These are all relevant questions, because at the end of the day, we want our activities to be efficient and effective, to influence a planner's decision based on sound business recommendations.
What the most successful DMO sales professionals do is call with purpose. As one customer put it,
"Call me with a valuable reason. You wanting to talk to me isn't one of those."
Every point of contact that you have with a planner, or any other person within the planner's network, should be about how to help them succeed. If your message doesn't do that, you just missed an opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted resource, advisor, and business partner with real long-term working potential.
So how do you do that?
Call with purpose. Things are pretty easy after the RFP, where your converstaion is driven by the meeting and talking about delivering the right experience. But before the RFP, your conversation is all about their business operations -- drive your dialogue around their industry concerns, organizational news, resources for the meeting planners, opportunites to develop a face-to-face relationship based on mutual, personal and professional interests.
Use this Communication Plan template that builds on last session's Qualification Checklist to develop the best way to nurture your business relationship and set your client up for success in your destination.
The Buddy2Buddy Challenge is a six-session, preparation-to-practice exercise that seven DMO sales professionals break past the boundaries of traditional salesmanship by engaging with their customers on a consistent and on-going basis to set up relationships for the long term.
For more information on the Buddy2Buddy Challenge, contact Joy Lin at firstname.lastname@example.org.