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Snappy Comebacks: Meeting Management Edition

Here are the four most common objections meeting organizers have to a new strategic meetings management program—and how to respond in a way that will get them on your side.

What’s the best way to neutralize objections from planners who do not want to comply with a new strategic meetings management process?  Below are four of the most common objections from planners, with some suggestions on how to neutralize those objections.

Objection: You are taking away the fun part of my job!
Neutralizing Response: You can still do all of the fun site inspections, planning, and on-site management, but you won't have to do the most painful part of the process: the sourcing and contracting. Subject matter experts in meetings and events will do the tedious negotiations in order to maximize savings and reduce contractual risk for the organization. Once the contract is signed, it gets turned back over to you for planning the rest of the meeting details.

Objection: I won't be able to pick the venue that I want to use!
Neutralizing Response: You still get to select the venue. Even if it is not the least expensive option, you can still choose to use it if it’s a better fit for the objectives of your meeting. An exception to this can be if you work in a regulated industry, for example, life sciences companies that hold meetings with healthcare professionals (HCPs) in attendance. In this case, there will be instances where you may not be able to use a specific hotel if it falls outside of the compliance policy.

Objection: I know the hotel I want to use. Why do I have to get a minimum of three bids anyway?
Neutralizing Response: Most organizations have fraud and abuse policies that include a competitive bidding process for the procurement of goods and services, including meetings. Competitive bidding processes usually require a minimum of 3 bids in order to fulfill corporate policy. Frequently, when transitioning from a single-bid to competitive-bid process, costs come down as a result of multiple suppliers in the bidding process. Using the SMM program protects you, as it keeps you within corporate policy.

Objection: Why can't I call my hotel sales person directly instead of using a technology tool?
Neutralizing Response: We have been transitioning to the online experience in our personal lives with shopping, so why not benefit from the online experience when shopping for meeting space? By registering your meeting in the technology tool, you enable an effective sourcing process that helps to ensure the required three-bid process, allows for automated availability reports, and documents an electronic trail of the negotiation process (depending the on technology tool used). Additional efficiencies include automatic inclusion on the corporate calendar and pre-population of information into the participant registration website, followed by automated reporting.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful in neutralizing objections from your future SMM planners!

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