In the “new normal” our sales techniques will need to be modified. In the short-term, we need to refresh our “menus” and put ourselves on a “low-calorie diet of healthy messaging”.
Hotel sales people seem to be struggling to understand the fine line between communication and active sales. While we have the “old normal” ingredients on our shelves, equipment we need to produce the entree in our sales pantries, and the passion and skill needed to make sure our products appeal to many different tastes, it’s hard to figure out how to present and serve the dish so that it is crafted for the “new normal”. In my opinion, it would be in poor taste to hit the streets hard with a calorie-laden entree, so coming up with a tasty, intermezzo-selling style might be the key to the perfect meal.
The problem is that we all just need to figure out how we are going to serve our guests in today's "new normal".
Recipe for Selling In the New Normal (Serves Many)
2 Cups Carefully Cleaned Hotel Product
1 Quart of Hospitality
1 TBSP Hotel Facts
1 TSP Elevator Pitch
Add Compassion to taste
- Using your digital technology, first reach out to all your existing customers to check on how they are doing.
- Make sure that you are compassionate and caring in your messages and ensure them that you are there to help when needed.
- Let them know that your hotel is taking all the necessary cleanliness precautions to ensure their guests are protected.
- Describe the new protocols that need to be followed when they arrive. The “new normal” will include social distancing, masks, limited food and beverage, limited use of hotel amenities, and other specific information from your state and local jurisdictions.
- Remember, care, compassion and hospitality come first! Selling second.
- Follow up with any soft sell information that the client may need.
All ingredients are good for heart health. Consume in any quantity for optimum results.
So how do we really achieve caring, compassionate sales in this "new normal" ?
Our sales techniques and strategies are going to have to change given that the pandemic does not appear to be ending anytime soon. We must adapt to our state and local jurisdictions, recommendations from the CDC and WHO, and from our governments first, and brand requirements, standards and protocols second. The key here is that we must play by the rules! In order to do that – we must change our methods, adapt our collateral, and focus on reaching out to customers without barraging them with hard sales.
Here are a few ideas on how our Chefs du Cuisines can rework their sales menu:
- Reread your 30- and 60- second elevator pitches:
- Make modifications in your cadence and tone.
- Reorder your introduction if needed, to allow for care and compassion first! Hospitality second! And, Soft Selling last!
- Prepare and audit your Top Account Lists, Prospecting Lists, and Share Shifting Lists:
- Explore different markets in your area. Everyone is looking to hospitals and traveling nurses.
- What other essential types of business are in your area? Military? Government? Insurance? Construction? Trucking? Manufacturing?
- Look for customers close to home. A recent travel poll indicates that 81% of those planning to travel domestically this summer have either cancelled or postponed a trip. And only 11% are not planning to change their plans. Domestic flights are down by as much as 90%. As the country begins to open up, drive destinations and attractions that require short-term decision-making and flexibility for customers have the best chance to rebound. The USTA says road trips will be our first travel and that supporting local mindset will be prevalent. Also, visitors tend to go places where they can control their own personal space.
- Have any of your local businesses changed how they operate (i.e. were they making one product before and now making another?).
- Be flexible on who you are calling on and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- Work with your GM to adjust your weekly selling goals (WSR). Keep in mind, it might mean increasing some categories! You are going to have to work a lot harder for less business AND everyone is going to be after the same accounts.
- Set realistic goals based on your current schedule.
- Set realistic targets for production. Focus on pushing yourself!
- Look at your current sales collateral, flyers, and brochures and adapt them to reflect social distancing, cleanliness, and how your hotel looks today:
- Retool and reword these collateral pieces to be relevant for “new normal” selling.
- Include any cleanliness standards and protocols.
- How strong is your social media right now? Are you complementing what you are doing in your market with social posts? For example, if you are calling on insurance companies, are you posting why your hotel works for insurance company clients on social media? Keep your social media company informed so they can support your sales efforts.
- Shift ad spending to your digital platforms, particularly social. We need to be prepared for the resurgence of consumer interest and demand.
- In order to be well positioned we need to have a plan in place now or we risk losing to competitors scrambling for market share.
- It is essential to any hotel looking to have a fighting chance amongst competitors that they are top of mind and top of page when a consumer is searching. Socials have all seen a surge in usage, and while that trend will eventually dip, it will not evaporate. Advertising on these platforms allows the marketer to set all aspects of their campaign so that it can be launched in a ready, set, wait approach. And, when the time is right, click and go.
- Make sure you know and can communicate your local and state (and brand) protocols. Keep digital copies of guidelines, mandates, and communications at your fingertips. Print if necessary.
- Do you require masks in public spaces? If so, do you have inventory in place for those who do not have them?
- Is your breakfast buffet closed? Do you offer Grab and Go? Are you offering coupons from local breakfast restaurant options? Redefine offerings so that travelers know what to expect.
- Are all your property amenities open? Pool? Spa? Exercise Room? Business Center? Outdoor Recreation? Describe any new procedures and protocols for use.
- Reevaluate your meeting room capacities and food/beverage options:
- Create new packages that focus on how the meeting room can be set.
- Set up the room showing new social-distancing and take photos.
- Give meeting/event planners food/beverage ideas and options for their attendees.
- Talk about virtual options for meetings using your hotel room and equipment.
- Evaluate your price points for meeting room rental charges.
Happy finding new recipes for success!