Many hotel and venue managers we speak to are frustrated. They keep experiencing low sales conversions and missed opportunities, and they are tearing their hair out wondering why their sales person or team is not performing. But if they take a step back and look at their sales function objectively, they often find that it’s their processes (not their team) that are letting them down.
No matter how good the sales person is, without the right tools and processes, they won’t be able to get the job done. A few adjustments to your processes will set them up for success.
Think about your most common customer complaints.
“It took ages for them to get back to me.”
“All I got was a generic proposal – it didn’t answer my specific questions”
“I had to read through too many options to find what I wanted – it was all a bit too hard.”
Great sales people:
- LISTEN to their customer’s needs,
- UNDERSTAND the best solution for that customer,
- PRESENT the proposal in a way that makes the buying decision easy and
- FOLLOW-UP and ASK FOR THE SALE.
So do your sales processes support your sales team in each of these steps?
Here are some important tools and processes to put in place.
1. LEAD RESPONSE TIMELINES
We recommend having a service commitment to get back to customer enquiries within a 2-3 hour period where possible. In today’s fast-moving environment, people expect a reply quickly, and those businesses who are nimble and able to deliver rapid responses often get on the front foot.
It might not always be possible to get a full proposal to them in a short time, but a good start is to make a call or email back to say that you’ve received their enquiry and are developing their proposal.
2. DISCOVERY CALL GUIDELINES / QUALIFYING SHEET
It seems basic, but having a detailed sheet of questions to ask a prospective client enables your sales team to gather all of the important information that will let them tailor the proposal to their client’s needs, and identify areas to upsell additional products and services.
Not every question will be relevant to every client, but the template will guide the conversation and will stop the important questions being left out.
3. PROPOSAL TEMPLATE
A well-designed, professional proposal template is vital to help you convert an enquiry to a sale. When writing the proposal, think less about “what we offer” and more about “what the customer needs”. Present the proposal in such a way that it’s easy for the customer to see the different options and how they are relevant to their situation. Think about adding in some “recipes” or combinations (with the price) so they can see the combinations that work best.
Set the expectations for the client in this proposal, so there are no hidden costs or unexpected surprises once they start working with you.
Also create a checklist for your sales team to complete BEFORE the proposal is sent. This will help them to avoid mistakes or missed opportunities when they’re under pressure.
4. FOLLOW-UP PROCESS
Do you have guidelines for your follow-up process? How soon after the proposal is sent do you follow up? Is it by phone or email? What are the questions you ask in that follow-up?
5. CLOSING THE SALE
Many sales people put a lot of effort into the information side of the sales process, but don’t ask for the sale. Have guidelines and checklists in place so they are confident in asking for the business, and can identify any issues or challenges that keep coming up and impacting conversions.
It might sound like these guidelines and checklists will stifle your sales team and provide a “one size fits all” experience for your customer, but we feel the opposite is true. When your team has a framework within which they can work, there is less ambiguity. The framework does the heavy lifting, so they can use their energy and sales skills to build the relationship with the customer and bring their own creative spin to the opportunity.
And the truly great members of your team will provide consistent feedback and ideas to optimise these processes so your business continues to grow.
If you’re interested in an audit of your sales processes, or assistance in getting your processes up-to-date, contact the Hospitality Associates Team for more information.