It never hurts to return to basics and review the four steps of sales & service. These four magical steps are applicable not only at your points-of-sale (front office and sales department) but also as you talk with the customer. These 4 steps are quite versatile in every scenario concerning you and your customers. Skills in these areas will pay off in increased customer service, increased top line for the hotel, and greater repeat business. Can any of us in today’s competitive market afford NOT to apply the 4 steps of sales?
1. OPENING: Here you establish the name of your hotel and your name. A nice, clear tone of voice is used and a smile in the voice is always heard – and conveys the largest message you can send – you are important to me and I am a person you will like and want to get to know. Try it – it works.
2. PROBING: Discovering everything pertinent to the customer’s hotel needs is your second step. Ask the customer his/her name so you can use it immediately and throughout the discussion. It is still considered proper to call the customer by the last name preceded by Mr. or Mrs./Ms. until permission is given by the customer to use the first name. Ask if the customer has stayed with you before and what brings the customer to your hotel and town. Discover where the caller heard about your hotel. All this leads to EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE. You now know more about this customer than when you started and will be able to share with this customer plenty of information about your hotel. Be sure to target this customer’s specific and industry needs.
3. SUPPORTING: Now it is time to share with your customer your hotel’s features and benefits. Make sure that you slant this information toward this customer’s profile – corporate or leisure. This allows you to talk TO the customer and not AT the customer. Your customer will notice and be very grateful for this. Also, offer your customer a couple of price points – this helps off set price resistance by allowing your customer to understand that you have offered different price points for his/her choosing. We all like choices!
4. CLOSING: Ask your customer for the reservation. Make this a question such as, “May I hold these arrangements for you?” If your customer hesitates, then offer an objection statement – such as, “May I suggest we place a courtesy hold on this for you while you decide? With a courtesy hold you will at least have a room secured.” Then ask again for the sale, “So, may I hold this for you?” It will be hard for your customer to resist your thoughtfulness and service level. After your caller agrees, repeat the arrangements to include the dates, the rate, and the confirmation number, then close the call using the caller’s name.
The four steps of sales are built to be delivered IN ORDER – one step builds into the next step. Stay in order and your selling and servicing skills will grow stronger and stronger with use.