Does Every Presentation Need To End With A Question-And-Answer Session Selling Catering and Event Services by Phone – Converting Inquiries Into Sales

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Selling Catering and Event Services by Phone – Converting Inquiries Into Sales

Phone Skills That Book More Events

I got this question from a new marketing client who was building a new catering and event company after years of working for another.


I’m finally getting leads from the website! This week I received more work inquiries than ever before. Now my problem is selling them once they call me. How do you handle an incoming call from a prospective client thinking about hiring you? Thanks, LT Here are some tips I passed on to LT He reports back that he is more relaxed and has so far booked $9,000 of work using these ideas. I hope you have the same luck!

First and foremost you want to build rapport quickly. You want the caller to have a good feeling about you and your business. No, it’s not about “brown-nosing” or “sucking” or “schmoozing.” It’s about character.

A few thoughts to consider before you pick up that phone….

Attitude of Gratitude. Be happy that someone has given you the opportunity to serve them in a way that allows you to use your gifts and talents and make a profit. do not actions grateful … BE grateful.

Nature of Service. Be prepared to help the caller in any way you can – even if that means sending the caller to your competition.

Nature of Motivation. When I coached LT we recorded some of his phone conversations (you can record your side of the call without permission) and he was shocked. He strives to be a “business professional.” He was as enthusiastic as an employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles on Friday afternoon.

Unless you only cater to funerals and bankruptcy hearings most customers are enthusiastic about the event they are planning. They want to deal with a relaxed, confident and happy event professional.

The Most Important Man in the World.

Dale Carnegie taught us to “Make other people feel Fundamental – and do it sincerely.” How do you do that? Ask the questions you want the answers to and listen carefully to the answers. When was the last time you talked to someone who really cared about you opinion? You feel good? Really try to understand what the client is saying – very few people.

Care. Don’t ask about a client’s fishing trophy if you really don’t care. That is cheap, disingenuous and transparent. My selling style is strictly business – I don’t talk about sports, the weather or how nice your tie is. When I meet you as a prospective client I always go into business – not my business – your business.

READY. I go to every meeting prepared – I don’t ask questions that a professional should know. When I’m trying to get an account at a trade show I learn everything I can about the industry, the company, the competition and their latest products. When I conduct a sales incentive meeting I know the names and territories of the Sales Managers, the size of the sales force and the demographics of the attendees before I approach the buyer. Knowing what you’re talking about is much better than not giving pleasure.

How do you prepare for the unexpected phone question? Stop winging it!

Form of Drinking. Type in an application form to get all the information you need… and include questions your competition doesn’t ask.

High Value Questions. Make a list of smart questions that will increase your understanding and enhance your professional image. List the questions that will make the client say, “Wow, I’m so glad you asked that – I didn’t think of that!”

Top Selling Tips! Always ask the caller if they have ever hired or experienced a service like yours before. Then ask, “What do you like about it?” and “What don’t you like about it.” Get the answers to these two questions and your callers will tell you exactly how to sell them.

When LT asked a client what he didn’t like about a previous caterer, the client said he didn’t like the servers – they weren’t professional. LT emails photos and testimonials about his wait staff. He got the job!

Objections. Start tracking all the objections you get on the phone … and then prepare a presentation to top them. The best way to handle an objection is to structure your presentation so that it doesn’t become an issue – but be careful to prevent clients from voicing their legitimate concerns.

LT thought that by telling callers, “Our prices aren’t cheap – because we don’t do cheap work and our clients only want the best,” the price objection was eliminated. Nothing – it makes the caller too embarrassed to share price concerns – and makes LT look like an idiot!

Sales Script. No, you don’t want to read a sales script to a caller and sound like a phony telemarketer…

Here’s how to write a great phone sales script: Don’t write it – say it.

Record and transcribe yourself talking to clients. Listen to your recording with a colleague or coach and pick out the parts that you feel do a good job of selling your services. Transcribe those phrases – exactly as you say them – and make your “pitch.” It sounds like you – but your best you!

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