New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals:
|By David M. Brudney, ISHC, May 2007
Show me a successful, highly respected hospitality Sales professional and I’ll show you someone who has mastered the art of developing referrals.
No greater compliment can be paid to a hospitality Sales pro than to have a prospect call to book a piece of business because “John Jones (a client of the Sales pro) told me I should call you.”
Now keep in mind, referrals don’t just “happen”. They develop from a process that usually takes time.
Referrals have to be earned
Good hospitality Sales pros develop referrals by taking care of business first:
Exceed Client Expectations. After you’ve booked a group, do everything possible to see that your client’s expectations have been exceeded. How will you know that? The client will tell you. If the client doesn’t, you have to ask.
Personal Contact. Never let the client depart from your property without meeting personally, making sure the client has everything needed, and say “thank you” for the business. Post-convention or conference meetings don’t count. You must do it in person, one-on-one.
Follow Up. Send a hand-written personal note to the client to be received a day or two after the event. A phone call and/or personal Sales call to the client’s office within two weeks at which time you can ask about feedback and any success stories since the event. You can use that valuable time also to reconfirm a repeat booking (if applicable), in case you didn’t nail that down at the event’s conclusion.
Drilling into the Account. If you have not done so before, this is an excellent opportunity to “drill” into the account - - “up, down, and out”. Ask for the names of (and introductions to) other executives and event planners in or connected with that organization.
For example (up), perhaps the CEO or general manager serve as board members or site selection committees of national, regional or state associations and professional societies.Testimonials. Many clients - - typically upon being asked - - will write testimonial letters after a very successful event and/or when the Sales pro or the property staff exceeded the client’s expectations. Testimonials can be extremely useful tools when soliciting similar-type business.
But the best Sales pros are always on the lookout for those great referrals. Referrals represent instant credibility and value with the potential buyer.
Why are referrals so valuable? Because typically they come so unexpectedly. You didn’t have to expend the time, money nor effort to get the booking. No, the referral came because of the work you’ve done previously and because you earned it.
Timely referrals can lead to bookings when the Sales pro is having a slow (booking) month or quarter and is in need of making his/her numbers.
The very best time to ask
When is the best time to ask a satisfied client for a referral? At the very moment the satisfied client has given his/her thanks for a job well done.
“I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done”Hearing those words - - that’s when the very best Sales pros respond with:
“Thank you. You know, the best thanks of all would be to give me the names of 2-3 decision makers/planners so we could do the same good job for them!”In my four decades of experience in hospitality Sales, I have yet to come across a satisfied client that - - upon being asked to do so - - failed to supply a couple of names and contact info that led me to booking new business.
Never forget that planners talk to each other and they share the good and bad experiences.
Some satisfied clients will take ownership of the whole referral process. I’ve had satisfied clients make phone calls to prospective clients, give great testimonials, some have even arranged introductory lunch meetings. And insisted on picking up the tab, to boot!
Be sure and look for referral opportunities everywhere and anytime. I recommend one a month, 12 a year for new hospitality Sales professionals. If you can pick up 12 referrals a year, you are on your way to a long and successful career in hospitality Sales.
And don’t be surprised if a referral comes some day from one of your competitors who can’t accommodate and who holds you and your property in high regard.
What’s next? Sales Lesson #8: Dealing with today’s new meeting planner.
© Copyright 2007
|Also See||Relationship Building - New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #6 / David Brudney / April 2007|
|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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