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Heather Rouffe

Seven Sales Tips for Special Event Products

You don't sell the steak; you sell the sizzle. Here, a rental pro shares tips on making inventory irresistible to event clients.

When you're selling a service, people typically think that it's something needed, such as a DJ, a bartender or a planner.

Upscale products, on the other hand, are often viewed as “wants”; people don’t always feel that they need upgraded linens or glassware. These items are seen as luxuries, which means they require a bit more effort to sell.

That said, selling an upscale product is a great way to increase revenue while also providing your client with an enhanced experience. Here are seven sales tips for getting your message across:

1. Assess your product listings.
If your product isn't bringing in the revenue you expected, it’s time to start analyzing your sales approach.

Is your product priced reasonably? Are you bringing in the right product for each customer? Do people want it? Does it align with current trends?

It doesn't matter what you like--you need to focus on what your client base likes and wants. Find out what is trendy and what your clients love at the moment so you can bring in the right product to sell them what they want.

2. Promote your products broadly.
It probably goes without saying, but your products will sell only if people know about them. How are you spreading the news?

If it's a new item or it's especially popular, promote it on social media. Show it off to all of your clients in different ways. For example, if you have some lovely new cloth napkins, display different folds and styles. Show people how a product will enhance their event. The more excited you are, the more excited your clients will be.

3. Learn to be persuasive.
No matter how much you love a product, you need to be able to persuade your clients to get onboard. Convince them why they need the item by sharing what will they get out of it. Is it something that they'll be so happy to see in pictures from their event for years to come?

Break down the budget for these items, and make them feel accessible. Clients can be cost-averse, so help them to work that item into their budget while balancing it out elsewhere.

4. Become a resource.
It's essential to remain connected to your clients and provide them with any tools that can help them make their decisions. For example, we have a design center on our website that allows clients to play around with our products to create the looks they desire.

Swatch books are a great resource as well as to provide clients with a realistic experience.

Always aim to go above and beyond for your clients. The more they feel like a priority, the more likely they will buy your products.

5. Train your staff for consistency.
If you have a sales team, it's essential to create an atmosphere in which every member knows how to use each product. For example, if a client has an ice cream bar, each salesperson should know to push the colored goblets that are perfect for ice cream sundaes.

This comes down to proper training and education throughout the company. At the end of the day, it's usually your salespeople who will sell the products best--but, really, anyone can sell if they are knowledgeable on the product and how it can benefit the client.

6. Create an organized onboarding process.
While your existing staff might be selling well, you will need to bring new hires up to speed as to not disrupt the team's flow. It's your job to teach them how to pretend they aren't new--it really is all about faking it until you make it.

If a client calls and a new employee is unsure about the product they are looking for, you must teach them the tools to use to find the information quickly. The goal is for your employees to learn on the job, but without alerting the client that they are new.

We invested a lot in our website so that it acts like a sales tool, which helps our staff locate items quickly. It also helps to create pre-packaged designs and looks to assist someone new to selling.

7. Practice role-playing.
We do a lot of role-playing to help new employees learn how to fake it until they make it. The process is less about learning about the product and more about how to speak to a client.

In sales, the best approach is to understand what the client wants and needs. Our staff needs to understand the type of event the client wants before they can take the time to pull items together, so we focus on how to gather all of the relevant information from a client first.

It's worth noting that role-playing activities aren't just for new hires. These activities also serve as a great way to refresh sales tactics and try out new situations with employees who have been on the team for a while.

Selling a product is an art, but one that anyone can learn with enough practice and commitment. It comes down to understanding a client's needs and knowing the right way to present a specific product's benefits to fit those needs. Whether you're a solopreneur who must make every sale or you're leading a team of salespeople to success, these tips are sure to up your sales game across the board.

Heather Rouffe is the director of sales and partner of Atlas Event Rental, a full-service event rental company serving the south Florida market for more than 30 years. Atlas has locations in Miami, Palm Beach and Martin County. Named one of the top 30 rental companies by Special Events magazine, Atlas strives to “provide top-quality products and unparalleled customer service to each and every customer.”


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