Hotel sales pitfall: trying to do too much

hotel sales to do lists are too long

Hotel sales managers often have a to-do list that is too long, and yet they often take on more.

Hotel sales managers attempt to do too much, in my experience. It seems like everyone in our industry is an alpha male or an alpha female. We’re all moving a million miles an hour. And we hotel sales folks want to prove our worth to the hotel team.

But one thing I consistently preach to hotel sales types is to slow down and be clear of what you’re doing. Are you trying to do too much? When the boss (or someone else for that matter) comes into your office or cubicle and says, “Hey, Therese, I really need you to do this” or “could you help with this?” our first response is always to be helpful.

Our attitude is “I would like to please you because that is the kind of person I am; of course I’ll help you with it.” And then that person is going to walk back to their office, pull out their to-do list, and they’re going to scratch that off their list because they got you to do it. So you’re stuck.  The problem is, you said “Yes,” and you probably didn’t really mean it.

What you need to do is be able to say “Listen, Sylvia, I’ve got to be honest with you. I am ferociously loyal, I will take a bullet for you, you know I’ll do anything you ask, but look at my to-do list today. I’ve got lunch and three site inspections today.”

From there, your approach depends on whether the other person is a peer or your hotel sales supervisor or manager. If the latter, you might say something like, “As a result, I appreciate that you need my help and if you really need my help, great. I don’t mean to be a wise guy, but what on my list is not going to get done today?” Let the boss have the choice.

The response will probably be something like, “Gee, I forgot you had those three site inspections and a lunch. Let me get someone else help me with it; let’s do it after five o’clock; let’s see if we can’t get two people to help out; whatever.” But whatever it is, let your hotel sales manager know that you’re a team player and just looking for priorities.

If the request comes from another department or a hotel sales peer, you still want to indicate that you’re a team player and want to do what’s in the best interest of the hotel, sales effort or not. But you typically refer to your hotel sales manager again, indicating that you have other things you have to accomplish. But if that person requesting the w0rk truly feels you are the only one who can help, he or she is free to go to your manager and ask. And in those situations it’s best to go along with the requestor because most managers will want to be team players too, and you might need to remind the boss what’s on your to-do list. 

This brings us to the root cause of the problem both for those in hotel sales and life in general. A big reason that people don’t accomplish all the things on their to-do list (even if there are no outside requests for your time) is that is that they are trying to fit too much into their day. If you find yourself guilty of this, you actually don’t need better time management. No amount of time management will allow you to do everything if your list is too long. You need to realize which items on your to-do list are not necessary.

In the now-business classic book from Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the seven is “First Things First”. In discussing the issue he says there are two aspects to various tasks – urgency and importance. He writes that we should categorize our list of tasks on each of these dimensions:

Important and Urgent – Things that are important to your long terms goals, and also time urgent. You need to emphasize getting these tasks done.

Important but not Urgent – Things are the things that you really care about and really want to do, but somehow never find time to do because they are not time urgent. This is the area of greatest frustration (for everyone from hotel sales people and anyone who likes to plan ahead) – reading that book you’ve wanted to read, starting an exercise program, learning a new skill, planning a new business strategy, etc.

Not Important and Urgent – This is the major area that needs trimming, but often the most difficult area to trim for hotel sales people and others. Urgent but unimportant tasks are those that are important to others but not you, things that others are nagging you to do. “Please call me back immediately!” “I need your help with this!”

It can be very difficult to say no to other people, as I discussed above. Many find it hard to do, but if you don’t learn to say no to some requests, you will end up with your time being filled with just meeting the demands of others. The demands of others are endless – so you have to set the limits.

Not Important and Not Urgent – This category is classic time wasters – playing computer games, surfing the internet, watching mindless TV, etc. Cut this back or out completely and you’ll be amazed at how much more time you have.

So remember, if you’re not getting the things on your to-do list done, it could be that there is too much on it. Create a long-term strategy and accompanying goals with your manager and going forward, each item on the to-do list will contribute to accomplishing the goals you set forth. You’ll be spending the vast majority of your time on the important things.

Are you trying to do too much?




Posted 10/29/12

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