Sunday, December 12, 2010

Asking for the Business

If you don’t ask for the business, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you don’t get it.

It’s been my experience over the years that the difference between a good Sales person and a great Sales person often lies in their ability to ask for the sale, and, to a lesser degree, to know how to deal with “no” and not get paralyzed in the face of “no.”

There are lots of great sales people out there, who do a great job in many facets of their role in sales, they know their value proposition, your property’s points of differentiation, they research potential clients, and their prep work and attention to detail are second to none.

Those are all strong and admirable attributes.

But are they closers?

After it’s all been said and done, and the (potential) client has taken the bait, can they reel them in?

If not, you may find if you tag along on a few sales calls that they are stopping short of actually asking for the sale.

They assume, albeit unconsciously, that if they have done a god job in making their case, the client will book with them, and on many occasions that has probably worked out for them, and for you.

But I can guarantee you that if you actually ask for the sale, your chances of securing the business go up exponentially.  

It’s long been a practice of mine to do two things, in particular, when it comes to supporting the sales effort in my Hotels:

      1)      Telling clients that I want their business.

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  You’d be surprised how many people don’t actually, clearly and with conviction, tell clients that they want their business.

I used to do this in particular when we had a client on site for a site inspection and/or property review.  

I would introduce myself, and then I would tell the (potential) client that one of the reasons that I wanted to personally meet them, among other reasons of course, was that I wanted to tell them personally that we wanted their business and that each and every one of us was keenly aware of what it meant to get this piece of business, and we were committed to working with them to secure their business, and to delivering a program or event that would leave no doubt as to why we were chosen. 

       2)      Asking for the business.

On a similar vein, I would always conclude a site visit or a sales call by asking for the business.

Again, I would make a point of being direct and specific, leaving no doubt that I was asking for the business, and in the event that I ran into any hesitation or reluctance, I would simply ask what the obstacles were that was preventing them from committing.

I know I said this before, but I will say it again; I know full well that what I am saying sounds obvious.

But I’ll tell you this too; I had clients tell me time and time again that other Hotels were not telling them that they wanted their business, not directly anyway, and, that virtually no one was asking for their business. 

And on more than a few occasions, I had clients tell me that was why they were going with us for their conference, event, etc…

Sure, our product and service were important factors, but when it came down to comparing a number of seemingly similar properties in a single destination, what put them over the edge, and differentiated us from our competitors, was our commitment to getting the business, to servicing the client from this day forward, and, the fact that we asked for the business, further demonstrating our level of commitment. 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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