EXHIBITION NEWS June 2017 - Page 41

COLUMN Sales Talk Lee Moulson, regional head of sales at Cheltenham Racecourse and the South West region of The Jockey Club, says seeing a client’s beaming smile cannot be bettered Going all out I ’m often asked: “what is the most enjoyable aspect of working in sales?” The worst, by far, is when you invest so much time and effort to win business, and for one reason or another it doesn’t quite come off. The ethos I taught myself and my team is to live and breathe what we sell – and in doing so, any negatives will be far outweighed by positive outcomes. In this industry, it is a massive advantage when you are working in an environment you’ve always wanted to be involved in, and I’m lucky to do just that every day. I always knew I wanted to work at a racecourse. I started my career as a jockey, and then studied business management for the horse racing industry at university. During my studies I also used to work part-time at Warwick Racecourse. So when a job came up at Cheltenham Racecourse to join the team as a hospitality sales executive, just as I was about to graduate, I applied and got it. From that moment I was hooked on working in racing and non-racing events sales. The chance to work with a client to make something really special is what gets me out of bed, and I’m extremely lucky to work at one of the most prestigious sporting venues in the country, if not the world. My love of horseracing got me into what I do now, but actually, for me, one of the best parts of the job is when clients come here for exhibitions and events, and have a really great experience. I probably get more joy out of that than anything. This job is all about helping to create something great for people. Seeing an event start as a concept and come to life over a period of time is just so exciting. It’s fantastic when we can work with clients to try something new. For instance, we’re hosting a new arts fair here, and it’s an event one of our team has been working on for two years and has now come to life. As venue sales people it’s vital we look at very different events to organise and bring here to continue to capture people’s imagination. Devising an event from concept through to delivery and seeing it working perfectly is extremely satisfying. A great example of that is the darts night we launched a few years ago, which has sold out every time we’ve held it since. When I fi rst came to Cheltenham, I think we used to tend to shy away from the fact we are a racecourse, and the emphasis was very much on treating non- racing events and exhibitions as separate. Now I think we embrace the fact we’re a racecourse. That’s not only because it is the racing that gives the venue its iconic status but also because we can give our customers the opportunity to take advantage of the racing side too, through, for instance, promotion on racedays. To anyone who is an aspiring salesperson, it sounds obvious, but my advice is to always ask yourself is the customer getting the best possible bang for their buck? For venues it’s vital you can demonstrate what people are getting for their money at every stage of the process, and that wherever possible you are going above and beyond. This can be offering additional support such as marketing, PR, promotion and management support – everything to help the client style their event. I’m sure there are venues out there who just book an event, and that’s it, but they will defi nitely be left behind – if they haven’t been already. Offering that little bit extra is what leads to repeat business and, for us, seeing clients grow their events with us over many years. My team are very lucky that even when the weather is horrible, when potential customers see the view from our Panoramic Restaurant event space on to the racetrack it creates a wow factor, the same goes for seeing the versatility of The Centaur auditorium. So to answer the question at the top, for me the most enjoyable part of working in sales is when you get to the end of the event or exhibition and the client is beaming and they tell you it’s the best event they’ve ever held – you just can’t beat that feeling. Learn from every event you host, do everything to support the customer to drive their event and business forward and customers will keep returning year after year. exhibitionnews.co.uk | June 2017 41