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Keeping the Sales Flowing

Keeping the Sales Flowing

“Hints, tip and ideas on how to avoid making your show so fun that the customers forget to go behind the bar and buy beer”


Welcome back to the blog! I hope the last few posts have been useful for you and that you are having a good week hosting your trivia. Today, I am going to be looking at a slightly different theme and that is sales….not sales of your services, or questions…..but sales the establishment makes whilst you are hosting the trivia event…..or doing any kind of entertainment for that matter.


What you have to consider first and foremost is why you are hired. You are hired, they make an investment in you for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to make sure that they make profit. Your salary, the costs of having you there, and the jackpot prize they offer is all factored into if a profit is made. No matter how great your quiz is, no matter how many great ideas you have, and how swanky your website is, if the bar isn’t making money then your gig is going to be cancelled before you know it. This is exactly why a lot of venues won’t issue 3/6/12 month contracts because as soon as you start costing them money then you are going to find that your out of the door.


So, what we are going to look at today, is how you, as a trivia host, can ensure that your customers can not only enjoy the quiz and keep coming back, but also when they are there that they spend money on drinks. There are various ways to do this but I am going to look at a few key areas.


Keeping the Sales Flowing – The old timing trick….

This is perhaps the oldest trick in the book when it comes to making sure people spend money on drinks…..advertising a time for the quiz and starting it later. This is very very common practice and it works. If your poster, facebook post or flyer says “Quiz – Sunday Night – From 8.30pm”……Your players, especially new ones, will aim to be there at 8.30pm. You can get set up during this time, talk to players, hand out the answer sheets but don’t actually get things going until 9pm then you can usually guarantee people will be ready for another drink soon. You have them in the venue spending money from the start….and if you then play the rest of the quiz just right you can stagger the breaks so that they come when people will be finishing.


If you start spot on 8.30pm, people may feel rushed and be focusing on the quiz rather than thirst. Yes, people will get used to the start time being later and adjust their timings accordingly but getting that first round of drinks in before the quiz starts is vital to profit.


Keeping the Sales Flowing – Don’t Rush….

Always in your mind, when planning and preparing quizzes in a bar think about ensuring the players have time to buy drinks. Don’t just plan a night that ignores it…if you rush through your quiz in 45 minutes and everyone leaves…(because quiz players tend to leave when the quiz is over)…then the profit will be hit and then you won’t be booked again. Time your quiz nicely…

This is always the hard part though….making sure that a) you leave enough time for the players to buy drinks but b) not boring them to the point that they find the quiz dull.

One effective method to keep people longer is to have a ‘grand finale’, but don’t start the grand finale right after the final round has been played.  Instead, after your final round take a 15 minute break ‘while you set up for the grand finale’ which will give players ample time to make the venue some profit.  More on this later in this article.


Keeping the Sales Flowing – Making sure the quiz is designed in an effective way

This is where the importance of the quiz writing and format comes into play. Do a picture round first for about 20-30 minutes.  Then do a name that tune round for the next 20-30 minutes, then do a standard trivia round for 20-30 minutes and then conclude with Extreme Bingo.  But take a few minutes in between each round.   These breaks are essential for these reasons:

  • Your shadow can catch up to you.  You can relax a moment from a trivia round and take the moment to gather your materials for your next round.
  • You can us the time to build rapport with your players.
  • People will use the bathroom or smoke break at that time, instead of doing so while your show is in progress.
  • Players can buy their food and drink at this time.

Another good tactic is to use a table quiz opener, or more commonly called an ‘ice breaker’ to get people together and in the same frame of mind for trivia.  This can be easily done with 20 questions on a written piece of paper and players have half an hour to answer them. In this relaxed format with more than sufficient time available the players are more likely to drink up and buy drinks.  As soon as the fast-action questions start they may not want to move.


Keeping the Sales Flowing – Interval

Always encourage this…..a quiz without an interval is death to the profits. 10-15 minutes is enough allowing players to use the toilet, smoke and more importantly….buy beer. Work with the host and try and have a special happy hour during this period to really drive people. Although I think the happy hour is best saved for…


Keeping the Sales Flowing – The end of quiz jackpot

I always encourage this…make the jackpot round, or ‘grand finale’ at the end of the quiz, and I mean the end…..after results and everything have been read out. This gives a pretty “dead” period where the quiz is over but people will stay in the establishment for the lure of the big jackpot. Hence, this is my suggestion of when to do the happy hour as it’s the end of the night, you want people in the “okay then just one more” frame of mine and buy another drink, ramping up profits.

It may be a good strategy to also not state what the grand prize is beforehand.  You don’t need to say “we will later reveal what the grand prize it” but in stead say “One lucky person tonight will win the grand prize….who will it be?”.  In other words, don’t make it a mystery to them, instead just don’t say anything about it except that someone will win it.  If they ask what it is you can jokingly say “Well, the prize depends on how nice you are to me”, or you can say “There are several prizes up for winning.  We will have a finale game to determine which of the prizes you could win!”.


Tip: Little aside here and not really something you can do much about, but if you encourage the bar staff and manager to add a little platter of dry food (nuts, crisps, cheese, breadsticks) etc to the tables during each quiz, then it will make the players more thirsty and hence buy more beer.


I hope you have found this helpful, as cruel as it sounds you will never be able to be a successful trivia host unless you understand that you are hired to make the bar money, and this should be considered at every stage of the planning, preparation and execution of your quiz!


Until next time…..happy trivia hosting!

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