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Want to achieve better results?



Proesce Hospitality & Tourism Marketing. Article on how to improve better sales results in the hospitality industry

Proesce Hospitality & Tourism Marketing. Article on how to improve better sales results in the hospitality industry



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Want to achieve better results? Want to achieve better results? Document Transcript

  • Want To Achieve Better Results? Select The Best Sales People Clive G Holt Organisation & Leadership Development Consultant In recent times hotel operators and owners have needed to revise their business strategies in order that they may achieve optimum operational performances across the business and leisure sectors that are measured through traditional success indicators of occupancy, average rate, RevPar, MPI and RGI. Not so long ago it was the ‘order taking’ era. A property’s success had in many instances little to do with the quality and expertise of its sales people, despite accomplished sales individuals being employed. Hotels across all service categories were performing to desirable expectations regardless of service and product issues, and in some cases poor and often inconsistent work practices being adopted in the sales office. Soon we will be embarking on our second some say our third year of economic down turn. Over this extended period of economic uncertainty, the dynamics of supply and demand has changed many times, and will continue to change for the foreseeable future as business strategies for both the buyer and seller remain in a state of flux. Today’s buyers are professional and skilful, and know that they can demand more as part of their purchasing process. As organisations have been forced to revise their business models, resulting in internal company purchasing policies being the focus of attention, it is no surprise that buyer needs, values and expectations have seen radical change resulting in our sales people being confronted with an ever increasing number of challenges that they need to overcome before the sale is finally agreed.
  • So when we know that such changes have taken place, why be complacent with short term results and tolerate a work culture that would not be acceptable in other departments? Periods of economic downturn are a perfect time to make organisational and strategic changes that once would not have been considered, and begin leveraging customer opportunity and build a sales force for the future from the roots up. Future business performance and the vitality of the sales function will only be achieved by recruiting and developing sales people with strong sales skills, excellent customer awareness and responsiveness, and a confident and proactive ‘can do’ approach. In order to protect your business future and investment, the key areas to explore if you wish to improve the operational standards toward selling, build strong customer relationships and secure future performance are: Assess and recruit with a deliberate objective. It is extremely unlikely that a hotel executive would employee a new sales person who is unqualified for the role or one who would be ineffective. However, by not fully recognising what it takes to make a sales person effective, we can easily fall into the trap of hiring poorly. Those responsible for recruiting sales people need to appreciate two key concepts: 1. Sales is a professional skill, not a personality trait. How many times have we recruited personable and attractive people only to discover that they are not effective in the sales transaction business? We later discover on close examination, tentative bookings rarely become converted, and customer complaints often resulting in an unnecessary emotional response. Defined skill sets are required in any other profession and in most departments within the hotel in order that the employee can demonstrate that they can perform their job to the expectation level of the business and the customer. When recruiting for a new sales person rarely do we ask for a professional sales profile assessment to be completed by the candidate as part of our selection and recruitment process. If such a procedure were to be introduced we would have at our disposal a clearer overview as to whether the candidate under consideration is able to demonstrate they possess those all important skill sets and competencies, and to what level of accomplishment, that we most want to see in our chosen candidate. Further the process would reduce the risk of recruiting the wrong person which can eventually impact on the hotel’s external sales function being undermined. Since most owners do not have perfect properties, expert sales skills can overcome the challenges of product deficiency, rate structure and even market conditions. Even more critical is a sales person who possesses the correct blend of skills that generates business, deals with objections, and has a combined level of commercial awareness, knowhow and personal integrity that will underpin the process of building and managing customer relationships and the ability to hold onto lucrative client accounts. 2. Administrative skills have a direct link to performance. The interview process can uncover how professional, organised and effective a potential sales team member will be. Statements prepared by the candidate concerning your hotel and business that are written prior to interview, supported by well founded questions and an attentive and responsive manner, demonstrates how well they may represent your hotel in the future when in front of a client. Page | 2
  • Set up a system that focuses attention on results, performance and accountability. Understanding the meaning of your brand, business ambitions, goals and keeping score of Page | 3 performance is important. Marketing plans, the blue print and pathway that leads towards achieving your business ambitions is also the same document that forms the basis for determining and setting future sales goals. Sales performance and accountability finds its origins in those systems and procedures that are designed to control and assure employee productivity. To maximise a sales person’s performance and that of the team requires specific and meaningful goals to be clearly defined, which are broken down into monthly and weekly ‘bite size’ objectives. Supported by a culture where actual performance is measured against agreed targets is important if work place performance is to be achieved. Goal setting should include activities that reflect new bookings produced and consumed business, new accounts opened and client familiarisation visits. Strategies and targets for the team should also be put in place aimed at reducing and overcoming levels of lost business, the result of particular unresolved issues known by the hotel. Continual monitoring of performance and levels of achievement will foster attainment and will quickly identify nonperformers. The importance of being focused. So often we hear that our sales people do not have time to make sales calls. When we investigate such occurrences we discover that they attribute their lack of sales activity to dealing with operations, overseeing client billing, and involvement in guest service issues. Adopting a wider management and operational culture where sales is seen as a priority, and the achievement of business ambitions is mandatory, will direct employee attention both inside and outside the sales department to the importance of sales and business development. In smaller hotel operations where staffing levels are limited, sales people do handle such issues, but the outcome is that sales calls are not being carried out, and eventually at some point in the future result in the property failing to be competitive in the market place. As an owner of a property or manager interested in protecting your business and investment, ensure the basics are in place. Ensure your recruiting is robust, create a sales culture that fosters performance and introduce systems and reporting that requires employee accountability. Clive Holt is a strategist and experienced in national and international hospitality marketing and business regeneration. Clive Holt can be contacted: +44 (0) 1905 750 944.