Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
Hotel Directors of Sales - 
The Qualities for 
Leadership and Success

Carol Verret / December 2004
December 2004

Business travel is projected to increase by 3.6% in 2004 and Internet bookings have risen by over 30%. How much has the production of the sales department increased? Given these statistics, many conventional (as opposed to convention) hotels have downgraded the role of sales and by extension, the role of the DOS.

This is unfortunate because the role of the Director of Sales is one of not only driving the generation of revenue but of leadership both in the sales department and within the rest of the operation. It is a critical position in every hotel whether it is a small, boutique hotel or a large group house.

In Australia, they have a saying -- the person in the middle is the "meat in the sandwich." If ever a description applied, it is the perfect description of the role of the DOS! Whether it is a one-person band as in a small hotel or the conductor of the symphony as in a large, convention hotel, it is a position that stands both between and for the sales staff and the rest of the operation.

We often promote a super sales person to the DOS position without taking into consideration that a "super doer" does not always make for a good supervisor. We also promote without taking into consideration leadership and diplomacy skills. This person must also have proven sales skills so that they have credibility as a mentor and coach to the sales staff. If the DOS wasn't trained well, the sales staff will not have a resource for advice on handling situations and accounts.

What then are the things to look for in an effective Director of Sales and how to ensure that what's on the resume is backed up in fact?

Sales Skills. The most obvious question, (and I really hate repeating myself), is can this person sell you? This is the visceral, gut reaction -- if you were one of your clients, would you buy from this person? Do they use their sales skills in the interview process -- do they qualify what the position entails, do they try to close you!? Do they negotiate benefits and salary indicating that they will negotiate the best deal for the hotel with clients? Don't make the mistake of asking two questions, spending an hour talking about yourself and thinking it was a terrific interview.

Coaching Skills. This is a hard one to pin down. Coaching is a skill that can be demonstrated but difficult to describe. Ask for an example of a coaching situation in which they were engaged with a staff member, how they approached it and the outcome. Bear in mind that coaching is related to but not totally encompassed by advising on a specific situation. Coaching skills can be measured, for example, when the candidate has hired a sales person with little experience in a market or the industry but was hired because they exhibited certain qualities that are intrinsic to success. The coaching comes in with training them to adapt to the situation. Ask for a reference to a former staff member -- there is nothing like listening to someone give a reference for a former boss.

Leadership Skills. Do they model behavior -- do they exhibit the same level of excellence from themselves as they expect from their staff in terms of work habits, relationships with other staff members, etc.? Conflict management and resolution skills are another important element of leadership. The ability to deliver bad news in an unambivalent but supportive manner. These are all hard to measure in an interview process. Ask for references to former associates from other departments who worked with them in the past. (Leadership and Managing Conflict is an entire training seminar)Ask them if they have attended a program on leadership skills.

Sales Philosophy. How do they approach sales -- what is their focus and philosophy on call activity, reporting procedures, cold calls versus using internet related skills and technology? Does that philosophy mesh with you and the company's philosophy? Do they hire people who will complement their goals or people who will be no threat to them? I remember taking on a new sales department as a DOS and, after conducting personal interviews with the staff, calling a sales meeting in which I indicated that I was disappointed in each of them because none of them had indicated that they wanted my job. How would I ever be able to move on to bigger and better things if I had no one to train to come up behind me? A good DOS encourages their staff to grow and develop both personally and professionally and provides the tools so that they can accomplish their goals.

A good Director of Sales welcomes accountability because they know that they and their department have exceeded expectations. They understand that the ultimate accountability for the sales effort lies with the DOS and they make no excuses -- they just get it done!

CVCT, Carol Verret Consulting and Training, offers consulting and seminars on incorporating and using e-tools to enhance productivity and functionality as well as revenue management and customer service. Our associate, Tony D'Angelo, specializes in HR consulting and seminars. Contact Carol at [email protected] and log onto the company web site The company can be reached by phone at (303) 618-4065. Log on for info about live web casts and online training modules that also address these issues.

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004

Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
ca[email protected]
Web Site:
Email: [email protected]
Also See: 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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