Prepare, prepare, simultaneously one of my favorite hymns and sales concepts!
- The lyrics in the hymn are spiritually-sage advise and the music is catchy – kinda like an earworm (the choir sang it in church on Sunday as we are preparing for Lent and Easter). As these lyrics note, we need to prepare the way and ‘make straight His path’.
- The sales concept is professionally-sage advise and something that should keep us all on our toes. In sales, we do the same thing – we try to map out a straight path to sales success. (A little prayer never hurts the process.)
So, let’s explore the sales path…. leaving the spiritual path to your personal agendas.
At the start of any journey, you must prepare. This means:
- Setting the stage for success by walking-the-walk and talking-the-talk. Are you physically and mentally ready to make sales calls and look for business? Go back and read the blog I wrote back in 2018 Happy New Year! Set Your Goals High! In that blog are many points to make sure you are set up for success! These tips include everything from the way you prepare your professional look to setting the stage in your office and hotel.
- Do you know your hotel? Do you know, and have you practiced your “elevator pitch“? Do you feel comfortable walking in to a potential customer’s office and talking about your hotel and building a relationship? If not, click on these links and ‘prepare, prepare’.
- Are you comfortable selling your amenities? Do you have your ‘if this then that‘ cheat sheet at your fingertips? If not, why not? Click on these links for tips and reminders on how to do these tasks.
Now that you are physically prepared to make sales calls, where are you going to start?
- Prospecting. Do you have a list of businesses within 1-, 3-, and 5- miles from your hotel? Have you looked at historical performance to see if these companies are using your hotel? If not, run those performance reports and put hotels who have fallen out of love with your hotel at the top.
- Mapping a route. Go to Google Maps and plot businesses within your geographic proximity to the hotel. For those hotels who fall mid-way between you and a competitor, come up with a plan to sway them your direction. Are the driving routes more direct and less congested? Is there construction or other impediments that would make travel to and from the hotel inconvenient? You might examine all the why’s that your customers should choose your hotel.
- Directories and lists. Using local directories and lists is a great way to find new customers. If you subscribe to Hoovers or Hotelligence you also can review the company stats and find contact information. If not, try Manta – this platform is a less sophisticated directory than Hoovers – but it is free.
- Networking. Attend Business After Hours meetings, join committees or boards for Chamber and CVB organizations. Networking at social events is a great way to make sales calls…. and a great way to meet planners instead of gatekeepers (although Gatekeepers are also important).
- Past business reports. Look at the next 90-days LAST YEAR. For example, you can run February, March, and April month end 2022 production reports with details (or by rate code) and see who was in your hotel this time last year. This is a great way to make a sales calls – you can find groups or committees that stayed in the past and prospect them to see if are coming back this year for the same type of meeting/event!
- Scouting your competition. Driving competitive hotels and looking for reader boards or logoed vehicles in their parking lots is also a good way to prospect. Take photos of cars with company identifiers and then come back to your hotel and start dialing for dollars! “I noticed that a group from your company is currently staying at the ABC Hotel next door to our hotel. I’d love to talk about your company’s travel plans and see if we could be competitive.”
Don’t make excuses.
- Block time on your calendar and then get in your car and go. Don’t procrastinate, don’t be distracted…. as long as the hotel is covered and there is no emergency, they will survive your absence. What they might not survive is the fact that you don’t have business to service in the future.
- It takes weeks (or longer) to try to lure a new company or group to book. You need to have a strategic plan on how you will make this happen. If you don’t giddy up and go – then you rely on your customer to pick up the phone and hope they don’t call the hotel next door. There is no margin for error when it comes to booking new business.
Prepare, prepare - only half the battle!
Preparation doesn’t have to be an arduous task, it just needs to be done.
It is the last day of January today and the first day of the rest of the year. Let’s do it!
Happy preparing! Happy getting on with it!
P.S. – Did you know that words that are “purple” within the text of my blogs are links to more information? Try clicking on one (or two, or all of them).