Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
Habits of Highly Successful
Hotel Sales People
by Carol Verret, September 2005

Why do so many hotel sales people fail or fail to live up to expectations?  You know how it goes – a bright person interviews for the job, has a great smile, been ‘successful’ in other sales positions (always ask for numbers – don’t take their word for it) and at the end of ninety days hasn’t produced very much. 

What is the ‘tipping point’ – that thing or series of things thing that makes one person successful and another less so?   When both individuals have been trained in the same manner and have the same skill sets, why does one sales person excel and another languish in mediocrity?  What makes the difference between ‘average’ and ‘awesome’?

There are sales people who come to the industry with no previous experience in hotels and are highly successful – outperforming their colleagues who may have been in hotel sales for many years.   Usually but not always these are people who have come from commission sales of some sort.  It is not necessarily the fact that other industries have better training programs (although many industries do a better and far more consistent job than much of the hotel industry), it is not just the sense of urgency that comes with having to create an income every month, it also has to do with the habits that they must develop in order to successfully pay the mortgage and eat.    

This is not about being organized; I would rather have a top producer with a messy desk who is prioritized.   This is not about time management, although that does play a part – it is about habits, daily disciplines that produce success.   Like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, exercising, it is the habits that one forms about meeting goals, making calls, etc that distinguishes them from the others.  I have known sales people who were not the typical ‘hot shots’ succeed because they worked their plan every day without fail.

What are these habits that make ‘awesome’ instead of ‘average’?

Daily Disciplines -- Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time.  Successful sales people take their goals, revenue, prospecting, calls etc. and break them down into monthly, weekly, daily activities.  They have a good idea of their call to closing ratio, that is, how many calls, telephone or e-contacts, they need to make to close a contract.  They know how many prospects they need to locate in a day and a week to meet their prospecting goals.  They practice ‘daily disciplines’ every day.
Prioritize Activities.   Not all activities, calls, traces, etc, are created equal.  Prioritized sales people call on those prospects most likely to produce revenue before they do the trace calls to say ‘hello’ to existing accounts – they prioritize their calls.  They will cancel the Chamber of Commerce lunch if a prospective client wants to see them.  They make time to prospect and pre-approach qualify prospects on the Internet AND they do that in non-prime sales time.
Think Revenue not Just Rooms.  The successful sales person pays attention to the property’s revenue management strategy and understands that the name of the game is revenue – not rooms.   The revenue management strategy informs their prospecting activities.  For example, in the SMERF market, the group of wine enthusiasts is more likely to pay the rate than the local scrap bookers club.  
Whales and Tunas.   Successful sales people know that they need a mix of both large and small groups and accounts to meet their revenue goals and to balance out the group calendar.  Some sales people only want to pursue the big ‘glamour’ accounts.  The problem with that is it takes much longer to land them than the smaller, less flashy, tunas.  If the whale doesn’t close within the timeframe of the sales persons goals, the sales person may not be there when the whale account eventually signs the contract.
‘Intra-preneurs’.  Successful sales people treat their market or their territory like a business – their business.  They function as intraprenuers within the organization.  That makes them think creative and allows them to think out of the box in addressing issues within the organizations on their client’s behalf.
Personal (Brutally Honest) SWOT Analysis.   Successful sales people evaluate their strengths in order to leverage it in to more business and maybe even a better position for themselves –don’t forget the WIIFM factor! They are also honest about the areas where they could use some training and/or support and actively ask for it or seek out opportunities to get the training they need.  They seek out opportunities in their market area and never underestimate the potential threats of competitors.  
Sense of Urgency.  Successful sales people have a sense of urgency about working their plan because they know that if they fall too far behind it will be very difficult to catch up.  They stay late when they have to and ask to leave early when they are caught up.  Their sense of urgency is focused and directed not just a sense of urgency about activity, any activity.  They choose their association memberships and functions carefully so that they only participate in those likely to be a source of business. 
These are some of the habits that distinguish the ‘awesome’ sales person from the ‘average’ one – the super achiever from the ones that fail to meet expectations.   There are sets of these habits that accrue to every management position in the hotel – the ‘daily disciplines’ that separate the great managers from the mediocre.  

(I would like to acknowledge Lizz Chambers and Amy Walker of Newport Hospitality Group who came up with the phrase from Average to Awesome for their annual meeting at which I am speaking and their permission to use it in this article).

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 abut the company click on To contact Carol, send her an email at or call phone (303) 618-4065.

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

Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
Web Site:
Also See: 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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