Unfortunately, it is far too common that an established sales person has never been to a competitive property. Without that first hand knowledge, it is impossible to sell effectively if a customer is shopping your property as well as your competition.
Habit #2: Know who your customer is.
There are few products, if any, that are all things to all people. Hotels are designed and built to attract a specific segment of the market and financial projections are based on certain assumptions of rates and occupancy generated from those specific markets.
Having the first two habits in place will allow a sales person to fully address a customer’s needs. Even if your property has the greatest swimming pool, it is important to let the customer tell you if that is a need of his or hers. Asking questions will help you understand what is important to your potential customers and will help you understand the level of importance.
Sales people tend to be attracted to "sales" because of their strong social or interpersonal needs. They like people enjoy pleasing people and like to be liked. Therefore, sometimes a sales person is more committed to pleasing the customer at the owner’s expense. But an effective sales person is able to leverage his/her good customer relations with their financial responsibilities at the property.
Sometimes, people with strong people skills are not "detail" people. But attention to detail is tantamount to inspiring the confidence of clients. How can they expect a meeting to go well if the sales person has misspelled their names, given the incorrect title, or didn’t include the afternoon coffee break that was requested? Ensure exact details, check work for accuracy (dates, spelling, names, titles, etc.).
Habit #6: Be reliable and consistent.
Do what you say you will do. Or if circumstances prevent you from delivering on a promise, just communicate that to your client. Reliability and good communication develops trust. It is that trust that will inspire clients to book with a sales person over and over, even if the air conditioning breaks down or construction is going on across the street.
A well-founded plan allows for either new strategies or staying the course. Several suggestions for staying current are to join industry associations such as HSMAI (Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International), which offers invaluable opportunities to stay current with trends and new technologies. Read local and national newspapers. Stay current with local and national trends that impact your business. Join local community organizations. By implementing these steps, not only is the sales person enhancing his/her own effectiveness and marketability, but a by-product is that the property he or she represents is promoted as well.