Group Sales Prospecting 101 – The Three Steps To Success

ButtonsImagine you are taking an elevator to the twelfth floor.

Would you press the button for floor twelve or would take the scenic route and press every floor in between?

It sounds like a ridiculous question, and it is meant to be one.

Of course we would press the button for the twelfth floor. Why would we want to waste our time unnecessarily?

And yet, time is what we waste when we should be prospecting

We find a million things to focus our attention to and every one of these things get in the way of finding new clients. Some of us get busy doing reports, some find busy work like maintaining social media, and others do support stuff like create Beo’s.

While these things are certainly important, they are not prospecting

In this article, we are going to go over the three steps required to succeed at getting new business to your hotel. And these three steps will not take up more than two and half hours, leaving you lots of time to complete any non prospecting related work that is required of all of us.

The three steps to prospecting successfully are:

  1. Research: Gets the ball rolling
  2. Reach out: Understand their needs
  3. Follow up: What separate the winners from the losers

Lets go over the research first

Researching gets the ball rolling (1 hour)

Take an hour towards the end of your day and commit this time to researching new customers. Your goal is to put together a list of qualified prospects to contact the following day.

Just make sure you don’t limit yourself to just one source. Many of us get into a habit of sitting on our computers and looking for leads on Google.

While Google is a great way to find leads, it is not the only way. Here are some more ideas:

  • Check out your local paper for recent announcements for weddings, construction, sports tournaments
  • Go through all the groups that turned your hotel down in the past
  • Pull up all the government and corporate purchase orders in accounting
  • Look at government tax exempt forms that people have submitted
  • Keep an eye out in your local business journal for recent construction announcements
  • Visit competitor parking lots looking to see what trucks are parked.
  • Subscribe to a reader board service or a lead service
  • Visit bridal related stores (photographers, dress stores, bakers etc)

The above are just some of the ideas. There are many many more ways to find more groups that are already doing business in your city. Here are three unconventional sources of leads.

Note: When doing research, get the name, contact information (phone or email), and what the company does). Having this information ready will provide you an incredible start the following morning when you need to reach out.

Reach out to understand their needs (1 Hour)

Having done all the research, you now have a list of people to reach out to. And that is exactly what you want to do for an hour, first thing in the morning. If you wait, people will press those elevator buttons for you and you’ll be stuck doing busy work that has nothing to do with sales.

And what do you hope to get out of making those calls?


1% of the groups you call for the first time will book with you so don’t bother trying. Instead, use this first call as to introduce yourself and to understand their needs.

Ask lots of questions in this first call. Get to know how much business they do in your city, what times of the year they need rooms, and see if your hotel is a good fit. And remember not to sell them on this call. That is what the follow up calls are about.

Follow up is what separate the winners from the losers (1/2 hour)

While most salespeople work on their initial sales call, the ones that bring home the biggest prize are the ones that follow up the most. In fact, 80% of the business you will book will take more than five follow up calls.

Yet, most salespeople make one or two follow up phone calls and give up on a prospect. And this is where you can outshine all your competitors. Because this is where your persistence and tenacity comes into play. If you are religions about spending a half an hour to make follow up calls to prospects every day, you’ll win a huge chunk of business.

Here are some things we do when we follow up with our groups.

  • 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.
  • If they are using a different hotel, then we email them after their stay and ask if everything went well.

The above are just some ideas. As you get better at following up, you’ll figure out a dozen more ways to keep you (and your hotel) at the top of their list.

So there you have it. The three simple steps to prospecting.

But isn’t there is so much more to prospecting

There is quite a bit more to cover in this vast field. However, if you follow the three steps outlined, you will be way ahead of your competitors. Because most of them are not doing much in the way of prospecting anyway.

But before you run off thinking you’ve unlocked the secret to bringing more business, there is one last thing.

Don’t skip a single day

It’s easy to get started but the real tough part is to keep it going. Expect to have some really crappy days, and some out of this world kind of days. But don’t let either of those stop you from prospecting the day after.

And make sure you don’t let all the non sales stuff get in the way. Because if you do, you’re never going to make it to the twelfth floor.

What should you do next?

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