Am I The World’s Most Frustrated Hosted Buyer? Possibly.

Like most event industry professionals, I accept my fair share of hosted-buyer invitations. I arrive at each program anticipating a day or two spent happily learning, exploring and networking.
Instead, I leave feeling both satisfaction and frustration.
Satisfaction, because I typically depart with some useful information and a few “keeper” business cards.
Frustration, because I’ve sat through yet another round of tedious, old-fashioned sales presentations.
I’m frustrated because many people are selling at me, rather than listening to me. I’m frustrated when yet another salesperson sails right into PowerPoint. Next a map is pushed in front of me, or a glossy brochure. Speaking fast, the seller proclaims the particular destination’s excellence, offers to call me soon, and hands over trinkets and business card.

Sound familiar?
The big problem with this approach is that it doesn’t usually work. It tells rather than asks. This declaratory approach skips over the reasons I’ll choose one destination over the other. Those reasons stem – always – from the unique needs of the event itself. How do we want to engage attendees? What aspects of the destination’s history and culture will inspire? What mix of activities, entertainment and interactions will motivate? How will this destination encourage collaboration?
If you don’t know why we’re meeting, how can you assure me you’re the right place to meet?
Memo to my friends in Destination Marketing: Ask me about the events I’m planning before you propose your destination. That way we’ll both be more satisfied.

 

2 thoughts on “Am I The World’s Most Frustrated Hosted Buyer? Possibly.

  1. Great blog Walter. I have often experienced similar experiences where sales people sell their resort or service before they even ask what you do or what your clients might need. I have to say that I was recently on a familiarization trip to LA, and the tourist bureau there along with its partners AlliedPRA and Terrenea Resort did a great job tailoring what they presented based on the kind of events that we did. Hope some sales people who are still selling AT you see your blog and get the message.

  2. Right on, Walter! It’s embarassing to me that my peers have no better sense than to sell before asking and listening. It’s a waste of time for the both of us if I don’t ask, “will you come to our state/region” and “what are the group’s needs” before I show you the map and pretty pictures!

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