Dissecting a sales call is easy: Actually performing the dissection is the hard part. My advice: First, use your head, then follow your heart, listen to your gut, and lastly, move your feet! Engaging all parts of your anatomy will not only sharpen your sales skills, but will emphasize your humanity!
You all will (I’m sure) remember the song we sang as children “the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone…” The Skeleton Song is a reminder that all our bones (and body parts) are connected and provide a framework for all our organs. The same thing with the anatomy of a sales call. Every step you take during the sales call is connected.
Let’s explore the steps: (Click on the pictures below to link to another blog on the same topic!)
Use your Head
Using your head (brain-power) is an obvious first step. Doing research about the customer you are about to meet is imperative. You must know who the customer is, what the customer does, and a bit about the history of the customer.
How you do that involves quite a bit of research. Company Websites, Google, Wikipedia, Manta, Hoovers, Chamber of Commerce Lists/Guides, your local newspaper, and other types of guides and resources can provide you with a backbone of data.
Look at current events and announcements, and give yourself a 'foot in the door'. If there has been a major announcement or achievement by this customer, then you have the perfect "in" - congratulate them, recognize the company, and let them know you are aware of their accomplishments.
Know who your contact is and what they do for the company. Reviewing the company website and reading the "About" section, and the "Team" section typically gives you insight. Many websites have pictures and details about the individuals so that you can become familiar with their background, schooling, and experience. Who knows, you may find common ground before you even say your first hello!
Follow your Heart
Following your heart may seem odd during a sales call - but believe me, if your heart is not in it to win it the customer will know! You must have the drive and the passion to want to succeed and this comes from your heart. Doing a good job means loving what you do and that will easily convince the customer that you want their business and will work hard to earn it. Are you a newbie sales person who is gung-ho on achieving fast results? Then you know what it means to engage your heart in your new job. Are you a seasoned sales person who (maybe) is experiencing a lull in your giddy up and go? Now is the time to renew your passion for your job by setting new goals for success. Following your heart may mean that you need to reacquaint yourself with your Sales & Marketing Plan and refresh your memory on sales strategies. Who should you target? Why do you want their business?
Listen to your Gut
Not all business is good business. Sometimes an account is not a good fit for your business. After all your research you may discover that moving on to something else might be a a better option. Not only will your "gut" tell you what a company is wrong for your hotel, but it will also tell you when it is right! Grab on to the positive energy that the right company radiates and take it to the next level! You may also discover that even if a piece of business isn't a good fit for your company "right now" or as being described by the customer, could become something that you could negotiate into being a good piece of business. Read my previous blog "Is All Business Good Business?". I think you will find that with a bit of salesmanship you might be able to create a good win for both hotels. Think "seasonal rates" or "black out dates".
Move your Feet
None of the above will mean anything unless you stand up and move your feet. You must get out of the hotel and knock on doors. Arm yourself with with the knowledge, desire, and instinct to find and meet with customers. Getting out into the market has great rewards. One - you get to leave the hotel and refresh your brain! You get to meet new people. You get to put your face in the sun! Two - you get to know your customers on their turf. You get to see the likes and passions. You get to meet new people! Sales people are lucky people. They are not trapped behind a desk or tied to a phone. They have the ability to use their personalities, humor, and demeanor and get out of the hotel and look for business.
Take advantage of all parts of your mind and body and utilize your anatomy to be a great sales person.
Happy mind, body, and soul searching for business!