3 Steps to a Winning Proposal Conversion Strategy

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3 Steps to a Winning Proposal Conversion Strategy

By Ryan Hamilton, Co-Founder, SalesAndCatering.com and Bluebuzzard Technology Group

They say that the most successful event is one that achieves the client’s goals but exceeds their expectations. Whether a large-scale event or a small gathering, a corporate trade show, or a small meeting, events require meticulous planning, attention to detail, and seamless execution. And, much like an elevator pitch or a first impression, event proposals represent a critical opportunity to show a client how you will bring their vision to life and, where possible, make it even better. After all, proposals are oftentimes the first piece of visual communication sent back to a potential customer. In this regard, they have the unique ability to set a tone, instantly build customer confidence, and send a clear message that the event in question belongs at your hotel or meeting venue. A great proposal will help advance your customer to the next step in the sales cycle, while a mediocre proposal can encourage your potential client to take their business elsewhere.

However, as we look to the post-pandemic event and meeting landscape, we have to acknowledge that events will take on a different form in the coming year. And as sales teams work to cater to those unique and evolving requirements associated with intimate events and small meetings in this new landscape, the importance of the event proposal and increasing conversions becomes even more critical.

So, in the continued bid for group business in this highly dynamic landscape, how can hotels differentiate their property from the next by delivering exactly what the prospect wants? And what does it take to deliver a winning proposal that converts?

Showcase Your Expertise

It’s important to remember that, although the prospective client often has a vision or goal in mind for their event or meeting, they are often disorganized and nervous about their event. This is your opportunity to build customer confidence and position yourself as the expert who has thought of every detail and can lead the way to a successful event or meeting.

In the coming months, the event landscape will shift to favor small-scale meetings and events. Venues will become especially valuable to corporations seeking a clean, safe environment to host small meetings and working sessions, in accordance with new regulations.

Understandably, many brands feel a great deal of uncertainty as they look to return to (the new) normal and once again schedule and host in-person events.

With this in mind, hotels should make it their utmost priority to answer any questions the client might have, and provide a detailed breakdown of safety and sanitization measures being utilized across the property. Addressing these measures within the proposal will help to proactively address client concerns and put them at ease while establishing your hotel or venue as a leader in the space.

Make it Visual

We live in a digital age, and we are largely visual learners. In fact, studies show that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

As such, it should come as no surprise that the most successful event proposals leverage visual elements to bring their vision to life. With this in mind, hotels should actively seek out an easy to use sales and catering platform that offers this functionality.

Proposals should be professionally designed, easy to navigate, easily shareable, personalized, and interactive. Utilizing the power of video elements, virtual tours, and 3D floor plans, venues can curate a proposal that is as clear as it is engaging, providing the client with a realistic, real-time glimpse at the event plan and any corresponding details. Research shows that people remember 10% of what they hear, but when the same message is paired with an image, people remember 65% of it. So, why leave it up to the client’s imagination if you don’t have to?

How to go from good to great

When it comes to events of any type, attention to detail is paramount; and so, the event proposal should adhere to similar expectations. The client should be provided with detailed analytics for their proposed event, along with catering menus, A/V pricing, fact sheets, and all other sales collateral. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ design approach for events and meetings, and your proposal should reflect that.

With this in mind, a hotel or venue space sales team should consider the following elements when preparing a proposal:

  • Is the proposal print and mobile friendly?
  • Can you easily customize, update, and share decision-making information (menus, av pricing, etc.)?
  • Are you speaking your client’s language throughout the proposal? Have you summarized and addressed their needs in a detailed fashion?
  • Have you included visual elements to make your proposal more effective and memorable?
  • Have you included photos of similar events or meetings you’ve done that accomplish things that this client wants?
  • Have you included a detailed event timeline?
  • Have you included virtual tours and floor plans with specific meeting rooms being used for the event highlighted?
  • Have you included a range of options (catering, set-up, etc.) that suit the client’s goal while remaining within budget?
  • Despite post-pandemic restrictions and subsequent changes to event infrastructure, have you found ways to think outside the box and achieve your client’s goal while still adhering to safety recommendations?
  • Once you’ve sent your proposal, don’t forget to follow up (using automation via your sales and catering system is the most effective and efficient option) and ask your potential client if they have any questions.

Just as a cut-and-paste resume often won’t win you a job interview, a basic and unimaginative proposal template often won’t win a client’s business.

Event proposals should be engaging, meticulously designed, and personalized with professional sales and catering software, mobile-friendly, and detail-oriented. With the right sales and catering technology in place, hotels and venues can effectively design cutting-edge, personalized proposals that will not only stand out to clients — they’ll make or break the sale.