A recent survey conducted by PCMA Convene and DMAI's empowerMINT attempted to uncover exactly what qualities and behaviors meeting planners expect from DMO sales professionals. The results might surprise you, or perhaps not. Here are three charts that illustrate how planners responded:
When asked: Say that you're in discovery or research mode for a meeting location and you're ready to connect with a destination marketing (convention & visitors bureau) sales professional for their help. What would be the top three characteristics that would make this sales professional outstanding, in your opinion?, meeting planners expect DMO sales pros to:
- Have detailed insider knowledge
- Be immediately responsive
- Act as an educated consultant and unbiased advisor
Not altogether surprising. After all, DMO sales pros are universally the best first point of contact to help a planner find the right fit for any size meeting. It's part of our industry value proposition.
However, let's dig a little deeper.
When asked, If a sales person wants to build a relationship with you, how do you prefer for them to begin to connect (i.e., to get on your radar)?, planners put a huge premium on personalization. Top two on the list are related to how DMO sales pros can use their expertise in a helpful way to planners -- key word being "helpful."
Are batch-blasting cold emails and phone calls and sending gift baskets and amenities ungrounded on any prior relationship getting you nowhere with a planner? Being helpful with your outreach by collecting relevant destination information tailored to the planner's meeting needs in mind may be the better way to go. Or, if your planner or meeting profile isn't rich enough to provide that sort of personalization, take a look at number 3 on the list: try and set up a consultative meeting.
But... How? you ask.
When asked, What do you expect sales people to know before they reach out to you directly?, planners unequivocally believe that you need a baseline understanding of their meeting requirements -- and when NOT to contact them. So, your outreach not only has to be relevant, but also timely. Remember to be mindful of whether your destination is a good fit in the first place, and be respectful of the planner's schedule as it relates to their biggest meetings when they might be under too many demands to take a sales call.
All in all, the good news is that planners appreciate a one-on-one working relationship with DMO sales pros. We just need to make sure they're the most productive they can be for both sales pros and the customer.