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Sales Advice

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Greg Ball
Sales Advice
on Sep 26, 2019 at 4:09:10 pm

Hi Guys, I hope you're having great week. I'm wondering if you can offer me some suggestions on selling our video services for large conferences and events.

Because we're located in the Miami and Orlando areas, both very active convention locations. we shoot lots of conventions. Ordinarily we wait until we receive a call or email from a prospective client, and then we often land a job.

It's difficult to be proactive, because there aren't any sources available for finding out who is planning a convention at a major hotel.

My though is to go directly to the Sales directors of these Hotels to offer our services, and become their "go to" video team. I'm just not sure of the best strategy.

My initial thought is to get them to connect with me on LinkedIn. Then follow-up with a call.

I know that it's not a good idea to jump right into a hard sell when someone connects with you. So I'm trying to engage them in conversation.

Right now when they connect with me (which several have), I immediately follow-up with a message that reads.

Hi _________ ,

Thanks so much for connecting with me. Although I haven’t stayed in your _________, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several times for business purposes. It’s a nice hotel, and it’s great for conferences and events.

I was wondering – does the ________ offer their conference clients video production services?

Is this the best approach? Or do you have better suggestions? I'd really be grateful for your advice.

FYI, I find that the convention and visitors bureau is not helpful because they are usually not aware of what's happening at local hotels.


Thanks so much for your help!


Greg

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
https://www.ballmediainnovations.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Sales Advice
on Sep 26, 2019 at 4:59:08 pm

Just a couple of fast things, because I'm under the gun today....

But a couple of things stuck out to me....

[Greg Ball] "because there aren't any sources available for finding out who is planning a convention at a major hotel."

Isn't there? Isn't there a chamber of commerce group or whatever that knows who is coming to town for what? Most big conventions are planned at least a year in advance (our biggest corp client generally plans big things a couple years out) so that info is out there somewhere. In our city the Convention and Visitors Bureau (which happens to be one block from our studios) knows all that kind of info... who is coming, where things are being held, all that jazz. That info is probably publicly available, and if not then befriending the right inside source would be in order.



[Greg Ball] "My initial thought is to get them to connect with me on LinkedIn."

Maybe. But does anyone really do that? Personally I've yet to figure out the value of LinkedIn. It dumbfounds me that it is in something like the top three social media platforms, I'm on it but have yet to discover its usefulness. I have at least 400 invitations to connect to people sitting in my inbox that I have not answered...and won't. I have no need to connect with a pharmaceutical salesman in Port Arthur Texas or the IT guy for Amtrak in Boston (which are real invites I've received this week, and which is very typical of the invites I get), so they are ignored. I personally just think that the vast majority of invites go into a black hole. But then again I'm an off-the-grid luddite, so who knows.

Just my quick thoughts...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Greg Ball
Re: Sales Advice
on Sep 26, 2019 at 8:12:43 pm

Thanks Todd. I don't know about your town, but here in South Florida the Chamber of Commerce is mostly comprised of small businesses, banks, real estate offices, and some doctors. There are no corporations involved.

For all of the large corporate events we've shot, not a single company has gone through the chamber or convention bureau.

Of course the convention bureau wants us to pay a fee and join them, they will not give out information otherwise. This it has never worked in the past. It's a waste of money.

When I worked in Corporate America for a Fortune 500 company, they NEVER contacted the convention bureaus for hotel info.

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
https://www.ballmediainnovations.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Sales Advice
on Sep 27, 2019 at 2:38:31 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Sep 27, 2019 at 2:41:27 pm

This is a pretty problem indeed. My gut is not much liking the contact proposal on Linked-In. One of the problems I think you face here is that the decision to record a conference and who will do that, is typically made weeks or months ahead, during the initial planning. I think a lot of the time, clients for these conferences will just surrender all of this areas to the hotel and their in-house services.

Hotel in-house services are your rivals for this business, even if you just want be their subcontractor, so you have an uphill climb on this.

I am disappointed that the local Convention and Visitors bureau doesn't see the value in promoting AV support service packages for conferences; the synergy makes so much sense. So I'm going to blue-sky some ideas; they may or may not work, but perhaps they'll spark some other approaches when you think about them.

If you think you want to work within the Linked-In ecosystem, I think you want to create a stand-alone AV support presence there, with a weekly column or podcast or whatever they let you do over there... it could be as simple as a weekly one-page newsletter with bullet points of helpful info, photos of setups, common questions answered, that kind of thing. Sweetwater has me on their mailing list and they send out a monthly newsletter with mini-articles, profiles of some of the staff, demos, etc. Occasionally I look at those, if the topics interest me, though generally they are fluff.

But what that weekly presences does here is create a node for potential clients to connect to when they are planning. You're doing what radio spot campaigns do: get you some "mind share". You're not selling specifically, but rather, getting your name in their heads, so when they start to think of needing these services, your name is already in their heads and they look you up. This is so much of the game of selling when you can't be one-on-one.


The second idea is bigger, but maybe too much work, for uncertain reward... that would be, since the Tourism Bureau won't package it, create your own bureau. That is, form a sort of keiretsu (check Wikipedia) or loose association of your local rivals, pool your resources to make referrals to each other and to advertise as a block of service providers, like a city Restaurant Association might. I think that's the perfect model for what I'm talking about. They are all nominally competing yet they market collectively on the theory that getting a piece of some steady business is better than getting no business at all.

It seems against human nature and certainly doesn't sound like conventional capitalism. But I'm not suggesting you make a cartel and collude to fix prices. This is much looser than that; a handshake agreement to help each other out when one of the group has an equipment problem or shortage, or needs extra staff, but most of all: you're pooling the ad and PR money to targeted buys, probably on facebook and Google and aimed at corporate HR people and Corporate travel agents.


Dunno if this works or is useful. But it's what came to mind first.


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grinner hester
Re: Sales Advice
on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:17:36 pm

Cmon, man. Don't be cheap. Take the manager to lunch.



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Nick Griffin
Re: Sales Advice
on Oct 9, 2019 at 5:36:41 pm

I have no idea if they will sell/rent their mailing lists but... in DC there is an Association of Associations. That may at least provide you with a starting point to reach out to them directly.

As to contacting the hotels I believe you should contact the "Group Sales" manager and just politely provide them with your contact info and a list of past meetings you've done.

Oh!! Would you please pitch Kristi Ledbetter of the Technical Pulp & Paper Association (TAPPI for short). She's in charge of a 5,000 person conference in the Orlando Conference Center in the fall of 2020. I'm quite frustrated by the way the cheap A/V company they've been using screws up the videos we produced for their last TWO meetings. Kristi's Direct # is 770-209-7319. (Best to NOT mention my name since I complain a lot.)


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Greg Ball
Re: Sales Advice
on Oct 14, 2019 at 9:21:10 pm

Thanks Nick! I'll definitely contact Kristi!

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
https://www.ballmediainnovations.com


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