The function of consultative selling for DMOs

Within almost all industries using the correct sales approaches is crucial, and for Destination Marketing Organizations this is no different. Especially when handling new clients, such as event planners or meeting planners, it is very important to use the correct sales approach. There are three different types of approaches which are usually subdivided into two categories; transactional selling and complex sales.

Transactional selling is when the client only wants to buy the product. They know exactly what to buy and just want that product or service for the best price without any extras. This type of selling is not used a lot by DMOs. Within the complex sales category there are two different types of sales, these are consultative selling and strategic selling. When applying consultative selling the client is still in doubt about buying and using the product, in this case ‘selection or application assistance’ is needed. Strategic selling is focused on business-to-business markets.

Within the DMO industry complex sales, and especially consultative sales, are in most cases the best option to apply. In general, clients like event planners or meeting planners are not totally certain yet which exact ‘product or service’ within the destination they are looking for, so there is space to give the clients insights and solutions which they did not consider yet. Showing involvement and ingenuity can help to convince the clients to choose for a certain destination since most planners are not limited by one specific location.

According to the article ‘Searching for the Future: Challenges Faced by Destination Marketing Organizations’ by Gretzel, Fesenmaier, Formica and O’leary (2006) there is a lot more competition for DMOs these days then there was in the past. This is caused by companies that are contacting city councils or country commissioners directly to offer the same services for lower prices. This is an advantage for the destination because there will be more money left for other aspects such as paving roads for example. Furthermore, it is becoming more and more complicated to set a specific destination apart from the others in terms of experience and value. Customer knowledge, which means  knowing the needs and wants of the client as well as their usage criteria, can help with getting and maintaining relationships with new clients. Having good customer knowledge is an important aspect in order to be successful when using consultative selling because it will differentiate the destination from all others.

In conclusion, within the DMO industry choosing the correct selling approach is crucial since the competition is growing. When using consultative selling the focus should be on gaining customer knowledge so the clients can receive extra insights and information which is a service that the other, similar, destinations do not offer.

References:

Gretzel, U., Fesenmaier, D. R., Formica, S. and O’leary, J. T. (2006). Searching for the Future: Challenges Faced by Destination Marketing Organizations. Journal of Travel Research.Retrieved from: http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30211845/formica_gretzel_et_al.-complete.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1476092321&Signature=%2Bn5%2FA02ZtHXCiSOhWwNPOwnubhI%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DSearching_for_the_future_Challenges_face.pdf

Peelen, E. and Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson Education Limited. Harlow, United Kingdom.

 

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