Treasure Island’s author, Robert Louis Stevenson, once said that everyone sells for a living. From items to beliefs to our resume, selling an idea is a better move than simply telling or ordering something, and we do this every day. The paradox, however, is that while selling comes naturally to most human beings, many people still fear as a profession.
The hotel industry promises good incentives for people who can harness this ability. Because much of a hotel’s product is perishable—a room unsold tonight is a loss forever—high stakes and pressure are usually compensated very well.
Understand your product. Learn and master the property’s products inside and out. It helps if you have a background on operations particularly, rooms and F&B, as it will easier to answer specific concerns. It is likewise crucial to know something else beyond what you sell. Christine Urbanozo-Ibarreta, AVP for hotel sales and marketing, Resorts World Manila, advised to stay attuned on current events. Rose Libongco, former DOSM of top hotels like InterContinental Manila and Sofitel Philippine Plaza, proposed that sales and marketing staff must be grounded on humanities and management. These help you connect easily to the many people you meet every day and understand how big events and trends will affect your business.
Probe beyond Google. It takes more than search engines to know what your specific potential client needs. Beth Dar, DOSM of The Bayleaf Intramuros, emphasizes to her staff the need of knowing beforehand crucial facts: who the decision-maker is, competitors already catering to the client, and specific requirements. A sales team makes about eight to nine sales calls a day, and it will save both of you time when you avoid exploratory sales calls, she said.
Dress to be remembered. One of the goals in sales call is to leave a mark and be top-of-mind, said Urbanozo-Ibarreta. You can utilize the five senses to your advantage. Dress up well that clients will take you seriously; not too flashy outfit. Wear a distinct perfume that immediately informs clients of your presence.
Making a sale
Create a connection. The job has been stereotyped for people who are natural communicators, outgoing, and sociable. While clear communication of the product is essential, sellers must also know how to read a client’s personality and instantly connect with the potential customer. When connections are made, a good relationship and even friendship can begin.
Talk well, listen better. “We are more of a listener than a talker when selling,” said Margarita Munsayac, VP for sales and marketing, Blue Water Resorts chain. Let the client feel important by making the right eye contact and understanding where he is coming from. Urbanozo-Ibarreta said it best, “Kung nakipagusap ako sa tao, [siya] lang ang audience ko…ikaw ang pinakaimportanteng tao sa akin at this particular minute.” Though excellent communication skills is a requirement, a large part of selling and in general, marketing, will deal on planning and feeling the pulse of the consumers.
Develop a bounce-back personality. Rejection will always be part of the job. It is advised to “compartmentalize emotions” so you can offer a fresh face in the next client meeting.
After sales calls
Sales person vs. seller. No matter how hard one tries to sell, his success will always be assessed based on his ability to close a business, said Joy De Mesa, DOSM of Solaire Resort. This spells out the difference between a good sales person, who after sales calls will focus on follow-ups, and a good seller, one who is full of talk but without results.
Build relationships. Relationships form the foundations of good business. Look at customers and people you meet as long-term clients or partners, not simply one who can fill up your quota this month. The effective account executive will go out of his way to impress clients and even transcend beyond work to get the trust even after deals were made. This is how they can expand network, get clients easily, gain more friends, and build their reputation. One of the realities in the world of hotel sales and marketing is that clients can be more loyal to the one person who handles their accounts than to the property represented.