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The New Year has arrived and that means new budgets have been approved (or almost approved) and your goals have been set. Now is the time to make 2017 your best year ever. Maybe you said that about last year too, but for some reason, the results weren’t quite what you were looking for. Your sales were strong, but could they have been stronger? Too often in hotel sales it is our bad habits that keep us from hitting our full potential. Below are five key habits that most sales people develop during the good years. You may not have all of them, but, maybe a simple adjustment of one of these habits could send your sales soaring.

1) Don’t Wait for the Phone to Ring

Yes, business is booming right now. The phones are ringing, CVENT RFPs are flooding in, and your NSO is sending you leads like crazy - but don’t let a drought sneak up on you. All indications are that this year will remain strong for the US Hotel industry, at least through the fourth quarter, then, who knows? The key action that will keep you ahead of the pack in the down time is making time for prospecting. Set a goal to make a specific number of calls every day and hold yourself accountable.

2) Starting your day without a plan

How many times have you started the week with an open calendar, only to finish it having been through a barrage of impromptu meetings or brainstorming sessions that kept you from doing your actual job?  Your work begins to pile up and productivity begins to slow. The old saying “plan your work and work your plan” still holds true. Each night, before you go to bed, or every morning before you hit the shower, set your goals for how you want to tackle your week and tackle your day. Make a checklist and then, again, hold yourself accountable for getting this done.

3) Stop asking the wrong questions

So often, sales people receive a lead, but all the information they got from the client was the date and number of rooms.  No history, no information on “what makes them tick”. In hotel sales, it is all about the details. It's easy to get so busy and caught up in the sale, that you don’t find the right information that can be key to booking the business. Make a list of information you want to get from a client to help you build a better proposal for them. A basic list can include: History (where have they been before), Frequency (How often does this event take place), Competition (who else is the client looking at), and Budget (often the hardest question to ask but one of the most important).

4) Stop feature dumping

Most clients are not going to be impressed when you present them with a long list of features about your hotel. The fact that you have beds with nice sheets on them is not going to get you that contract. However, painting the picture that "after a long day of travel with flight delays or lost luggage, guests can melt into your custom made beds with soft, luxurious sheets and drift off the sleep" will remind them of their own travel experiences and entice them to think about how welcoming your rooms are.

5) Stop eating lunch alone (or in the cafeteria)

Too often, the temptation exists to eat at your desk or hang out with friends in the cafeteria during lunch.  How much more productive and engaging could we be for our customers if we invited them to lunch from time to time?  Having face time with our customers is one of the most important actions we can take in relationship management.  Set an entertainment goal for yourself each week. You don’t have to go crazy and buy a lobster and three-martini lunch, but a lunch or breakfast meeting can work wonders for your relationships. If your client is more fitness focused, maybe offer to join them on a run or at the gym. Who knows, you may have a new running buddy.

The key is to set goals for yourself and shake these bad habits so the changes do not overwhelm you. Then, all you have to do is set your plan and make 2017 your best sales year yet.

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