By The Mezzanine Team
In an overcrowded and constantly-growing industry, capturing market share and keeping the events calendar full has become harder today than ever before. With all event venues boasting the sleekest space, unparalleled amenities, and unbeatable hospitality, differentiating your brand is crucial to a successful 2018. We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to maximize your strengths and sell the way today's events clients want to buy.
First and foremost, let us formally introduce you to The Mezzanine.
SO WHAT IS THE MEZZANINE
The Mezzanine is Bond Collective’s first event space and the “Gather” in our motto, “Work. Gather. Dwell.” Located on the mezzanine level of 55 Broadway, The Mezzanine officially opened its doors in October 2016 and has seen tremendous growth since its launch. In addition to our 4,020-square-foot main event floor that can hold up to 300 guests standing and 200 seated, we have 4 breakout rooms, for a total of just over 6,300 square feet across the entire venue. Boasting beautiful chandeliers and our signature bleacher seating, we like to think of ourselves as the Financial District’s newest, most stylish event venue!
WHAT KIND OF EVENTS DO YOU HOST?
We host just about every type of event you can imagine. From corporate trainings and brand activations to weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs, if you can dream it, you can do it at The Mezzanine! We try to be as accommodating as possible so that our clients have the flexibility to bring their visions to life, and short of an open flame we allow our guests to do just about anything they need to make it happen.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY HIGH PROFILE EVENTS IN THE SPACE?
We’re glad you asked! We’ve hosted events that feature celebrities such as Anderson Cooper, Hillary Clinton, G-Easy, 90’s R&B legend, Ginuwine, and the entire cast of NBC’s Shades of Blue (minus J. Lo, which we’re still pretty upset about). That’s not to say we haven’t had standard conferences, demo days or panels at The Mezzanine. We’ve hosted huge events with some of the top tech companies in the world.
Now that you’ve been introduced, here are a few tips and tricks that we use to stand out in the events world:
BACK TO BASICS: SELL SIMPLY
With a space as unique as the Mezzanine that honestly sells itself, we think that selling should be done simply. Know your product, learn what your clients wants, and show how the space fits those needs.
Answer quickly! We all know that a faster response time directly correlates to the likelihood of a lead being booked. A good rule of thumb is to always respond to a lead within the first hour of receiving it. However, we know it isn’t always easy, especially when it’s 5:30 PM and you’ve barely touched your to-do list. At the very least, all leads should be answered no later than 24 hours after receipt. Otherwise, you may as well consider it dead. This study by LeadResponseManagement.Org provides some pretty illuminating information on the value of response time. Even if your venue may not initially be a client’s first choice, you would be surprised at how you quickly you may jump to the top of the list simply by being responsive! When people feel that you value their business, they are more likely to give it to you.
Additionally, rather than information dump an endless list of features that may end up being irrelevant, take the time to listen to what the client specifically asks for, and speak to those points directly. Your film client does not care that you offer luxury bathroom amenities and can fit 200 people seated; they want to know how good the acoustics are and whether they can load in at 6:00 AM on the nose. If you address their main concerns straight away and put yourself in their shoes to explain how your space can make their lives easiest (and always remember to send relevant photos – they’re worth a thousand words, after all!), there is a much better chance that you will earn their trust and the booking.
Now that you’ve sent the perfect proposal that directly addresses their needs, always remember to follow up! Chances are that the client is looking at 5-10 other venues and sent a blanket request the day before, so your response may have gotten lost in the shuffle. Send a follow-up email within 24 hours to ensure that the prospect has received your proposal and ask if there is any additional information you can provide. If the lead is worth fighting for, set yourself another reminder to follow up in another week, as good things take time, and some clients need to wait a few weeks, or even months, for their organizations to finalize a decision.
And of course, don’t forget to ask for a tour! Once you are able to meet the client face-to-face and they can see how great your venue is, the likelihood of closing increases tenfold. After the tour – you guessed it – follow up as well. Pro tip: Always be polite, but not pushy!
So you’ve followed up, showed them the space, and they love the venue and want to discuss about pricing. It’s now time to negotiate. The best piece of advice that I’ve received is simple: Just give them what they want. However, we know it’s not always that easy, as you can’t just give the house away for free. We’re in business to make money after all!
Price negotiation is a delicate dance, but the biggest thing to remember is that people ultimately want to feel like you are on their side. The answer is never “No,” but “Let me see what I can do.” You want to be flexible enough that you don’t lose them, but you also want to make sure that you and your team can reach your revenue goals. Clients understand that similarly to how they have a financial responsibility to their team, you have the same to yours. Take a minute to decide on a price that works for both parties so that they know you listened to them, but of course, always answer within 24 hours. If it’s peak season on a peak day at a peak time and you absolutely cannot budge on price, think about offering low-cost, high-impact concessions like complimentary in-house furniture or an additional hour for load-in. These won’t affect your bottom-line, but the client will be happy that you did what was in your power to help them out!
The client is ready to move forward with the space, and they have requested a contract. Congratulations! But you’re not done yet.
After generating a contract, always be sure to proofread before you send it (This also goes for emails, but a contract is a legally-binding document; Treat it as such). Nothing is more unprofessional than a contract that is full of errors. Double check your load-in and load-out times, event start and end times, pricing, any special concessions, formatting, and that everything is spelled correctly. If they have any concerns with the contract language, address it quickly, as you may not be the only venue for which they have a contract in hand. And always remember to follow up – you’re not off the hook yet. You’re not fine until they sign on the dotted line!
Signed contract in hand, you’re ready to hand the program off to your wonderful events team! You’ve likely discussed a lot of details with your client at this point, so be sure to communicate those details clearly so nothing gets lost in translation. Highlight any special requests, and be thorough but concise. Your events team probably doesn’t want an entire history of your conversation, just the important stuff. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
THE FOLLOW THROUGH
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean the sales process is over! Check in with your operations team before the event happens and make sure everything is ready to go. There’s no point in having sold the dream if it doesn’t come to life! If you work on-property, say a quick hello on the day of so the client knows you’re also there if they need you. You’re basically their best friend, after all.
THE THANK YOU
The client had an amazing event, and they loved everything! Always remember to say thank you!
This is the time for you to tie up any loose ends like discussing how everything went, if there were any damages, and when you will be returning their security deposit. Once all is said and done, don’t be afraid to ask the client to share their experience online as well! Reviews are a great way to learn from any constructive criticism, as well as an impactful (and free!) way to showcase the quality of your venue to those who haven’t had a chance to experience it. And of course, don’t forget to set a reminder to follow up in a few months to ask if there are any future programs with which you can assist!
The end of the year is a great time to send a hand-written note and maybe even a little gift to your past clients to remind them that you appreciate them and that you’d love to have them back! They may have forgotten about you (even though you are the most memorable, and no one could ever forget about you), so the holidays are a great excuse to pop in and get that repeat business!
That’s a wrap! You’ve got all our trade secrets, so you’re ready to conquer the events world and open a new event space of your own!
Speaking of new event spaces, be on the lookout for our new location at Bond Bushwick, projected to open in late 2018! We can’t give away too much info, but we will say there will be 2 floors of amazing indoor space AND a rooftop deck.
Stay tuned, and we look forward to hosting your next event!