How to prospect with purpose (and produce results)

Hotels have a tremendous opportunity to get out in front of the travel boom that is expected as various market segments resume travel after a two-year hiatus. GMs and owners need to ensure their sales teams are prepared to be proactive to capture the business that is coming back. 

A lot of salespeople are rusty when it comes to making prospecting calls because they were furloughed during the pandemic or redeployed. It’s rare to find a salesperson who enjoys making cold calls but it’s a critical piece of sales strategy to ensure hotels have a healthy number of opportunities in the sales funnel.

Prospecting with purpose and preparation will separate successful salespeople from those who are simply “smiling and dialing” and who think it’s a quantity game versus a quality game. When you strategically manage your approach to prospecting, you fill your sales funnel with warm leads and new business. 

Here are five steps you can take to elevate your prospecting and see greater results.

1. Connect with prospects. Make a list of 25-30 potential prospects to connect with on a regular basis that will yield you the greatest results. Be sure to include: 

  • Existing clients: Are you staying in touch to see if their business needs have changed? Are you proactively looking for ways to add value by recommending solutions for their business needs? Are you getting your fair share of business from them? Do they see you as a vendor or a partner?
  • Lost business: Keep connected to customers even if they’ve moved on to work with other vendors. Don’t be afraid to ask why they stopped working with you and what you can do to earn their business back.
  • Competitors’ clients: Identify your competitors’ key accounts and make it your mission to develop a plan to go after them. When is their contract up for renewal? What is missing from their current experience? What do you do better and how can you add greater value versus your competitors? 

2. Do your homework. Research your target customers to better understand their business and the challenges they face. If you’re not sure exactly why you’re calling and what you have to offer, your prospect isn’t going to know either. 

3. Have an objective. This will keep you from stumbling when you get your prospect on the line and will ensure you focus your questions on achieving your objective. 

4. Opening statement. Be prepared to describe the reason for your call in 15 seconds or less. That is how much time you have before your prospect will decide whether to accept the call or shut you down. Be relevant to the client and answer the question: “what’s in this for me?”

5. Prepare for objections. Before the call, think through some of the potential objections you might encounter and prepare your responses. The more relevant you are, the more likely they will listen.

Tammy Gillis is CEO and founder of Gillis Sales.