5 cold calling blunders to avoid
posted at 09:24 AM on 05/27/2010
I’m not interested … No, I don’t have time … Don’t call me again…*Click*. Every sales manager faces a “hard no” now and then. A good cold caller can convert that definitive refusal into a call back later. Even easier, however, is to prevent it beforehand by avoiding the top few errors most often made by hotel sales managers.
Those top five cold calling mistakes are:
No. 5: Faltering on property details
One of the quickest ways to bring an abrupt end to any cold call is not knowing something about your hotel. Take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen:
- Run through your pitch again and again-enough times to make it always fresh in your mind. The words should flow easily even when you have a moment of hesitation.
- Prepare for any question by learning all the ins and outs in advance.
- Ask your colleagues what questions are the most (and least) frequently asked.
No. 4: Making snap judgments of anyone who answers the phone
Always be friendly to every person who answers the phone. You may think you’re talking to an assistant when you are actually speaking with the CEO. As we all know, first impressions are the most important—so make a good one, every time. Even if the person on the other end is low on the totem pole, you never know how making a connection with them might help you make the sale. Hotel sales is all about building relationships, and this starts from the very first exchange.
No. 3: Struggling for the next thing to say
No matter how long or short the call is, you never want to get stuck without having something to say. Awkward pauses and excessive stammering make prospects question your expertise and knowledge of them, their business, and your hotel. If this means you need to rehearse the call ahead of time, so be it. This might be especially useful if you are new and still learning the finer points of your property. Other ways to avoid a lapse in conversation include:
- Having an outline of every point you want to make so you don’t leave anything important out.
- Preparing open-ended questions that motivate prospects to fill in the blanks.
- Knowing when to make your final pitch to reach your goal for the call.
No. 2: Failing to prepare
As they say, preparation is half the battle. Before you ever pick up the phone, you should know everything possible about the prospect and how best to approach them. Things like:
- Specific details about the group—you want to be able to make an argument early on that your property is uniquely suited to their organization’s needs. To do that, you need background information on what they do and how they do it.
- Who you are ultimately trying to reach—most of the time you will have to go through an assistant or two before you get to the actual decision-maker. When you can ask for that specific person, the gatekeeper is much more likely to believe you have something relevant to share. Knowing who the person to talk to is when you call will also substantially cut down on the number of transfers you have to go through.
- What your objective for the call is—are you just trying to set up a future sales appointment? Hear more from the prospect about what they are interested in? Highlight a specific amenity that would benefit them most? Knowing in advance what your end goal is helps ensure you make tangible progress every call.
No. 1: Avoiding the calls altogether!
This is hands down the biggest cold calling mistake, and it is one that is made every day by hotel sales managers across the globe. If you are going to work in hotel sales, you must be committed to making the calls every day—regardless of all the little distractions that come up. With group business still down, hotel sales teams have to be proactive by reaching out to new groups in emerging markets.
Every call that isn’t made is the same or worse than a hard no. Even the most inexperienced cold caller will still bring in more business than one who doesn’t call at all. The more calls you make, the more new groups you bring to your hotel. It’s that simple.