Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Consulting
Training Seminars
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The "Tipping Point"
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Identifying the Touch
Points in Hotel Sales
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by Carol Verret, May 2006 

Identifying the touch points that tip a potential customer positively or negatively is an important issue in hotel sales training. Most sales training deals with all or some of the aspects of the sales process – ho, hum! 

Experienced sales people always express a certain ‘been there – done that’ in response or at best, say ‘what a good refresher!’. So if they know it all why aren’t they producing more is always the question.

In Malcolm Gladwells’ book, The Tipping Point, it is emphasized that small things lead to big changes or a tipping point in which an situation or, in this case, a person or organization, is ‘tipped’ positively or negatively. If we apply the same principles to sales, we can identify those points of contact or ‘touch points’. If we can identify them, then we can engineer or ‘train’ for them to ensure that they are positive. 

Most of these should go without saying but it should never be taken for granted that even an experienced sales person is aware of and consistently executes these critical ‘touch points’ in a positive manner. ‘Touch points’ are behaviors that can be monitored and measured, which is more than most training ensures. 

The measurement of these ‘touch points’, however, requires that we establish a new metric for reporting and observation. Instead of measuring only how much business was closed, from a training standpoint, we need to examine how the touch points were handled so we can reinforce the positive behavior. Equally important is to look at business that was lost and examine how the important touch points were handled that may have contributed to its failure to book.

Training to the desired behavior has a very definite practical application and forces a focus on the ‘little things’ that yield positive changes in ‘tipping’ the client in our favor. In a business environment of increased immediacy, it is critically important that each client contact or ‘touch point’ is maximized. 

Do your sales people have a Blackberry or a web enabled cell phone so that they can check and respond to emails while they are on the road? If the competition does, your sales people may be too late. Remember, “It’s not the Big that Eat the Small – it’s the Fast that Eat the Slow!” (Jennings & Haughton, 2003)

‘Touch points’ can be trained and some are more important than others. What are those touch points and what makes them important? A few are ‘touched’ upon below: 

  • Initial contact. Designate a response window as guidance for the sales person to return the communication. We always designate this but don’t measure the execution. The window for responses is getting tighter and tighter and it is up to the sales person at the end of a conversation to commit to when the next action will take place. 
  • The quality of the initial contact. Getting it right the first time should not be tough. Whether the response is to be a phone call or an electronic communication, does the quality of that communication indicate that the sales person has listened and has crafted a response that reflects that? 
  • Close on the next ’touch point’. Let the client know when they can expect the response and how it will be delivered via email, phone call or snail mail (does anyone really put stuff in the mail anymore?). 
  • “Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it”. How hard is this and how many people actually do it? It is a tough marketplace and it is indicative of how much this means when a client actually thanks a sales person for following up promptly. 
  • Fast, fluent communication. Relationships are built in five minutes – whether over the phone, email or in person. Quite frankly, a relationship doesn’t mean much unless the sales person can get to the point and demonstrate the value of their product in terms that the client finds compelling. 
All of the above rely on behaviors that can be trained for and measured. It is matter of changing the paradigms with which we look at sales behavior and reporting – it is also a matter of whose sales people will win in an increasing competitive market environment and ‘tip’ the client favorably toward your property.




Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006


 
Contact:
Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
carol@carolverret.com
Web Site: http://www.carolverret.com/
Email: carol@carolverret.com
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Also See: The "Tipping Point" - Touch Points Make a Difference in Customer Service Training / Carol Verret / April 2006
Selling Up! Taking Group Room Revenue to a New Level / Carol Verret / February 2006
Revenue Management 2006; The Risks and Rewards / Carol Verret /January 2006 
Revenue Management and Group Sales - The Partnership Not the Disconnect / Carol Verret / November 2005
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People / Carol Verret / September 2005
Triple Witching Hour - The Marketing Plan, Revenue Management Strategy and RFPs for '06 / Carol Verret / August 2005
"Smile" is a Learned Behavior - Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret / July 2005
Revenue Management Systems -- Considerations for Evaluation / Carol Verret / June 2005
Disconnect -- Aligning the Revenue Management and Sales Strategies / Carol Verret / May 2005
Independent Hotels & Resorts; Ride the Wave or Float with the Tide? / Carol Verret / March 2005
Hospitality Sales Training Companies Reach Across the Competitive Playing Field to Combine Live Seminar Expertise with  the Convenience of the Internet / Carol Verret / January 2005
Revenue Management - The Challenge for Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2005
Hotel Sales Departments -- Issues in Processes and Functionality / Carol Verret / November 2004
The GM'S Role in Revenue Management / Carol Verret / October 2004
Transforming the Hotel Sales Organization; Alignment with the New Realities of Sales / Carol Verret / August 2004
The Revenue Management Strategy - The Pre-Plan Marketing Plan / Carol Verret / July 2004
Hotel Revenue Management this Summer - a Game of Skill, Art and Most of All Nerves / Carol Verett / May 2004
What Do Meeting Planners Want? Hotel Sales Managers Want to Know! / Carol Verret / May 2004
Revenue Management -- The Integration of Revenue Drivers / Carol Verret / March 2004
CYBER SALES -- Hotel Sales in an Internet World is the New Reality / Carol Verret / February 2004
The New Realities of Hotel Sales - Focus on Revenue Generation / Carol Verret / January 2004
Hotel Sales -- Innovation in the Face of Limitations / Carol Verret / November 2003
The Good News & the Bad News; Improving Economy = New Hotel Development / Carol Verret / October 2003
Leadership - General Managers Managing the Sales Process / Carol Verret  / October 2003
When the Crystal Ball is Cloudy; Marketing Plans for 2004 / Carol Verret / July 2003
Partnership of Sales and Technology; Using Tech Tools to "Sell" the Hotels / Carol Verret  / July 2003
Back to the Basics? The Basics of Hotel Sales Have Changed! / May 2003
Creating Sales "HUNTERS": The Skill Sets Required in the New Hotel Sales Environment / April 2003
Heightened Security Requires New Strategies in Hotels Sales / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Mar 2003
Revenue Recovery - Building The ‘A’ Team in Sales / Carol Verret / January 2003
Contingency Marketing Plan – War In Iraq! / Carol Verret / November 2002
Playing the Rate Game - Positioning -- Positioning -- Positioning! / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Rate Game - Playing to Win / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Challenge of Marketing Independent Boutique Hotels / Carol Verett / August 2002
Hotel Sales in a Limited Service Environment - The Rules Have Changed / Carol Verett / August 2002
The General Manager’s Role in Sales -Chief Marketing Officer of the Hotel / Carol Verret / April 2002
100% Market Share Penetration is Not Good Enough / Carol Verett / January 2002
The Key to REVPAR Recovery –  New Business Development / Carol Verett / December  2001
Trash the 2002 Marketing Plan - And Just Start Over / Carol Verett / September 2001
How to Use Consultants Effectively –  A View From the Other Side  / Carol Verret / August 2001
How Soft Is Your Hotel's Economic Landing?  / Carol Verret / Aprl 2001
The ‘Value Proposition’: Marketing Yourself to Prospective Employees / Carol Verret / January 2001
Generation Y:  Motivating and Training a New Generation of Employees / Carol Verret / November  2000
Why Customer Service Seminars Don't Work / Carol Verret / October 2000
Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000 
FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and  Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000
Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000 
Measuring Effectiveness of  Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000
Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000



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