Event Management

5 Tips for Breakthrough Selling in the Events Industry

Does your sales team really struggle when it comes to developing new business? This post will offer 5 easy tips for how to move past the low-hanging fruit and succeed with cold-calling, with engaging new customers, and with closing the sale.

Sell events

1. Have Fun on your Sales Call, even if it’s “Cold-Calling”

The words “fun” and “cold-calling” are never used in the same sentence, but fun is precisely what you must have to drive break-through selling.

If you think cold-calling is tough – being the recipient of an uninspired “cold-call” is no picnic either. Your potential client may be in the middle of a meeting, be expecting an important call, or may even have bigger worries than you (family or job security).

The point is that it may be difficult for both of you – so do your best to make it fun. Bring upbeat energy to the call, ask about them, and use creativity to move forward toward selling a solution.

2. Positivity is Your Secret Weapon

How many individuals are bored and/or stressed at work? How many times have you been bored or stressed at work?

Knowing that a large number of employees are just that – strive to be the bright spot of your prospect’s day! Smile before you make the call, assume that the other person will be glad to talk to you, and when you pick up that phone and call – bring positive energy to the interaction.

This may sound new-age, but we all have had the pleasure of connecting with someone happy on the other end of the phone, and it does make a difference. Strive to be different and memorable in a good way!

3. Don’t be Lazy and Use Tired Old Sales Scripts!

Just as an upbeat approach is refreshing, so is a creative approach. Regardless of how positive you are, if you attempt to engage someone with a tired old sales script – you will not succeed. Just imagine a scenario where you are looking and feeling great, and you attend a party in the hopes of meeting a member of the opposite sex.

You then see a very attractive person across the room, and knowing that you look great – you approach them with confidence. Their gaze shifts to you, their lips break into a big smile, and then you say “Hi, I’m Jim and I’d like to talk to you about why I’m great”. This would never work and you would never do it! So, most certainly it won’t work when you are selling.

4. Don’t Argue with Your Prospect

Remember, that most people already have their minds made up. Also remember that you are not going to change their mind by arguing with them. If they say “Your Event did not work for my business”… instead of getting defensive and disagreeing – why not use this as a great entrée into discussing what does work for them?

Ask them about their business, get them engaged and talking, and they will relax. Then, after they have spoken about themselves – you can subtly point out that your event DOES work for many people – so you would love to figure out how to make it work for them. That is really the best approach!

5. Use “Storytelling” to You Advantage

People, as a rule, like to hear about themselves. So, use the power of story to get your prospect engaged.

For example, when I worked on the BuildingsNY show, I used the power of story to my advantage. It worked like this “Let’s just say Tom, that I am your boss (which got his attention) and I want you to meet 7,000 building professionals in New York City over a two- day period. You’ll have an unlimited expense account at your disposal, and you can accomplish this in any way you want. So tell me Tom, how are you going to make this happen?”. My prospect was silent.

He was thinking, and at that point – I knew that I had him. So, to save him from his awkward silence and inability to answer my question, I jumped back in and continued the story which would conclude in a solution. So I said “Well of course, you are going to meet them all by exhibiting at the BuildingsNY Trade show – a trade show that delivers over 7,000 Building professionals in a two- day period”. That was the story, and he was the star – and he had solved the problem. And he ended up buying booth space.

In Conclusion

These 5 tips should help get you started on the road to becoming an highly effective, incredibly memorable, and super successful sales person in the event industry.

Just because you are selling booth space, a program at an event, an event overlay, or a sponsorship does not prohibit you from being creative, being upbeat, and having fun cold-calling with an energy that makes their day and yours. So go for it!!!


This is a guest post by Liz Hoffmann. Liz is a successful sales professional and marketing consultant with multi-industry experience and an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Liz has worked in the Event Industry for over 25 years and currently works on special sales projects for Reed Exhibitions.