Knowland CEO contributes column to Hotel Interactive
by Megan Tate at 11:41 AM on 05/26/2010 in Hotel Sales
event booking center,
Have Them at Hello
posted at 11:39 AM on 05/26/2010
“Smile and dial.” How many times have you heard a director of sales utter those words? At the end of the day, being successful in sales comes down to making the calls. If you can get people on the phone and build great relationships with them, you’re going to continually bring in new business. Much more than being a good networker, researcher, or sales blitz organizer, being good on the phone is what really matters. But it’s often the task new sales managers, and some old ones, dread the most.
After years of not only running our own sales office, but also specializing in helping our clients practice proactive sales, we at the Knowland Group have learned what it takes to be successful. The following tips are the five practices we’ve found to be the most important for any sales manager to improve their telesales skills.
1. Prepare, don’t postpone.
Preparation before you pick up the phone is essential, but don’t let it delay you for too long. Look into who you are talking to, what their business is, and what you have to offer them that is of distinct and direct benefit. Make sure you’re calling people who actually have meetings needs. Cold calling a list of businesses you got from the Chamber of Commerce really isn’t a good use of your time. For all you Directors of Sales: There is NOTHING more demoralizing to a sales team than calling on bad leads. It’s a waste of everybody’s time.
2. Be honest and considerate of the prospect’s time.
Focus on being honest, not pushy. You should let the prospect know right away that you’re making a sales call and then get their permission to continue the call. No one likes a sales person who rattles on for 30 seconds without letting you say a word. The best approach is the honest approach – not only does the truth produce better results, it’s simply the easiest thing to remember. If the prospect is busy, don’t inconvenience them. Instead, get them to agree to another time for the call that works with their schedule. You’d be surprised how many people respond positively to honest and helpful sales calls.
3. Do NOT look to close ANYTHING on your first call.
It’s easy to turn off potential clients by immediately going for the quick sell. Your first mission should always be to build relationships. On the first call you should be trying to schedule a 10-20 minute conversation with the prospect in the next few days. Rarely is a meeting planner ever going to book an event at your hotel on the first call. Be sure, when you suggest a call time, to minimize the time impact to the prospect. And when you do speak with them again, take the time to listen and learn about them before making your pitch. Don’t be afraid to break it up into several smaller phone calls. Creating an ongoing dialogue will put them at ease and make them much more willing to give you their business.
4. Avoid the hard no.
Don’t push prospects into giving you one big No. There’s a finality that comes with a resounding no that is hard to come back from. This is where taking the time to build relationships comes into play. Rather than pushing a prospect into a hard no, you are building a string of little yeses. So start slow. Tell them, quickly and honestly, about one of your properties selling points, and let the conversation grow from there.
5. Believe in your product!
Anytime you pick up the phone, you should truly believe that what you are selling will deliver for your prospect. More than anything else, this belief will make you more comfortable and give you more confidence. There’s nothing better than knowing that you are doing the prospect a favor by calling them because of the enormous benefits your product will bring them. That conviction will show in your voice and quickly warm the prospect to your product.
At Knowland’s Event Booking Center, we take each of these ideas to heart every time we pick up the phone. As a result, we have been able to build strong relationships with current and potential clients. They in turn help us grow further as they spread the word about our products. Employing these tactics will quickly have you smiling at the prospect of dialing.
For more information on proactive sales and the Knowland Group, visit www.knowlandgroup.com, on Twitter @KnowlandGroup, or on Facebook.
posted at 11:40 AM on 05/26/2010