Hospitality sales and the anticipatable objection

Hospitality sales pros and the anticpatable objection

Hospitality sales professionals remove resistance at the point of sale: part 2

To continue our topic from last week on removing resistance at the point of sales, the second kind of resistance that a hospitality sales pro encounters is far more difficult than the one I discusses last week, the simple request for information. This type is called an anticipatable objection and it’s something about your property that, even though you are a hospitality sales pro, it’s a very difficult problem to sell. It’s a reason a customer will either not use your property; or even worse, having used your property, will never return. The anticipatable objection is one that hospitality sales professionals learn to deal with.

ballroom pillarHere’s an example. Early in my hospitality sales career I was at the Hyatt in San Jose, California and our largest barroom was called the Mediterranean Center. It was 8,000 square feet and could be divided into four equal sections. It had a twenty two and a half foot ceiling and a 1200 square foot pre-function area. Unfortunately it also had big pillars in the middle of the ballroom. They were gigantic, and when the ballroom was configured as one big room, the sight lines were awful because the pillars were a huge obstruction. Since these pillars held up all the floors above, removing them was out of the question.

So we as a hospitality sales staff tried everything we could to overcome this problem.

We put mirrors on them to make them look less obvious. We were desperate for a solution, and would have tried anything.

Well, we were at a sales meeting one day and we were talking about our lost and turned-down business. And one woman said “I lost a piece of business because of those huge pillars in the ballroom. Here we are in Silicon Valley in the middle of the high-tech world and we have a seriously low tech problem.”

I added, “I lost a piece of business too because of that.” As we went around the table; each salesperson had lost business because of the ballroom pillars. So we decided to come in on a Saturday, and we met with the housemen and the setup folks, and we took about a thousand chairs and we went into the ballroom set it ten different times and ten different ways to see if there was a way we could make sure nobody’s sight line was impaired — and sure enough we did it. We found a few different ways we could set the room; we had to angle some things, we had some blind spots we had to eliminate, but sure enough, we came up with solutions that worked.

After that, on a site inspection we would say this:

“This is the Mediterranean Center. It’s a 8000 square foot ballroom divides equally into four sections of 2000 square foot each; twenty two and a half foot ceiling and a 1200 square foot pre-function area for registration, tabletop exhibits, coat check, whatever you might want. Now I suspect you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, are these pillars going to be an issue?” Well let me tell you, I have set this room personally with my staff, and we can set this room any way you want and make sure not one single person’s vision is blocked. Now over here we have the pre-function area, right?” Make it a non-issue and move on.

This is what hospitality sales pros call defusing an anticipatable objection. You attack it, and attack it again.

But as a hospitality sales pro, you’ve got to keep at it until you have a solution.


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