Meeting/Event Information

Be above it all - Orlando!

July 21, 2009
5:30 PM

Stirling Sotheby
121 S. Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL

July 21, 2009 – Orlando Chapter of NACE meeting held at Global Gallery, Orlando.
A panel discussion was held for this meeting on the subject(s) of “Best Practices for Capturing Business and Generating Revenue in our down economy.” The discussion was moderated by NACE President, Ed DiAntonio, CMP, CPCE. The panelists were: Bill Fink, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center; Brett Walters, Kirby Rental Service, LLC; Darlene Walker, Cheryl’s Distinctive Creations; and Ralph Rendsland, Puff N Stuff Catering.

Below are high points and some of the things our panelists and attendees contributed. We hope that you will find at least one thing in this discussion that will help you in your business. If you have something that you would like to contribute to this discussion and share with others in the industry, please e-mail Admin@orlandonace.com and we will add your comment and/or suggestion to this posting.

      Hold weekly meetings with your sales/catering team to discuss new best practices, open dialogue for new ideas from all team members.
        Charge groups for coffee; come up with creative ways to sell inexpensive items such as “infused” water. These items typically “included” can be a great revenue boost.
     Some properties have adopted a practice of the Catering Manager controls the event. You have 10 seconds or less to sell the full picture so you need to be an expert in every area. Bundle or package the event by providing proposals to the client that encompass all components of the event presenting them with a per person price for the package. Then if they need a lower price, the Catering Manager can assess where to make cuts.
         Educate your suppliers as to what you are dealing with in selling your product in hopes of them realizing that if they can assist with pricing levels they will receive an ultimate return of gaining your business creating a win/win situation for everyone.
     Call your vendors every week to check in as a friend or just say hello, not necessarily to ask about future opportunities.
        Find the loyalty factor, continue to nourish relationships with clients that come year after year and focus on groups that have annual events.
         Dropping prices and creating package deals shows more value to the client.
        Discount to a point, but not to the point of loosing profit. Always maintain the quality of your product, the highest level of service and integrity within the market.
        Darlene Walker told of her practices as a specialized supplier to educate their customer; resort/catering manager, DMC, event planner, etc. giving them the information they need to sell the package and your product to the client when presented as a package.
         Focus on markets that are thriving RIGHT NOW, such as the wedding market…people will always get married. 
      Cut advertising costs by using resources most utilized by the customer…example, brides these days are very internet savvy and spend a large part of their time browsing websites so web marketing is the fastest way to reach them.
     Get back to basics, realizing everyone in the company needs to step up and get their hands dirty and find the business, make some cold calls.
        Offer 5% commission to any employee within the company that brings business to sales/catering. (Make everyone a sales person)
      During this time everyone needs to realize that we are ALL working twice as hard……for less pay.
       Have Catering Managers team up with Groups Sales Managers, everyone should be assisting in selling all aspects. Do joint sales calls together.
       Qualify all cold calls so they are more productive.
         Celebrate EVERY sale!
        On high cost foods, products or services, offer your customer alternative options at a discounted price so labor/production costs are lowered but revenue is increased and the client still has a comparable product.
        Always show the customer the value of what they are getting so they can see the savings.
      Remember to empathize with your team, stay positive and sensitive to their needs.
        Join local and charitable associations OUTSIDE the event industry. Participate on committees to establish new connections.
         Continue networking whenever possible, the more you are seen, the more you are remembered. If you drop off the radar you can be quickly forgotten.
       Attend Chambers of Commerce meetings, these are people that are looking for OUR services.
        Partner with other specialists in your field to share inventory. Don’t necessarily look at them as competitors but as partners to pool your resources. It allows you the opportunity to offer your customer more options.
 
The conversation turned to the job market, what follows are some suggestions for being viable in the job market:
 
     Be creative about who you are handing your resume to and how you are doing it. The HR department is not the best place to send a resume, they see maybe hundreds a day and your resume may never get to the right person. Set yourself apart.
         Think outside the box and use your personal experiences. What experience do you have that can help you in THIS job.
         Research the client so you can anticipate their needs and show them that you truly know their product/service and can validate why you should be working with them.
 

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