Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sandler System and Wedding Sales

Last night I attended a meeting of the ISES Northern New Jersey chapter at the beautiful Green Brook Country Club in North Caldwell, NJ.  ISES, standing for the International Special Events Society, is a professional organization comprised of leading event planners and related industry professionals.  

An hour of networking accompanied by delicious culinary offerings was followed by a formal presentation by Danny Wood, an executive sales trainer from Sandler Training.  Danny's presentation was "Don't Sell the Steak, Sell the Sizzle - Selling in a Recession Economy."  With the U.S. unemployment rate stuck above 9% and many families hurting, this was quite a timely topic.

Danny Wood in a Parody, describes the Features and Benefits of Rubber Chickens!
For small business owners such as myself, there is no dedicated sales department.  This function is picked up by the owner.  Selling wedding and corporate services can be challenging, frustrating and rewarding.  

Wood explained how in the typical sales system, clients are pre-qualified, then given a features and benefit presentation (see rubber chicken photo above), followed by an attempted close (sometimes a hard close), followed by a persistent follow-up process.  Prospects, justifiably so, are guarded in these sales presentations and probably carry many negative impressions of salespeople going into the meeting.  As a result, there can be a song and dance with neither party - prospect or salesperson - being completely honest with one another.  Also, neither party is very happy with the process.

Wood suggested a new paradigm comprised of interrupting typical sales patterns and using a personal approach and "real talk" to lead to faster decisions and a compressed sales cycle.  For example, what if you were to start off a sales meeting with the statement.... "I'm a wedding DJ who loves to perform and don't really enjoy making sales presentations."  How might that affect the tone of the meeting?  Or, at the end of the meeting when the bride says, "thanks for the information; I'm going to be meeting with a few more DJs... we'll get back to you," what if you were to collect additional information about their decision process and  feedback on where you stand?

A good portion of Wood's presentation focused on big picture concepts that are essential for successful sales - such as the willingness for us to change and to move outside of our comfort zone, to carry a positive self-image, and to view life positively.  For example, if we were to accept the statement, "every bride is a price-shopper," then we may doom ourselves to that result.

Thanks to ISES for organizing this informative and thought-provoking presentation.  Danny Wood was an excellent speaker!

No comments:

Post a Comment