Meet Visiting Media’s Newest Product Advisory Board Member
Reducing friction during the event facility selling process requires understanding how to communicate effectively with your target audience and having the best possible sales tools.
WEBINAR: Visiting Media and Alan Berg
A vibrant conversation on improving how your sales teams sell using immersive marketing and experiential sales materials! Watch the webinar here!
Visiting Media will be in New Orleans with Alan Berg February 25 – 28th! Be sure to contact us if you’re in the New Orleans market and would like to set up a face to face meeting!
Alan Berg, the leading speaker and expert on the business of weddings and events, an in-demand event facility sales trainer, prolific author and one of only 33 Global Speaking Fellows in the world, recently joined our product advisory board!
We met Alan in 2017 while attending one of his world renown ‘Mastermind’ seminars in Portland, Oregon. Alan teaches these classes all over the world, helping venue salespeople maximize sales and customer engagement using simple and logical selling and communication practices designed to reduce friction in the sales process.
Alan got excited after learning about our history as an event venue company and how our experience owning and promoting venues led to the development of the TrueTour™ sales tool, version one in 2011! Originally designed to help our own sales team, the TrueTour™ tool worked so well to improve sales performance that we decided to build a business around the technology and formed Visiting Media in 2012.
Today Visiting Media’s TrueTour™ tool and immersive content creation program is used by more than 2,000 venues, hotels and attractions all over the world. We help your salespeople sell more, with innovate assistive selling tools that engage, inspire and motivate venue customers in an entirely new way. By helping venues, like yours, communicate and sell more efficiently, you can close sales faster and increase revenue per customer. Alan’s teachings on communication are highly synergistic with what our technology makes possible for your venue sales team.
In November 2018 we sat down with Alan Berg at the Wedding MBA conference in Las Vegas, Nevada for a fun Q and A session!
VM: What gets you excited about working with Visiting Media? How do you share what Visiting Media makes possible to your audience?
AB: I love technology, but not for the geekiness, rather for how it helps the end-user get what they want, when they want it, and on their technology. TrueTour™ allows the venue to deliver just what the customer needs, in a mobile-ready format, wrapped in a package that will give the impression that your venue is up to date on the latest technology… which will imply to them that you’re up to date in other ways. Just as an old, outdated website will make your venue appear old and outdated (no matter how modern it really is), not keeping up with today’s technology will leave you behind. I love that when you use TrueTour™ you don’t have to worry about updating, TrueTour™ does that automatically. And when you know you’re going to have your room(s) set in a new way, you can get new 3D tours of those spaces, at no extra charge. Showing the room set a few different ways will keep the customer engaged longer, increasing the change they’ll make an inquiry. Additionally, I’ve been teaching my venue clients for years to use a tablet when touring customers around their venue. You can’t wait to get back to the office to show them what the room will look like. You need to do it right there, in the moment. And having all the other TrueTour™ features, while you’re touring, will leave a great impression on the customer, so even if they don’t buy from you today, they’ll remember it when visiting competitors. It will definitely give you an edge.
“ TrueTour™ allows the venue to deliver just what the customer needs, in a mobile-ready format, wrapped in a package that will give the impression that your venue is up to date on the latest technology”.
VM: What are three ‘golden rules’ you teach to ‘Mastermind’ session participants and how does Visiting Media and the TrueTour™ tool support and promote those teachings?
AB: It comes down to 7 words: Help Them Buy. Ask For The Sale. No one wants to be sold, but people who are having a wedding or event are buyers. So help them buy the results of doing business with you. How? Ask better questions, really listen to the answers, and help them get the results they told you they want (the subject of my most popular book to date: “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events”)
“It comes down to 7 words: Help Them Buy. Ask For The Sale”.
VM: How has the needs of the venue customer changed in the past 10 years? How have their shopping methods and research tools changed? How have venues had to change their sales and communication practices to meet this change in customer behavior and how does the TrueTour™ selling tool fit into that equation?
AB: Today, customers do their research before reaching out. By the time you get an inquiry, they’ve already put you on a short list of prospects. The job of your website, and advertising and marketing, is to engage them so they’ll make an inquiry. Venues don’t sell online, they try to engage a customer who’s already in buying mode. If they go to your website and don’t see what they want to see… they’ll move on, and you may not even know they were interested at all. Once they make the inquiry, you need to engage them in a real conversation, not one that’s copied and pasted, not a static PDF, a real conversation, whether it’s in email, text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. And yes, it’s very possible (I wrote my latest book on this subject: “Why Don’t They Call Me?”)
VM: How did you begin as a public speaker? What brought you to this career?
AB: While I was publishing two wedding magazines, I realized that my advertisers, venues and others, were really good at their technical skills (cooking, design, etc.) but lacking in real sales training. Most venue sales people had little if any formal sales education, and were leaving money on the table (figuratively) by missing out on sales. So, I started speaking to help them convert more of the leads my magazines were bringing them. That continued when I joined The Knot, where I was not only Vice President of Sales, I was also the main business speaker, and where I created The Knot Market Intelligence, to combine the webinars, articles and research we were doing into a cohesive unit. Now, in addition to my own events and speaking, as an education guru for WeddingWire, I can continue that tradition.
VM: Please share a few stories describing the return on investment from venues who’ve had you in for private sales training, and ‘Mastermind’ participants, things they have reported back to you after putting your teachings to work for their venues! In your experience, how can sales tools like the TrueTour™ help drive venues ROI?
AB: That’s easy, I have hundreds of testimonials:
“Talk about ROI! Within one month we had a 100% return on our investment and 8 months later, that return has catapulted to 500%!” – a venue that’s brought me in 3 times
“I am sure this will turn out to be the least amount of money I have ever spent to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business in return. Talk about ROI!” – a venue that has me on retainer to work with them throughout the year
“I’ve already implemented a number of takeaways from this day that will allow us to work smarter, not harder while listening closer and responding more effectively – getting a better return.” – a venue who’ve had me in privately, and attended a mastermind day
VM: How would you describe your approach to helping venue salespeople improve the way they sell? How is it helpful for a venue to have access to immersive visuals showing off what they are capable off?
AB: I try to show venue salespeople to sell the results of what they sell, not the ‘stuff.’ People don’t buy the food, they buy their guests saying it was the best food they’ve eaten. They don’t buy a ceremony site, they buy their friends and family taking in the beauty of it and reliving it in their photos. In short, I help them ask better questions and help people buy. A tool like TrueTour™ helps the customer visualize the results better, because an empty room is just an empty room. But your room, set the way you set it, backed up with all of the details they need, but on demand, not forced upon them, will help them see, and buy the results.
“People don’t buy the food, they buy their guests saying it was the best food they’ve eaten. They don’t buy a ceremony site, they buy their friends and family taking in the beauty of it and reliving it in their photos”.
VM: How important is it for a venue to have a highly effective way to convey visually their set up capabilities with target customers?
AB: It’s hugely important because many customers don’t have the vision to be able to see the results. Some just aren’t visual thinkers, and some because they’ve never planned a wedding, or party on this scale. It’s the same reason realtors stage homes with furnishings and accessories. They want to show you what it could be, and empty rooms just aren’t going to connect emotionally with the buyers.
VM: How important is it for a venue to be able to deliver their sales and marketing visuals to the customer using today’s communication methods like SMS/Text, QR Code, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger etc.?
AB: Today we need to give the customer what they want, when they want it, and on the technology that they use. We can’t try to force them to use the technology that we want, or stay stuck in an analog world. PDFs are fine if you print them and hand them to a customer. But if they’re on their phone, laptop, tablet or desktop, they want a technology that works best on that platform. Have you ever left a website, really fast, because the information wasn’t displaying properly on your device?
“Today we need to give the customer what they want, when they want it, and on the technology that they use”.