Are You Scalping Or Prospecting?

Ticket ScalpersEver been to a concert or a ballgame?

If you have, then you’ve run into a scalper. These are the folks standing outside the venue looking to sell tickets to whatever event is going on that day. They are usually loud, and talk extremely fast to anyone that walks by hoping to sell them a ticket.

And what happens if the person is not interested? The scalper moves on to the next person walking by knowing that they took their one shot.

This selling strategy is perfect for scalpers

Unfortunately, many of our group salespeople approach prospecting in a similar manner. They reach out to a prospect and if it does not result in a sale on that first phone call, they move on. Much like the scalper, they take their one shot and move on.

While this one shot method works for the scalper, it doesn’t work when you are prospecting for new groups. Only two percent of the people we call on today are looking to book. The rest are going to either avoid you, or find a way to say they are not interested (we are happy where we are, call back later etc.)

And just like the scalper, we give up on the prospect and move on, never to call on them again.

But this is the wrong approach

According to the National Sales Executive Association, only 1% of all sales are made on the first call. Here are the actual stats:

  • 1% of sales are made on the first contact.
  • 2% of sales are made on the second contact.
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
  • 12% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth contact.

80% of all sales are made on or after the fifth contact. And yet, most of us make one or two contacts to each prospect before we give up. And when the prospect does not book, we whine and cry about how sales calls and prospecting don’t work anymore.

The fact is that they do work for the people who are persistent with follow ups

And there are two reasons why.


Most people like to give their business to someone who wants it, regardless of whether you are hiring a contractor for a house, or buying life insurance. By reaching out in different ways, you’re letting the planner know that you want their business, and you don’t give up easily. And unless they tell you that they don’t want to hear from you, there is no reason why we should not check in every now and again.

Doing so will help you with the second reason, building a relationship.



That’s what you just did, right? We have all heard about building relationships with prospects a million times already. There is nothing new here.

Building a relationship with a prospect is the only way to create a nice pipeline of business for your hotel. And the reason why you keep hearing this advice is because it works. But you can’t build a relationship if you’re only going to contact the prospect once or twice.

It’s not like you need to call them every day. Reach out to them in different ways (call, email, social media or even send some snail mail) over the span of several months. Doing so will keep you top of mind with you coming across as being annoying.

So how can you reach out to prospects without annoying them

Here are some simple ideas:

  • Email/call them before their next event and ask them if they need overflow rooms
  • Email/call them after their event to see how their stay was at the hotel they used
  • Reach out to them with local information that they may not be aware of (“Next year, there is a huge convention during the month you come to our city so make sure to tell you attendees to book early before rooms are sold out etc.).
  • Put on a google alert and follow their company. If anything of significance happens, send a congrats
  • Connect with them on Linkedin and comment on something they share
  • Share local recommendations (restaurants, things to do, places to see) that are appropriate for their group type

The idea is to build a relationship that positions you as the second best choice. Realistically, you’re not going to convert this person on that first call, so why bother trying. Instead, focus your efforts on helping them

As time passes, you’ll begin to see one of two things happen

The groups you are keeping in touch with will either start liking you more than their first choice. Or their number one choice will mess up and you’ll be the next logical person to call. While it may not happen with every group, if you are working with enough planners, you’ll see a steady stream of groups converting to your hotel.

In sales (and in life), persistence pays. You have to reach out to a potential client at least five times in various different ways. Doing so will keep your hotel top of mind, ensuring that you get the call when they’re ready to book their group.

Anything less than that and you’ll have better luck scalping tickets.

What should you do next?

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