Recently the CVB sales staff attended the Convention Sales and Service Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana and came away with some really powerful take-aways. One session in particular really spoke to our team and will certainly have an impact on our approach to sales as we get further into 2019.
The session that really got some gears moving was: the Future of CVBs: An Analysis of the 2018 Research on the Attitudes & Perceptions Planners have of CVB’s featuring David Reichbach, Director of Analytics and Data Security with Destination Analysts and Randi Rogers, Vice President of Sales, Miles Partnership.
It’s difficult as a sales person to hear that no matter your tactic or technique, people simply don’t like to be sold to. It’s in a salesperson blood to think, “it doesn’t feel like sales if you’re doing it right and I do it right…don’t I?” BUZZZZ! Wrong. Savvy buyers can see a traditional sales approach a mile away and they don’t have time for it. Event planners are no different.
When they see a convention and visitors bureau event planners think positive things. They know there is a sales element, but what they’re looking for, the value they’re seeing in a relationship with a CVB, is more on the services side and in the expertise the CVB shows in knowing the community and its hot spots, unique spaces and one-of-a-kind offerings. The GLCVB has prided itself on our sales teams collaborative approach, but even that needs to evolve. Event planners appreciate access to what CVB’s know and what we can do. So why not… just give it to them? What a novel idea! What does the CVB get out of it, one might ask? Ideally, we earn their trust as an event planning partner and that’s better than a “sale” – that’s a professional relationship.
Because of what we learned at the conference The GLCVB destination sales department wanted to create an open forum for idea sharing of best practices for event planners across the state. This group was to be a free-flowing information sharing event where like-minded professionals could network and get input from other event professionals in the know.
Known as the 517 Coffee Connection, this private Facebook group, which has grown to over 100 members, also meets face-to-face monthly to discuss key topics at different locations throughout the Capitol City. Real info sharing with people in the know with no threat of a bunch of strings attached and a sales pitch to endure. Facilitated and led by the GLCVB sales team, this group saw significant growth in sharing, learning, and strengthening of key meetings relationships in 2018.
State association professionals leave the get-togethers energized, educated and inspired and the Facebook forum has become a hot spot for event recommendations, a place to post videos and photos and even share job postings. The program has been so successful it was recently approved as an official continuing education opportunity for those seeking to earn or maintain the highly-respected Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. For more information about the GLCVB or the 517 Coffee Connection contact David Buckenberger at 517-377-1409.