Whether its next week, next month or next quarter, we will all start getting back to business. That business, however, may not be business as usual for many of us. In thinking about that reality, some actions may be useful to undertake now when there is more time than there are clients or events.
The first thing would be to use this time to undertake a general business evaluation. Specifically, taking time to understand if you are focused in the right areas and, more importantly, spending time and money supporting programs that are of marginal value to you.
The second thing that might have some value is to do a general clean-up of your files, past due reviews, hard drive content, sales collateral, and your web site. Often, we go from being busy during the season to being busy looking for clients in the offseason and tasks take a back seat. Now might be an excellent time to get reorganized.
The third focus point that could be useful would be to evaluate your inquiry pipeline or visitor logs over the past several months and implement some version of a drip system for client follow up. In the future, it will be the right time for you to begin to reengage with prospective clients. When that time comes, it would to your benefit to have a sales system ready to go so that these inquiries get attended to and maximized on a regular schedule to best communicate with clients.
A fourth item to work on now would be to understand how your product or service fits the lens through which your clients are viewing it in this new climate. At one time, your message might have been about your history or quality, and those can be great messages. When we start to return to normal, however, that may not be the motivator or motivation as it was in the past. Virtually everyone will have been on modified social behavior, and unless they are one of the fortunate few, nearly everyone will have suffered financially. Perhaps it’s time to reposition to a value message or maybe just a fun message encouraging clients to visit, explore, relax, and be happy with a return of visitor traffic regardless of the educational content.
And finally, a fifth item relates to your site. We are coming into Spring, and this is the natural time when many venues are at their most natural to put it kindly. When clients come back, they will expect things to look as if no hardships had occurred in the previous months. While it may be difficult financially, it is in your best interest now to paint, polish, mow, sweep, grade or plant so that when clients do return, you are better than ever or at least better than your competition. No one and nothing look better when they are tired, and most times, success begets success, so look the part and assume the position no matter how difficult.
While this list could go on and on, it might be better if closed now. We are all unwilling participants in something larger than ourselves that has the potential to cause significant harm or just a little hurt. By considering the preceding, we certainly hope it is the latter.
Determine who are your most competitive competitors and compare yourself to them on paper.
Based on your competitive position, make sure what you are offering is of sufficient value to prospective clients.
Do your tours talk about yourself, or do they speak to prospective clients about their needs?
Can you offer clients wine that helps them save on their overall costs?
Knowing why may be challenging to ascertain, but it will be invaluable to help you recalibrate #1-4 above.
Many times, we find what looked good on paper does not correctly translate when put into action.
As an example, we currently work at a site that is doing quite well now. When we started with this venue, we thought we understood what it represented and how it would be perceived. Well, in reality, it took us almost 70 site tours, and the result was very few bookings. We found that we needed to break the tour down into sections. Once we did that, we modified the routing of the tour and the messaging associated with each area.
After dissecting what we learned, we significantly changed the path of the tour, but more importantly, the messaging for the tour. Prospective clients at this site were interested in two messages that we were not correctly highlighting. Once we changed our pitch, our close ratio increased, creating momentum, and adequate bookings took hold to everyone’s satisfaction.
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site tour host
Matt is a Sonoma County native. He has worked on the production side of events for over two decades. From bartending, to catering to event planning, Matt has done it all. He co-owned one of Marin County’s premier catering and event planning companies for many years. Matt is passionate about sharing our beautiful wine country and helping to create exceptionally memorable events. When he is not working you can find him mountain biking at Annadel State Park or Skiing in Tahoe, or maybe relaxing at a brewpub after a good trail run. Cheers!