Negotiating for hotel sales managers: Avoid the NERDs

Always best to negotiate with a professional.

In your role as a professional hotel sales manager, would you rather find yourself negotiating with a rookie meeting planner or a seasoned veteran?

This is a critical question, so let me ask it again. As a professional hotel sales manager, would you rather find yourself negotiating with a rookie meeting planner as opposed to a seasoned veteran? Think about that for just a second.

Your answer should be “No.” Hotel sales managers would always prefer to be negotiating with a seasoned veteran, one-on-one. If you can get the planner to join you over some fresh coffee and talk about things, the meeting planner’s real needs will surface.

If you said you would rather be negotiating with a rookie meeting planner, you probably thought you were going to get more and give less. However, in my experience (from hotel sales manager on up) that’s rarely the case. I’m going to have to slow my negotiating way down because they’ve never done this before. You’ll have to educate him. Mr. Meeting Planner, this is classroom style classroom style

and this is theater style. theater style

This is Chicken Jerusalem, Chicken Jerusalem

this is Chicken Kiev. Chicken Kiev

They don’t know that stuff when they’re new. The veterans that I’m negotiating with typically do.

And here’s the biggie… What’s the assumption a hotel sales manager should always make about a rookie meeting planner? That’s exactly right, they’re probably not the decision maker. Write this down: he or she is a NERD — Not Eligible to Render a Decision. If a hotel sales manager is negotiating with a NERD, he/she can drop your rates from $169 to $119 and you’re still not getting that contract signed. Why? They’re not authorized to sign the contract. So whenever he can, a hotel sales manager negotiates with a seasoned planner and makes sure to be sitting down with the decision maker.

Posted 4/2/12

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