One of the benefits of being a franchisee is ongoing training and support. Employee development might take place at the annual conference, webinars, online training, or onsite visits from your Area Manager These touch points of guidance are often educating your team on the “Brand Initiatives,” along with brand technology, support, and using the Brand Portal. This training is vital to your success, as it helps you leverage the value of your Brand and maximize your ROI.
A New Approach to Selling
In my experience, the sales training provided by most brands, on the other hand, is often outdated and simply repetitive from year to year, or even decade to decade. There are many reasons why one should consider a new way of selling in today’s market. These reasons include:
- Our industry has trained your “Clients and Prospects” on how to negotiate the best deals. Often times, those best deals don’t even take place at your own location because the prospective client “uses” you to leverage deals at your competitor.
- The landscape of how a prospective client can research your property has changed over the years with the inception of the web and online resources. This doesn’t include the ongoing and increasing education that your clients receive via membership to various organizations, including MPI.
- On a similar note, the way your Sales Team can prospect by leveraging new technologies has also changed and is ever-changing. Is your team up to speed on the best ways to prospect and network online?
- Industry segments such as Full Service and Limited Service are not as clear as in years past. New entries of brands and sub-segments, along with respective amenities and services of those brands, have become so unclear in the Prospect’s mind that it is often hard to differentiate between products. This causes the “cookie cutter” effect in the Prospect’s mind when it comes to pricing and understanding true value.
- There is more supply than ever before. Who do you think feels they are in the driver’s seat? You got it: The Prospect. Most Sales People, therefore, discount more than they need to because they haven’t been trained properly.
- We, as an industry, have put too much dependence upon OTAs to fill in our empty rooms. If the forecast isn’t looking good, we open up the OTA pipeline and get ready to pay those steep commissions. What is the other option? Properly train your sales team to build a pipeline of more profitable business and lean less on the OTAs to help fill your rooms.
Owning a Selling Model
How else can I say it? It is time for a change with the sales process in our industry. Everything else has and continues to change in our world, yet, we as operators tend to be content with our Brand’s Sales Training. You see, most Brand training doesn’t teach our sales team the most important rule of selling: Owning a Selling Model.
A Selling Model is focused not on your brand, but on your team’s ability to close more deals and increase revenues. This model provides an organized and consistetent systematic selling structure that puts your Sales Manager in control of the selling process. The end result? Consistently closing more deals and constantly improving your team’s selling skill set to ensure this happens more often!
A Major League Sales Team
Let’s take a moment to compare your sales team to that of a Major League Baseball player who is paid millions of dollars each season to play on a particular team. As a general rule, even the best and highest paid players don’t bat above 350. What does that mean? In short, he has a successful hit 35% of the time. Do you think he tries a new batting technique each time he comes up to bat or do you think he continues to fine tune his batting strategy to improve his results?
The baseball profession has batting coaches who are constantly working with each player to improve their batting average. The baseball players don’t go to a “Batting Conference” once a year and expect to make it all season long. These Major League ball players have been batting since they were toddlers, yet they still require daily coaching.
The same approach should be taken for your Professional Hotel Sales People. Attending an industry training session or annual conference is great, but who is their coach when they get back home? Are they really learning a proven model for improving their “batting average” in the hotel sales world?
Differentiate Your Team
In order to stand above in today’s overbuilt and overcrowded industry, there is a way that your sales team can differentiate themselves, your property, and increase revenues. The solution is two-fold: First is it learning and embracing a new selling approach and unlearning the selling methodologies of your past. The second step is to master your new selling model and continually work that system to ensure a long-term professional career. It is worth repeating from above: A Selling Model should be an organized and consistetent systematic selling structure.
That, my friend, is where the fork is in the road. As a 30+ year veteran in the hospitality field, too often I have seen owners/executives view training costs as an expense and not an investment. I have also observed those companies who invest in their sales team rise to the top.
My recommendation to you: Invest in your sales team with training that is conducted outside of the 4 walls of your Brand. The return on your investment will be worth it!
Jay Hartz, CHA is the Owner of Next Generation Revenue Per Available Room, LLC and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Visit his website at www.nextgenrevpar.com too learn more about the Hartz Selling Model and to receive his Free 14 page White Paper on this subject.
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