As soon as I open the door to my house, I hear little footsteps running towards me.
No matter where he is, my two year old son hears the door open and he is running with a huge smile on his face.
And with the eagerness that is apparent in his eyes, I have no choice but to play whatever he wants to play.
Much like my two year old, we have to show our eagerness to groups if we want to increase our sales.
So how can we show groups that we are eager for their business?
One simple way is to make sure we are diligent about following up on our sales calls. Much too often, sales calls are made and after that initial conversation, we never call the group back to see if anything has changed.
By making those follow-up calls every now and again, we are showing our eagerness to win their business and differentiate ourselves from competitors.
Competition that is not bothering with follow ups
In fact, a little under 50% of all salespeople make just one phone call to a prospect. They make their sales calls, get a rejection and move on. They don’t make that second or the third phone call.
And yet, the fact is that over 80% of new business is won after the fifth phone call.
By following up, we show a planner that we are eager for their business and that gives us a huge leg up. Just because a prospect does not book their group right away does not mean that they are not interested.
Maybe the prospect is just not ready when you called
In fact, in the same article, it states that 98% of the people you call today will not be ready to buy today. But they will be ready to buy at some point in the year. And that means that if we are calling groups hoping to book on the first call, then we are setting ourselves up to fail (or succeed only 2% of the time).
And yet that is exactly how most of us make sales calls. We are hoping to close the sale on that first phone call.
But what if we used a different strategy?
What if we made our next sales call not expecting to book any business at all? What if we called to create a relationship with the group planner and introduce our property. And then we followed that up every now and again to ask if we could be of any help, or to just answer any questions.
We could call to inform them of recent changes in the city that may affect their group, or a new local attraction that may be of interest to them. If you know they require transportation and you’ve recently made contact with someone who can help them, then reach out and introduce the two of them.
Following up does not have to be all about business either. If you know that they are having surgery, then send them an email prior to and after asking how they are. If in the course of the conversation, you find out that it is their birthday or anniversary, then call/email them on the appropriate dates.
Doing so allows us to build a relationship
It will let us show our expertise and our willingness to help despite not having gotten any business. After all, who would you want to work with? Someone who looks like they are eager to work with you or someone who is sitting back waiting for your phone call?
Follow up calls should be a part of your daily routine. As soon as we finish a sales call, we need to set reminders for when we will followup again (Make followup easier by using Boomerang).
But won’t this much follow up make us look desperate
It may appear that way to some people. But rather than worrying about what we appear to look like, let’s put ourselves in the group planners shoes.
If someone follows up with us looking to win our business, who are we going to call when we need to book that business? It won’t be the dozens of hotels that haven’t bothered to reach out (many of whom we will have forgotten about). If all else is equal, our first call will be to the one hotel salesperson who has been diligently following up.
Rather than looking desperate, following up allows us to come across as the person who is hungry for the business. It increases the chances that we will be selected for consideration when they group is ready.
Let’s summarize, shall we
Most planners are not ready to book their groups today, making follow up calls a necessary part of your sales arsenal. Yet, most salespeople don’t bother to follow up. 80% of all business is won by 8% of salespeople because they are diligent about following up with a prospect.
Following up will show a planner that we are eager for their business. And that follow up is why we can expect to get the call when the planner is ready to book their business.
What should you do next?
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