Email is arguably the number one tool used for prospecting yet many hotel sales managers remain in the dark about how to harness this powerful tool’s full potential that can turn a cold contact into a lead.
Because the key element, and one that will get the attention of your recipient, is that it must be about your prospect and what problems you and your hotel can solve for him.
What I see, from the hundreds of emails that I receive each year from hotel sales managers, is quite the opposite.
Here is just one example that includes all of the components of a typical email fail that hotel sales managers must avoid.
Subject: Looking for a new venue?
I wanted to touch base with you and introduce myself as the Sales Manager, I am the primary contact for any guestrooms and event needs. I want to know how I might win your business and would like to hear your needs and priorities. I’ve included some information on the XYZ Hotel, attached you will find:
§ Our XYZ Hotel Power Point on the Transformation
§ Our Latest Incentive
§ We offer specific Meeting Incentives, too!
To be inspired, I invite you to take a journey about XYZ Hotel’s warm, connected, community style, check out our website at http://www.xyzhotel.com. I would love the opportunity to develop a memorable event for you, please let me know what is most important to you when selecting a hotel and if you have any upcoming hotel requests.
Experience our relaxing environment while familiarizing your mind to endless potential with XYZ Hotel. XYZ has completed a fabulous transformation that I would love to update you on! Please let me know when a convenient time might be that I may contact you to discuss.
Enjoy your day!
Fail #1 – A Weak Subject Line
Don’t assume that the email recipient is just sitting around waiting to receive your pitch so you have to catch their attention with something more impactful than “Looking for a new venue?”. Since your profession is sales and not copywriting, it is important to know as much as 40 percent of a recipient’s decision to open an email is based on the subject as well as you, the sender.
If you want your email to be read, you should ask yourself the following questions before you start writing the content of your email.
- Does the subject offer the prospect a reward for reading? (WII-FM What’s in it for me?)
- Can specifics be included to make the email subject more intriguing, believable and credible?
- Will the subject trigger a strongly positive, actionable emotion for the prospect?
- Will the subject topic immediately resonate with prospect?
- Could the email subject benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?
- Could an element of intrigue be added to drive the prospect into opening the copy?
You should spend half of the entire time that it takes to write a piece of persuasive content on your subject line. So if you have a message that is important to you and your hotel, one that you really want recipients to read, you should obsess over your subject line.
Fail #2 – The Body of the Email
If I have seen one I have seen a thousand emails from hotel sales managers that sell the features and benefits of their hotel with the hope of enticing a prospect to pick up the phone and say “Golly gee, send me a contract!”.
Those of you who still pitch features and benefits instead of uncovering problems, suffer with this email blunder the most. The problem is that features and benefits are not solutions, and you cannot present a solution until you find a need, and you cannot find a need until you unearth the problem.
Remember the line in the hotel sales manager’s email above that said “I want to know how I might win your business and would like to hear your needs and priorities?”
When you send prospects an email pitch, don’t forget that it is your responsibility to move them through your sales pipeline.
The best way to “connect”, uncover a need, and win a piece of business is to PICK UP THE PHONE AND FIND OUT!
Fail #3 – Email Signature Essentials
Hotel sales managers do a pretty good job at including most of their important signature information such as name, title, hotel name, mailing address, phone, fax, email address, website address, tag line, and logo. For those of you who don’t include these contact essentials, make a note to do so before your next email.
Since most of you have expressed the need to hop on the social media bandwagon, where in the world is your corporate Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn links? If you are not banned by your hotel management company or corporate office from including such information, add it.
If you have Windows and are running Microsoft Outlook – the following link shows you how to set up your signature:
If you have a Mac – the following link shows you how to set up your signature:
Fail #4 – The Shotgun Approach
If you rely on a shotgun approach (pulling email addresses of current and prospective customers from your CRM system and sending them what you feel is a value proposition) you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Yes it is a numbers game, as far as you or your marketing department are concerned, but you will be clueless about the prospect’s potential if he does not respond to your message or value proposition.
The solution to this trigger happy approach is to pull the list from your system and divide it into three categories that starts with “A” (your high-target prospects) through “C” (those that have a lowest probability of converting).
On Wednesday or Thursday following the distribution of your email, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL your “A” and “B” lists to find out what their status is and if and when your hotel or destination might be under consideration and ask an additional question or two that can reveal other opportunities (another one of your hotels in another city perhaps).
If you have not received a response from your “C” list you can elect to call them or send them a point-and-click survey in thirty days (SurveyMonkey as an example) that can help to identify if you have any real chance of converting them now or in the not-too-distant future.
Email Fails are just one of the subjects I cover in my new workshop – Mapping the Course that is specifically designed to help hotel sales managers achieve their personal and professional goals.
Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement firm, that helps hotels and their sales managers grow their business and generate more revenue.