Hotel sales training in 2011: what different approaches can we take to rejuvenate and re-energize our sales teams to sell?
As a general manager or director of sales, how do you rejuvenate sales executives for success in 2011? What types of untraditional training exercises and discussion can we utilize to help get our sales managers out of the funk of the last two years and recharge them for the beginning of a recovery period?
On many levels, we will remember 2010 as an extremely challenging year. Globally, the current conditions have left many of us asking, “What can we do to set the stage for a robust 2011?” Early indicators suggest that this year will likely be one of growth for the tourism sec-tor – welcome news indeed. It is up to management to make the very most of the opportunities that the recent modest recovery represents – Carpe Annum (seize the year). Managers need to be examples and catalysts to establish a positive and productive dynamic for their staff. How can you do this? How do you boost and encourage your sales professionals to rejuvenate, re-energize, and re-motivate?
Motivate by Reviewing Your Personal Brand
Frank Tibolt (author and master motivator) once said: “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always gene-rates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” As managers, we need to encourage individual employees to take action – to become passionately committed to their own personal and professional development. We want to encourage our sales staff to take responsibility for their own success and thus their own personal brand.
This kind of passionate commitment to personal and professional growth can take many forms:
- A sense of wellness/fitness/healthfulness
- Charity, philanthropy, and volunteerism
Taking care of oneself and helping others not only make for a well-balanced individual but, frankly, can ultimately lead to business contacts and opportunities. For example, by participating on a Board – an untraditional form of networking and prospecting – or by taking a leadership role in an organization, or by simply participating as an active member of an affiliation or club, a sense of fulfillment will come through and excite others to want to do business with you. Passion is truly an attractive force. We want our sales managers and others who work with or represent us, to exude passion.
A review of “personal brand” may also include, for example: how you dress, how you speak, organizations with which you are involved or to which you contribute, and so on. Your interests, affiliations, activities, and favorites help define you and also project a message as you conduct business.
Today’s social networking society, dominated by Facebook, enables surfers to learn details about the lives of their personal and professional contacts, and we question whether there is any privacy left at all. So much informa-tion is “out there” or “transparent” that an individual’s ethic, integrity, and authenticity are public for all to see. The prevalence of social media networking as part of our daily lives further instills the need to communicate truthfully and honestly. If you do not project a sense of trust, then the relationship between individuals and friends or prospective clients is at risk, if not ruined.
The hospitality industry is one that has historically attracted young (if not young at heart) and energetic individuals. Given the frenetic pace and “moving target” quality that a hotel professional’s day can present, this is probably a good thing. However, a common complaint of management is that the youth of today, in general, do not share the same work ethic as the older generation. For example, the younger employees of today are frequently unwilling to work long hours, or “go above and beyond” for their supervisor. Upon reflection, this may not be entirely without cause. The so-called X and Y generations watched as their parents sacrificed for their careers, only to be dismissed or overlooked by the organizations that benefited from their loyalty. Thus, a short-term, more individualist, “focus on me” mindset was born.
Couple this with the fact that today’s youth are “digital natives,” growing up with technology, the viability of a virtual office, maintaining relationships through social media (yet remotely), and forever multi-tasking (listening to an iPod while completing homework and texting – all simultaneously).
Therefore, it stands to reason that the same old approach won’t work. Times have changed, and our industry needs to be responsive to this. And through media such as Facebook, members of this younger generation unknowingly are projecting their personal brands. It is up to us to train them to understand how they are projecting themselves to others, whether they care or not. Hopefully, your employees do care.
So where do you go from here? How do you fuel and then channel the energies and talents of the developing work force toward a common goal? How do you direct your more seasoned sales managers to think a bit differently about how they are executing their roles? Personal Branding. Studies demonstrate that the companies that work in sync with their staff to maximize their individual potential reap huge collective rewards.
The Brand of You: Motivate to Perform and Sell
HVS Sales & Marketing Services is pleased to offer a two-day, in-person training program for hospitality sales professionals that focuses on the need to assess and define an individual’s personal brand; strengthen relation-ships; make connections; build knowledge, information, and trust; and hone the essential selling skills that are the basics for moving forward.
- Image Projection – How are your sales professionals projected through social networking – online and in person? What is their personal or professional style? What are their strengths and how can you capitalize on them to boost sales?
- Knowledge – Are your team members able to present themselves (credibility marketing) as experts about the hotel and its amenities? Does each sales executive have a library of stories about guests’ experiences at the hotel which are relatable to prospective guests? Can they impart a sense of the hotel’s history by sharing anecdotes with potential guests or offer unique tales that can connect with prospective customers? Can they share interesting details of successful business conferences, uniquely themed anniversaries, or popular weekend getaways?
Your sales team can master the essentials of selling:
- by asking the right questions, listening, handling objections, nego-tiating, closing, follow-through, and more;
- by NOT prospecting, but rather by informing, educating, network-ing, or volunteering.
For more information about the in-person, two-day sales training pro-gram, “The Brand of You: Motivate to Perform and Sell,” please contact Leora Lanz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-248-8828 x 278. The training session can be customized for your property(ies) and will prove to be enlightening and dynamic, a great training boost for the new year.