A top concern in any business' sales division is having a salesperson talk too much without asking the right questions. The successful salesperson is the one who doesn’t start by just listing off everything there is to know about the property, but rather starts by asking open-ended questions. These, in turn, allow the prospect to do all the talking. Why is this important? It is always best to get information rather than to give it, and the type of information that emerges in these conversations is usually critical in helping the prospect make the decision to buy.
To get started, the salesperson needs to know the property inside and out. This means that he or she must be familiar with all the specific details and features of the hotel. It is not enough to rattle off how many rooms there are, the total square footage of the meeting rooms or how much parking is available. One needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the finer details.
Consider a group market prospect. The salesperson should know things like how many connecting rooms there are, the actual size of rooms, the number of different types of rooms and other details pertinent to group business. This means that all salespeople need to conduct their own product analysis, coming up with a detailed description of all the property features that make up the whole product.
Next, the salesperson must understand how each feature can be presented to a group prospect as a real value. What we are talking about is need. There is no point talking about something unless it can meet the needs of the buyer, and is a real value for the group.
A buy decision starts with getting the potential buyer talking so that the hotel representative can determine needs. Once these are confirmed, the rep can describe the features of the property that represent a real value.
Property management needs to work with sales personnel during meetings to go over and practice describing various features of the property that are a true value to specific group prospects. For example, corporate meetings could have different needs than association meetings. Sports groups will have different needs than social groups. If group attendees are driving to the property, how would you describe parking in a manner that shows value? If families with children are part of a group, how would you describe the accommodations, including the connecting rooms?
Remember: Showing value is critical to the buy decision.