|By David M. Brudney, ISHC February, 1984
Here are two of the questions I’m most frequently asked by owners and operators in the hospitality industry.
Exploding the Myth
First, let me explode that “myth”--if, in fact, it still exists. Major hotel chains, in particular, do not control the best sales talent in the industry. A great many talented salespeople pass through the chains leaving the ranks after only a few short years. Some move into operations in hopes of becoming general managers. But far too many leave for these all too familiar reasons:
Better Pay not the Answer
Did you notice that “compensation” was listed third as reason for good salespeople leaving? That was by design. Yes, of course, fair compensation will help you attract and keep good salespeople. But it is more important for you -- the owner and operator -- to create an atmosphere wherein your salespeople believe that you not only appreciate the efforts put forth ( by them), but you also understand those efforts and skills required to produce results. That can only come about through your regular involvement and participation in the sales program.
Effective sales management is one of the most important tools in our industry today. There must be a close bond, a “partnership,” between you and your sales staff. You must spend the time necessary to understand what it takes to produce positive results. If you do, and if you compensate your salespeople fairly, you will, in the long run, have helped yourself and your property immeasurably.
Good Candidates Are Everywhere
I’m amazed at how many good, hospitality - oriented salespeople are available today. I find them everywhere! Secretaries looking for an opportunity to prove their abilities, teachers disenchanted with their profession, mature housewives and mothers with outstanding volunteer and organizational experiences. I’ve seen bellman, room clerks, waiters and hostesses make significant contributions is hotel sales.
Look around your own communities. You might find a former hotel salesperson who got out of the business because he or she didn’t want to move (at that particular time in their careers).
You would be amazed, too, at some of the sales skills these people bring to the job. Skills such as prospecting, research, persuasiveness, overcoming objections and closing.
“Instead of ‘stealing’ sales talent from your competitor, do some prospecting on your own.”
I recommend that instead of ‘stealing’ or ‘pirating’ sales talent away from your nearest competitor, so dome prospecting on your own: in your property, amongst your customers and in you local community. I’ll deal with training and re-training programs for salespeople in future articles.
Keeping the Good Ones
you can’t “keep” good salespeople if they lose interest in their work, run out of challenges, are underpaid, unappreciated, or if your property fails to keep its commitments to service and facilities maintenance for the customers.
It’s also true that good salespeople will “outgrow” some properties, particularly, the small independents. No amount of recognition, understanding and compensation will keep some of them. But those cases are isolated. Most owners/operators can retain the services of the good ones if they follow these recommendations:
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with three decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Associates of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979.
David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com