Chelsea Cox: Power to the rate card

Have you ever got to the checkout with your weekly shop at your local supermarket and been asked what would you like to pay for it? No? Me neither.

 

Starting out in the world of exhibitions I had come from a background of sales management for a premium cosmetics brand where the word ‘discount’ didn’t exist.

 

On my first day I can vividly remember sitting at my desk and overhearing a sales pitch from a member of another team, I almost fell off my chair when he entered the pitch with: “What budget do you have for this space?”

 

Where is the art of selling in this I thought?

 

A couple of days later I had a meeting with my show manager and she expressed that for the launch of Be:Fit London, we would be setting ourselves apart from the traditional exhibition-selling technique and not negotiating on rate – I could have hugged her.

 

Having been instilled with the notion of if you need to discount then you aren’t selling the product properly, I was very happy that I wouldn’t solely be account managing and that I had the opportunity to demonstrate my own sales techniques.

 

I am extremely proud to say that I have never negotiated on rate, ever. Every single client I have ever worked with at Be:Fit London has paid rate card.

 

I work closely with my clients from an account management point of view and speak to every one of them at least fortnightly to ensure they are happy with the progress of the event, but also to find out about goings-on in their companies so that I am always up to date.

 

As a team we also host regular exhibitor training days and networking events, made possible by all of them knowing they have all paid the same rate and are therefore not experiencing any bad feeling should this be discussed.

 

Every year when Be:Fit London goes live, I get an immense feeling of fulfilment in walking around the event and seeing the effort and thought that has gone in to every single one of the stands. This is partly due to the clients being sold in to a premium event but also the account management provided that support and advice on what would work best for them.

 

Having had the honour of being one of the EN30/30, this is something I really wanted to talk about and express to the industry, perhaps if more emphasis was put on training salespeople properly in offering fantastic customer service, instead of giving them the lowest figure they can negotiate down to, we would see a big difference overall in revenue.

 

I genuinely believe so.

 

Going back to the first question I asked, if that was to have happened and you had a say in how much your shopping was, would you expect the same the next time round? Of course you would. It’s human nature.

 

So how does the thought process change? By never offering it in the first place. By standing your ground when it gets to four weeks pre-show and you still have money to bring in. Is it really worth discounting a few stands this late in the day and cause bad feeling from your other clients who have committed their money to you early on and in a sense, secured your event?

 

Surely these clients should be thanked and looked after by not doing so.

 

How would you feel if you had taken the time to queue outside your favourite shop in the hope of being the first to purchase their newest range only to find out that the four people at the back of the queue got 50 per cent off?

 

Understandably there are events out there that have thousands of sqm to fill every year and perhaps my feelings would change towards having to negotiate if this was the case for me.

 

I am lucky enough to work on a team that carry the same beliefs as I do and having launched with no negotiation on rates this has made it easier to carry it on through the years.

 

I imagine there are some people out there reading this and thinking, this girl doesn’t have a clue. I am a sales person; I have targets just like everyone else. If I told you that I haven’t missed a target in two years would you change your mind?

 

This article was first published in the December issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

 

Chelsea Cox
Posted by Chelsea Cox
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

AEV publishes Size and Scale Index of Events

The Size and Scale Index of Events (SASiE) has published its latest report analysing the data collected over 2015 from the participating venues and organisers.

SMG Europe appointed operator of AECC

Aberdeen City Council has appointed venue operator SMG Europe to manage the existing Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) ahead of the move to its new purpose-built home in 2019.

QEII adds £100m to economy, finds report

The QEII Centre generated £218m of gross UK expenditure in 2015/16, creating a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £100m, according to a new economic impact study.

Others on EN

Show or tell?

Show or tell?

Roopi Woodall, marketing manager at the QEII Centre, asks if the art of conversation on social media is dead – and how to engage with audiences if that’s the case.
You get what you ask for

You get what you ask for

Sue Berry, managing director at TimelessTime Ltd, discusses the importance of people metrics and measurable objectives.
The Anti Cyber Attack Checklist

The Anti Cyber Attack Checklist

Following the global cyber attack on 12 May, event tech supplier RefTech has compiled a checklist for individuals and companies to follow to help them reduce the risk of future attacks.

EN Awards Highlights

silverstream.tv

Most Read Stories

Fit for the 21st century

Fit for the 21st century

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, says we should always fight to bring talent into the industry and encourage an appetite for success.
I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.

Latest News

Joe Manby reappointed by Ocean Media

Joe Manby reappointed by Ocean Media

Joe Manby Limited is celebrating its reappointment by Ocean Media Group to provide event services for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) annual exhibition and conference in 2017 and 2018.
Excursions appoints LiveBuzz

Excursions appoints LiveBuzz

Group travel exhibition Excursions has announced the appointment of LiveBuzz to provide a new website, registration and exhibitor hub.
Private Healthcare Show launched in joint venture

Private Healthcare Show launched in joint venture

Two major events targeting the private healthcare market have been launched in the UK and Middle East in a joint venture between Turret Media and Pri-Med Global.

Latest Features

Quick interview: EN talks to Black Hat

Quick interview: EN talks to Black Hat

EN sits down with Steve Wylie, general manager of UBM’s Black Hat events, to chat about the Black Hat Academic Scholarship Programme.
Students: Pests or guests?

Students: Pests or guests?

It’s a question all organisers have to address – what should my show’s relationship with students look like?
Flying the nest

Flying the nest

Ever thought about going freelance? Do you have what it takes to go solo? Three event professionals tell EN their stories of building their own businesses.

Latest Galleries

drp's Interactive Expo

drp's Interactive Expo

drp worked with The British Army in Education to produce an interactive exhibition stand at the national Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair on 15-18 March 2017 at the NEC.
Grand Designs Live 2017

Grand Designs Live 2017

The 13th edition of Media 10’s Grand Designs Live returned to ExCeL London from 29 April to 7 May, featuring more than 500 exhibitors across six key sections. Grand Designs star Kevin McCloud one again hosted the nine-day exhibition.
Insomnia60

Insomnia60

Over 50,000 video game fans from across the country descended on Birmingham’s NEC on 14-17 April for Insomnia60, the UK’s largest gaming festival.