Hotel sales people are supposed to close business not lose it, right? After 20 years in the mystery shopping business for hotel sales people, I can offer some insight into why we sometimes lose business:
1. RETURNING PHONE CALLS (emails) IN A TIMELY MANNER: The key word here is “timely”. A group sales call-back needs to be returned within 2-4 hours of receipt. If it is not, review, review, and review!
group sales call and it goes to voice messaging, rather than returning the call with name and number and a “returning your call” message — the skilled sales person will set the “next step” in the message, “When you call me back, if for some reason I’m not answering, will you give me a good time to reach you? (or will you call back to the desk agent and ask that they help us connect) Your business is very important to me — I want to make sure we connect.”
- BEING READY FOR BUSINESS AT ALL TIMES: If you are in the office and the telephone is ringing, answer it. The more skilled we are at putting aside our administrative work to take a customer as they come to us, the greater our chances of booking. When out on calls, of course, these calls will go to voice messaging — return them as quickly as possible upon return to the office.
- NOT IN A POSITION TO QUOTE RATES IN THE FIRST CONVERSATION: I do hear many sales people stating they need to check everything and call the caller back. This is “breaking the selling process” and can cost us business. Referring to number 3 above and be ready to quote rates — working with the management to make sure this can be done quickly and efficiently can close the gap on potential lost business. “Get ‘em while they’re hot!”
- FAILURE TO SET A FOLLOW UP DATE AND ADHERE TO IT: When in the first call, make sure you set a follow up date for their decision. Otherwise, “connecting” once again with this call could become a problem and stop the closing process.
- LEAVING TOWN FOR A CONFERENCE AND GROUP SALES CALLS ARE UNCOVERED: If the sales person is not going to be able to field calls from a distance, then a person needs to be assigned to that telephone’s voice messaging. Once again, 2-4 hours of receipt is the golden rule in group sales calls returned. Same with email — this has to be reassigned to someone to field and “work for group sales” if sales person is out of town and unable to pull messages for selling action.
Keep in mind always, if we don’t book this, our competition will. These are six areas for improvement if you think you have business slipping out of your hands. Review “lost business” each week during sales meetings, along with what was booked and number of calls made, etc. If you are writing contracts — this becomes very easy to manage — a lost business folder managed by month/year can give you a great deal of insight into what needs improvement.
Janis Mitchell, President
Hotel Shopping Network™