New Generation of Hospitality
Sales Professionals Lesson #6
|By David M. Brudney, ISHC, April 2007
“We’re in the business of making friends.”
That statement - - made by Keith Fowler of Anheuser-Busch - - resonated with me very early in my hospitality Sales career.
Making friendships and maintaining those relationships is very important for most everyone, but for those of us in Sales it is an absolute cornerstone for successful selling.
Those initial contacts made by today’s new generation of hospitality Sales professionals represent potential clients and referral sources for a career lifetime.
It’s all about relationships
Building relationships with clients, however, is not enough. You must begin with building solid relationships from within, with your “internal customer”:
I have experienced first-hand many times the old customer adage, “all things being equal, I prefer to do business with someone I know and like.” Customers may have new layers in their communication tool boxes today (cell phones, e-mail, texting), but they still prefer to deal mainly with those Sales pros where solid relationships are established.
Establishing and maintaining relationship tips
Tips on establishing and maintaining solid relationships:
Online v. Telephone. I have found very few examples of hospitality Sales pros establishing strong customer relationships 100% online. Online dating services might be a good way to find potential significant others, but establishing solid relationships in hospitality Sales begins with telephone contact and personal, face-to-face Sales calls and trade shows. E-mails and texting are great for information, but the telephone is essential for communication. Once initial contact is made, always ask the client for his/her preferred communication tool: telephone, e-mail or face-to-face meetings.
Understanding Needs. Professional meeting planners tell me what they crave the most from hospitality Sales pros is being understood; that the Sales pro understands the planners’ needs, what’s really important. This is about focus and being a good listener.
F.Y.I. Another good way of maintaining a good relationship is to look for information that might be helpful or of interest to the client. Drop off or send articles on trends and information on the client’s business, competition and industry in general. Clients can never get enough information to help them in their jobs and even if they never acknowledge what you sent, they will remember your thoughtfulness. All of this may help to separate you from your competitors as the client will think of you more in terms as a good friend, advisor and someone who always has the client in mind.
Availability. Do everything possible to make yourself available for the client when the client calls with new demands on very short notice. Remind yourself that the client would not be calling on you in the first place if a relationship had not been established.
Reliability. If the prospective client is expecting a proposal within 48 hours, make certain that the proposal is delivered within 48 hours. If you can’t produce, you must make contact prior to that deadline, advise the proposal will not be delivered on time and indicate at what time it will be delivered.
Trust. Never spread misinformation or tell a prospective client something you know not to be true. Far better to say you don’t know and that you will get back to them with a correct answer shortly. This has to do with your own personal credibility.
Loyalty. Loyalty’s a two-way street. Most clients respect your being loyal to them and most will do everything possible to be loyal to you. Loyalty is key to solid relationships.
Stay Connected. Don’t allow long periods of time to lapse between visits, especially those done in person. Call or make an appointment when you’re in or near the client’s city. Take the client to lunch. Stop by the client’s office for a visit.
Best advice I can give to the new generation of
hospitality Sales professionals? It is all about relationships.
Build and maintain solid relationships that will support you for the life
of your Sales career. Be for the client what you would be for a good
© Copyright 2007
|Also See||Site Inspections New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #5 / David Brudney / March 2007|
|Mood of Hotel Investors and Operators is Euphoric / David Brudney / February 2007|
|“Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer” Know Your Hotel Competition: Lesson #4 / David Brudney / January 2007|
|Hotel Owners Nightmare: Money Left on the Table / David Brudney / December 2006|
|New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #3: Selling Time Balance / David Brudney / November 2006|
|New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #2: Want to be Successful? Start by Packing your own 'Chute / David Brudney ISHC / October 2006|
|Managing the Consultant: Careful Not to Doom the Project / David M. Brudney / September 2006|
|You Cannot Microwave Experience: New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals - Lesson 1 / David Brudney / August 2006|
|New Breed of Hotel Sales Associates Lacking Curiosity? Maybe it’s Not a Generational Thing / David Brudney ISHC / July 2006|
|Generation X Hotel Sales Associates: All Important Curiosity Factor Missing? / David Brudney / June 2006|
|Physical Therapy Sessions: A Good Reminder for Professional Selling Fundamentals / David M. Brudney / April 2006|
|Hotel Marketing Starts Locally; Never Forget Your Neighbors / David M. Brudney / March 2006|
|Notes from the ALIS Conference / David Brudney / February 2006|
|General Managers Workshop: Managing Today's Hotel Sales Teams / July 2005|
|Owners & Asset Managers: Need Expert Advice, Referral? Ask A Trusted Consultant / David M. Brudney, ISHC / May 2005|
|Larry May: The Passing Of Another Hotel Soldier / David Brudney ISHC / April 2005|
|Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same? / David Brudney ISHC / December 2004|
|Let’s Put Bush and Kerry Through the RFP Process / October 2004|
|Bev Kordsmeier, Hyatt Sales’ First Lady / April 2004|
|Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004|
|What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003|
|Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003|
|Time to “Group Up”? Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002|
|America’s Front Desk Fights Back! / January 2002|
|Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001|
|A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001|
|More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000|
|It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000|
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