Hospitality sales and the inbound telephone call

hospitality sales pros and the inbound call

In hospitality sales, the customer should always be able to speak to a human.

In hospitality sales, there are really two cardinal sins when a customer calls on the phone. Cardinal sin number one is telling the customer that the person they need to speak with is unavailable. Cardinal sin number two is not letting the customer speak to a live human being. Hospitality sales pros must set up a system whereby the customer can always speak to a live human being. And once they speak to a live human being, that live human being can begin the hospitality sales process.

“Even if” it’s an administrative assistant—and I mean “even if” very loosely, as some of our administrative assistants do better on our test calls then our salespeople! That person — whoever it is — can start the process with “Let me ask you a couple of question, I’d like to take some information down. What days are you looking at, how many people are there going to be, let me get your phone number.”

You can certainly start the incoming hospitality sales conversation with “Good morning, sales, this is Nancy speaking. May I help you?” And when the person says he or she would like to speak to someone about a meeting do NOT say “Let me get your phone number in case we get cut-off.” That is not a strong tool in your administrative skill set! That means at our office we have problems getting cut off, and that if you book here, you’ll have the same problems. Very bad start!

And at the end of the conversation, it might be okay for you if necessary to say, “Alright, now that I have the proper information, let me transfer the call to Jeffrey, I’m looking right at Jeffrey and he is our expert in the association market, let me transfer the call.” And that’s great—that’s really an ideal situation.

At that point though, Jeffrey has to have that information that the first person just took, because if Jeffrey says, “Good morning, may I help you?” it gives a terrible impression. When Jeffrey enters the conversation clueless, the hospitality sales client instantly begins to wonder if your department has its act together.

He or she is thinking “Well, I just gave that other person all that information, are you going to make me say it again?” If the first point of contact is going to take the basic hospitality sales information, have a way to deliver it. The client is thinking “Come on, man, what’s my time worth? Treat me like an adult. I’m trying to bring you business. I’ve got money in my pocket and you’re horsing around verifying information? Come on!”

The bottom line for the hotel sales person: it’s all about giving the prospect a positive feeling about your venue while moving the sales process along.

Posted 1/7/13

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