Product knowledge a must to close the deal

Many hotel operators and hotel owners would be surprised to learn that so many hotel sales executives, even those with a good deal of experience, lack a whole lot of knowledge about their own product. There are even some GMs in the same boat. The whole idea behind being a great salesperson is to know everything there is to know about all the aspects of the product you are selling.    

There are a very wide variety of facts that may not be known. For example: the number of parking spaces in the lot; types of guestroom door security; number of ADA rooms; ADA rooms with roll-in showers; size of rooms; number of connecting rooms, etc. The list goes on. 

Of course, not every one of these mentioned—or other features for that matter—need to be used to make a sale. Not everyone even needs to know any of these. However, a time will come when a prospective guest or group buyer will need to know something that will prove vital to closing the sale. 

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To ensure accurate product knowledge, have each sales associate—or maybe even do it in teams—complete a product analysis. There is no form to do this, just a blank piece of paper. Start with the rooms division and cover everything that needs to be known about the room and all its features. Follow with a complete review of the food-and-beverage division, including all F&B outlets, room service and capacity of each restaurant and lounge. 

Next are the meeting and banquet spaces. Other property features, such as parking facilities, security and recreational facilities, also need to be recorded. Also include nearby facilities and activities about which guests may want to know. Do not forget emergency plans for medical aid, fire and other threats. 

This exercise is not easy; every person doing this will be surprised at how much they have learned by accomplishing the product knowledge assessment. However, when discussions are held with prospects, they do not need to know everything about the hotel, just because the salesperson knows everything. In the business of selling we must remember that meeting the needs of the prospect is most important. This means it is more important to get information than to give it. Only give the information that is necessary to meet the needs.

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