Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Consulting
Training Seminars
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The Power of Referrals – Increasing
the Call to Closing Ratio

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September 20, 2010

Seth Godin, marketing guru, wrote a book – All Marketers are Liars.  While he didn’t mean that marketers ‘lie’, he makes the case that our customers don’t believe our worn out adjectives.  They put more faith in listening to ‘people like them’.   Hence, the rise of review sites and Fan pages that are given credibility by our customers and potential customers that function as quasi ‘referral’ sites. 
Customer psychology and buying behavior has changed.  A survey entitled the 2010 Portrait of American Travelers evaluated the travel buying patterns of leisure travelers and found that “…practically all have gone online to get information about travel suppliers (89 percent) and make reservations (87 percent).” (Travel Mole, 7/10) 

They want to buy but don’t want to be sold.  Think for a moment about how you buy anything.  First of all you go to the internet and research the product or service. You may peruse reviews, scan the website, and feel comfortable with a decision to buy or pass on the opportunity. However, but consider what happens when you ask a friend that has actually used a product or service that you may be considering.   If they have had a positive experience, the prospective customer is more likely to accept their friend’s recommendation than trust a third party review. 

The same buying process exists with individual business travelers and group and meeting clients. The most common way of choosing a property is to ask others.  The individual traveler may ask their contact at the business they are going to visit where they should stay.  The meeting or group planner may ask other planners their experiences with a hotel.   It is simply more efficient to pursue the recommendation of others like them than conduct extensive and time consuming research. 

Even if they put out RFPS, they are more inclined to favor the hotel that has been recommended to them.  The reliability factor is huge when budgets are limited and the planner Is under scrutiny to budget wisely and produce productive meetings. 

When you evaluate the contact to closing ratios of most sales people using other methods such as cold calling it is pretty low in this economy.  That’s an incredible amount of time spent for diminishing returns. 

The call to closing ratio for a referral or testimonial is much higher.  See the statistics from a company case study on the increase in sales productivity. uRefer provides an online platform that tracks and rewards referrals.  These are the results from an anonymous client. 

Real client data for a customer that agreed to participate in a referral program (customer name protected):

  • 5-15% of a customer base will agree to be signed up and participate
  • Of those that agree to participate, anywhere from 13-30% will make referrals
  • Each of those people will make between two and four referrals, depending on the strength of the product / service and the strength of the offer
  • Of those referrals, anywhere from 15-35% will be accepted 
  • Of the referrals that are accepted: 
  • 30-40% of referrals accepted online will buy
  • 50-60% of referrals accepted through offline cards will buy 
Did you read that – the call to closing ratio of those referrals made online is between 30% and 40%.  If the system is used to hand out offline referral cards, the contact to closing rate jumps to between 50% and 60%! What other sales method delivers a close ratio of 50%?

This is enhanced in the uRefer system by the ability to reward the referee with a system of rewards.  The reward can be as simple as a Thank You note or a donation to their favorite charity in the case of ‘gifts’ being discouraged or banned by the referrer’s organizations.

The lead referred to the hotel by a satisfied customer is more likely to have credibility more powerful than any review from a stranger on a review site. 

Join us for a complimentary webinar on the Power of Referrals September 30 at 1pm EDT, Noon CDT, 11am MDT and 10am PDT! Click this link to register. http://tinyurl.com/253n6tq



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.net. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.  Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com.
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Discover how your sales team can generate more productive leads with the URefer system. Our referral program software makes it easy to generate more referrals. www.urefer.com  For more information or a free demo contact Molly McFarland at uRefer, MMcFarland@urefer.com or at 734.585.5684.

 
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: Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers for 2011 Webinar / September 2010
Niches Selling - Locating Lucrative Business that Few Hotels Pursue / August 2010
The Hotel General Manager - The Complexity of Leadership in a 2.0 World / Carol Verret / August 2010
Why Company Team Meetings are Critical This Year / Carol Verret / July 2010
Market Analysis and Sales Office Audit - Look Beyond the Obvious in Turnaround Situations / Carol Verret / June 2010
Dynamic versus Static Hotel Reviews: The Immediacy of Social Network Reviews / Carol Verret / May 2010
2.0 Your Hotel Sales Processes by Market Segment Series – The Corporate Market Webinar April 16 / Carol Verret / April 2010
Marketing to Changes in Consumer Behavior - It's No Longer 'One Size Fits All' / Carol Verret / March 2010
Outrageous! The Cure for the Post Recession Blues! / Carol Verret / March 2010
The Reset Button --- Innovation for Hotel Sales in 2010! / Carol Verret / February 2010
4 Changes in Consumer Behavior & The Revenue Opportunities for Hotels / Carol Verret / January 2010
Recession Lessons:  What Will Drive Hotel Sales & Revenue Management in 2010 / December 2009
4 Post Recession Shifts  in the Hotel Sales Environment; What You Need to Know for Success in 2010 / Carol Verret
The 20% Solution to Increased Market Share and Revenue / Carol Verret / October 2009
Managing Revenue by Market Segment – The Recovery Challenge for Sales and Revenue Managers / Carol Verret / September 2009
The Mindset of the 2010 Business Plan – Survival Mode or Recovery Mode? / Carol Verret / August 2009
The New 'Tipping Points' in the Planners Decision Process - You May be Surprised! / Carol Verret / June 2009
The New Normal – What Does the New Normal Look Like for Hotel Sales and Revenue Management / Carol Verret / May 2009
The New Hotel Sales and Revenue Management Metrics - This Could save Your Job! / Carol Verret / April 2009
Back to Hotel Sales Basics: The Basics Have Changed Big Time!  / Carol verret / March 2009
Stimulate Hotel Revenue -- The Economic Stimulus Package Opportunities / Carol Verret / February 2009
2009 The Game Changer for Innovation in Hotel Sales Processes / Carol Verret / January 2009
Contrarian Strategies for Hotel Sales Departments to Thrive in an Economic Downturn / Carol Verret / December 2008
‘Selling Into’ a Bad Economy – Overcoming Fear and Stealing Share / Carol Verret / October 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – Accelerated Sense of Urgency/ Carol Verret / September 2008
The Challenges and Opportunities for Independent and Boutique Hotels in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / August 2008
The Science of Hotel Sales* – The Benchmarking Imperative for Success in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / July 2008
Marketing & Revenue Management Plan 2009 - Succeeding in a Difficult Year / Carol Verret / July 2008
Tactics to Drive Business in a ‘Not So Hot’ Summer / Carol Verret / May 2008
All Marketers Are Liars - Web 2.0 Strategies for Hotel Sales and Marketing / Carol Verret / April 2008
Contingency Hotel Revenue Management Strategies 'I Will not Cut Prices'/ Carol Verret / March 2008
The Contingency Hotel Sales and Marketing Plan - Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst / Carol Verret / February 2008
Change is the Buzz – Rebooting Hotel Sales Activity at the Property Level / Carol Verret / January 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers Ramped Up for 2008 / Carol Verret / November 2007
Five Tips to Improving Hotel Customer Service with User Generated Reviews / Carol Verret / October 2007
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – A Seismic Shift in 2008! / Carol Verret / September 2007
GMs – How User Generated Review Sites Can Make you a Better Manager! / Carol Verret / September 2007
Web 2.0 and Hotel Sales Strategies for '08; What Are Your Clients Saying About You? / Carol Verret / August 2007
“It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow” -- Five Revenue Management Tactics for Independent Hotels / Carol Verett / June 2007
Developing New Hotel Business Using Client DNA / Carol Verret / May 2007
The Jigsaw Puzzle – The Fit of the Revenue Management and Internet Group Sales Pieces / Carol Verret / April 2007
Client DNA - The Gold Standard for New Business Development / Carol Verret / March 2007
The 'I Hate Cold Calls' Web Cast - The New Paradigm of Sales! / Carol Verret / February 2007
Hate Cold Calls? - Discover the New Paradigm of Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2007
Issues in Hotel Sales Training - Metics for Success / Carol Verret / December 2006
Is the Party Over?; The Challenge of Decreasing Hotel Room Demand / Carol Verret / October 2006
The Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People Ramp Up for 2006! / Carol Verret / September 2006
Identifying the WIIFM Factor – The Essential of Hotel Sales Success / Carol Verret / August 2006
Revenue Management for Hotel GMs – What You Don’t Know Can Jump Up and Bite You!/ Carol Verret / July 2006
Feeding the Revenue Elephant; Hotel Revenue Management / Summer 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Identifying the Touch Points in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / May 2006
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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