Are You Winging Your Inbound Sales Calls?

Man listening with tin canPre-call planning.

It’s something we all do before making sales calls.

Every sales call we make requires some degree of planning, including researching a prospects event, their social profiles, and setting aside the time to make the call.

So how come we don’t do any planning for our incoming calls?

How many of us prepare for those?

Do we take the time to jot down the questions we want to ask?

Do we maintain a list of things to mention to various group types before they call us?

Probably not.

And that’s surprising when you consider that incoming calls are our best chance of converting a prospect into a customer.

Because incoming sales calls are from people who want to do business with us

Studies done by Corporate Executive Board say that buyers are 57 percent of the way done with their purchase decision before they ever call a salesperson.

So if a group is calling, you’ve got a pretty good shot at winning the business because there is a good chance that they have already compared amenities, location etc.

And yet, many of us are not prepared for the inbound sales calls. In most cases, we assume that we’ll just wing it. The typical scenario being that the group leader calls with some questions and we rattle off answers (and ask some questions of our own).

This is where we make mistakes. We think we are covering everything but do we really know that to be true.

Or is there is a better and more organized way to deal with incoming calls?

What if we created a separate lead sheet for five (or 10) of the most popular types of groups that come to our hotel. Having these in front of us when a prospect calls can help us ensure that we don’t miss something.

Let’s look at a sample lead sheet for when a tournament director calls about setting up a room block for multiple teams.

Click here to open a Tournament Lead Sheet

Chances are that you ask most of the questions already. But having them in front of you gives you three significant benefits.

Benefit # 1 – You’ll listen better
Having the list of questions right in front of you takes away the stress of thinking about what we forgot to ask. You won’t find yourself fumbling with what you’re missing. Instead, you’ll find yourself listening to the prospect as they describe their needs. And listening is how you win more groups.

Benefit # 2 – You’ll get more ideas for prospecting and who to create partnerships with
Having the questions in front of you also helps you remember the questions we most often forget to ask. Questions like “How did you hear about us?” or “What does your group do?”. Whether you win the business or not, you’ll get a better idea of how people are finding you and you’ll identify new group types coming into the market.

Benefit # 3 – You can combat the most common objections
Every group has objections and by listing the most common ones with appropriate answers, it’s far easier to keep the conversation moving forward.

As you can see, there are significant benefits to having a lead sheet template made for the most common group types. Not only will the conversation flow, it will help you come across as someone who is competent and knowledgeable.

But won’t a template kill the spontaneity of the call

It will if you read right off the sheet. But we know better than that, don’t we?

Rather than use the lead sheet as a script, just scan it during your conversation to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Look to see if there are common objections that you can address even before the client thinks of them. And talk up the amenities that you know the group will want even before they ask for it.

Having one of these lead sheets specifically created for different group types can be a great resource both for yourself, and for any new salespeople that join your organization. Plus, it makes filling out the CRM far easier since you have quite a bit of information about the group already.

If you’re convinced, then make it a project this week to create just one lead sheet for your most popular group type.

After your first call, you’ll see the benefits of not winging through your inbound sales calls.

What should you do next?

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