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Incentive Safety Tips

Posted by Training Magazine on November 05, 2008

By Terry Epton, CITE, DMCP

Inc_hed_terryeptonPrevent a client fiasco by always keeping the following in mind:

Never present undeliverables. Be careful on a site inspection if you decide whether or not to show an end-user client something that is not available for the time period that their incentive program will be operating. It doesn't matter how cool it is or how new it is. If it isn't available, be careful. Better yet, don't show it at all! They may only remember it and demand that the earth move and time stand still until it becomes available. I learned that one the hard way about 20 years ago, and I've included the example in my sales training sessions ever since. If one thing holds true in this industry, it is that human nature rules. People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear and remember it the way they want it to be. We are all the same in that respect. And we usually always want what we can’t have.

Never assume a client can’t afford something.  If an option is creative enough and has the “wow factor,” you would be surprised how flexible a client’s budget can become.  I am not saying this as a suggestion on how to get a bigger program billing, but rather as an important safety tip. Once while operating a successful incentive quality event in conjunction with a major national convention, our customer saw a competitor’s program in operation with an extravagant show-stopping finale. They looked at me and asked, “Why didn’t you offer our group that option?”  I answered that it wasn’t in their budget. WRONG ANSWER!!! My client said (and I’ll never forget these words), “If it’s something really great, I’ll find the money.” Meanwhile I was humiliated to see the customer covetous of their competitors program. That’s one mistake I’ll never make again. It is easy enough to say “this is really pricy but it would be a show stopper if we did XYZ.”  It’s always better to be safe than sorry in this business.

Never assume a client speaks English. As it turns out, a lot gets lost in transaltion, even between those who supposedly speak English. For more on this important tip, visit Incentivemag.com to read my latest Incentive Encounters column.

INCENTIVE online columnist and Chief Executive Officer of USA Hosts, Ltd., Terry Epton has been an executive in the incentive industry for 26 years. As past Chairman of the Board for The New Orleans CVB, Terry is deeply involved in marketing and hospitality Industry leadership of New Orleans. Twice President of ADME, the Association of Destination Management Executives and long time member of SITE, Terry served on the Society's International Board for two terms and as an officer for four years. Mr. Epton is a Trustee on the IRF, Incentive Research Foundation. Terry was named "Incentive Travel Personality of the Year" in 1999. With both the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation and the Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP) designation, Mr. Epton believes strongly in on-going industry education and community involvement.


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