For most hotels in North America, the sales team is entering week three of the Covid19 disruption. The first week or so was just crazy, as salespeople from all market segments endured a frantic wave of cancelations and postponements. Just as that wave was starting to pass, most sales leaders had to make the difficult move of furloughing or laying off sales staff to pare down the payroll costs.
As we begin week three, those who are still working are finding new challenges in taking over tasks usually done by support staff or colleagues from other departments who are now not available.
Soon enough though, most salespeople who are still working will have accomplished every task on their to-do list earlier and earlier on each day, before it’s time to join their friends for a Zoom happy hour, check the kids’ homeschool assignments, do a virtual workout, or to walk their worn-out dog yet again.
Unless you serve one of the very travel market segments that are still currently in need of lodging, this is almost certainly too early to start outbound prospecting for new business, as it might appear insensitive, and the CVENT RFP notifications are slim to none.
Rather than signing off work early, here are two sales-related tasks you can do right now to get ready for the rebound, with more to come soon in my future blogs published here.
1) Reach out personally to your key client contacts. Generic email messages will accomplish nothing, as everyone’s work email inbox is filled with spammy-feeling messages from CEO’s talking about what their previously unheard-from company is doing in this crisis.
Instead, use your time to connect personally one-to-one. For your very top tier, long-term clients, consider a phone call during their local business hours. State upfront that you are just calling to check on them personally.
For most clients, a personal email (or video email) is the best medium. While it’s okay to start with a template for an opening and ending, be sure to include something in the first few sentences that shows the receiver it’s genuine, not generic. For clients you know well, mention specifics such as names of their family members, partners, hobbies, or pets. For those you know only casually, you might mention something specific to their home city, state, province, or their industry. Consider including something fun such as your personal list of top-10 classic movies at AmazonPrime or NetFlix, or if you and the client have previously commensurated on parenting, educational K-12 websites.
2) Master the use of your sales CRM. When travel fully reopens, the competition is going to be greater than ever for the leads that resurface first. The top producers will be the ones who walk the thin line between being persistent but not pushy, and who truly put personalization back into the process. Planners will know how desperate hotel salespeople are and will want to reward sales professionalism.
Based on the one-on-one sales process assessments I have done in recent years, few salespeople truly embrace their sales CRM for tracking all sales activities. Instead, they use a mixed bag of inefficient tools such as flagged emails, calendar appointments, post-it notes and handwritten notes scribbled on print-outs of RFP’s. This is a great time to become hyper-organized so you can be efficient later when the pent-up demand breaks through the barrier.
Register for the online tutorials that most sales CRMs offer, or to schedule a screen-share meeting with a coworker or friend to share tips and tactics. Clean-up your CRM “task lists” and eliminate the past-due ones that have been haunting you for too long now. Get with your system administrator and redo the “auto-tasks” that occur when business goes definite, so they match what you truly need, and don’t clog-up your future lists with red flags.
If you like these ideas, stay tuned to this publication as I will share additional ideas for using this downtime to upskill in sales and to be ready rebound. For details on private, live, webcam coaching for your sales team that dives deeper into these and other sales action steps for April 2020, email me directly [email protected]