Building relationships is the cornerstone to hotel sales… it is what separates us from those hotel properties who just expect business to fall in their laps because of their name, location, brand, or condition. I have often touted the task of building relationships with our customers as the number one strategy that should be in our arsenal of sales tools and should be the the key to our success. People do business with people they know and like! Do your customers like you? Do they know you? Do they feel confident in your relationship and trust that you won’t let them down?
In this current environment, the big question mark facing all of us in hotel sales is, do we just sit around and wait out this time, or do we somehow try to engage with customers to keep our names top of mind without having a negative impact on our brand and our reputations?
When is it appropriate to change the tone of our sales calls
from caring and concern to sales?
In past blogs, telephone conversations, and emails I have suggested that the progression of sales in the “new normal” follows the Care–Compassion–Hospitality format. While I think this is still the way to go with our existing customer base, these three metrics can also be the foundation for building relationships with new customers too. Showing our authenticity and humanity to potential new customers gives them insight to the type of salesperson we are, and the quality of service we will provide. If we lead with the strong desire to know our customers, have genuine interaction with them, and learn what makes a difference to them and their company, then we have accomplished a great feat. Suddenly we are getting to know more about customers than ever before! We are talking to them while they sit at their dining room table, in their home office, or even from their patio… we get insight into their personal lives and what makes them tick. Thanks to Zoom, WebEx and Facetime we can see that they have pets, that they have families, that they have hobbies, what their design aesthetic is, and what they look like! From a sales perspective, we are now managing customer relationships on a more personal level. Care, Compassion, and Hospitality can be integrated into all aspects of our prospecting and sales calls when we truly are face-to-face.
Let’s go back to my previous blogs and talk about face-to-face, voice-to-voice, and computer-to-computer sales calls. Are you just a voice hiding behind your smart phone? Did you ever set yourself up to make digital sales calls using your webcam? Have you tried to reach out to potential meeting planners while sitting inside your meeting room that has been set up for social distancing? Did you ever create a 15-, 30-, or 60- second video of yourself introducing your product (elevator pitch)? Are you sending these videos embedded in your emails so your customers can see you and your product? If you haven’t done this, why not?
Example of a 60-Second Elevator Pitch
All along, we have been doing a delicate dance of sharing information digitally and simply maintaining a bit of human connection. Now is the time to dial it up and give our customers a sense of the “new normal”. How are you going to ensure them that they can safely meet and stay in your hotel? You need to line your ducks in a row…. prepare your collateral, tailor your selling scripts, modify your letters and contracts, and put together a digital portfolio of photos and videos that can be used on virtual sales calls. Don’t wait a minute longer. Step up to the plate and take a swing.