Working in the events industry is stressful. As a venue, you will be working closely with stressed event planners every single day.
Event planners may be grappling with budgets in jeopardy, a lack of time and resource, high expectations and high-stress levels.
With tensions high, negotiation can be difficult, and the struggle doesn’t end there.
At our first HeadBox Host Academy event, Sadie Connors, Head of Client Services, delivered some of her advice to our Power Host venues on negotiations with corporate clients.
Read on for the key takeaways.
We find that negotiation is often more complicated when it comes to corporate clients. It can take a lot longer and can involve numerous decision-makers.
There are a few things you can do to get buy-in and to keep the sale moving through your pipeline. Sadie instils these four key tools in our corporate Account Management team for a smoother negotiation.
Collaboration, cooperation, compromise
The final contract should benefit each party. You might consider offering incentives such as a discount on room hire if they sign quickly, or free drinks on arrival if they book the larger Space.
Mutually beneficial deals
If you change the price at the request of the client, change the package and let them know why. Never discount to your detriment. The final contract should leave both parties happy.
People buy from people
A slick sales process is great, but ultimately people buy from people. Never underestimate the value of human relationships in the negotiation process.
Show your expertise
Speaking with confidence and showing a prospect that you’re an expert at what you do will help to build trust, and ultimately give a prospect the confidence to book with you.
We know how it is. Sometimes you use all the negotiation tools in your arsenal but the sign-off process on the client’s side is slow and involves a few different stakeholders. Meanwhile, the month is slipping away and your sales target starts to feel unreachable.
There are lots of things you can do to create urgency in the negotiation process which all subconsciously work together to get a signature on the dotted line, fast.
Building a strong personal rapport with bookers from the outset can help you get more cooperation later in the negotiation process.
Adding a couple of extras or a small upgrade will be remembered later. For instance, a booker might go above and beyond to get sign-off from a decision-maker when they remember you upgraded their prosecco reception to champagne.
Authority is a key ingredient when it comes to creating urgency, and it’s not all about your job title. Your tone, pitch and language, as well as the way you dress, all contribute to your perceived authority and impact on sales processes.
People will almost always follow a crowd, in what we think of as ‘The Bandwagon Effect’. Use successful past events and case studies to influence a decision.
Deadlines and added benefits for a quick signature all work to create urgency for a decision. The idea of first come first served is very persuasive, and showing that your venue is in high demand and might not be available long is bound to create the urgency you need.
In an industry like ours, we know that difficult conversations are a regular part of the job. After four years of working with some of the UK’s leading brands, we’ve learned a thing or two about negotiation. We hope that some of these tips will help make the process of delivering brilliant events for your corporate clients easier than ever.