Scripts are a great temporary tool, especially for those who are moving into sales from another position within a hotel or have limited experience calling on prospects.
A properly designed script allows you and your prospect to have a conversation to discuss his needs and for you to be able to identify if your hotel is the right fit for his next meeting or event.
Once you are comfortable handling objections and general questions, you should wean yourself off of the script as soon as possible.
When you take the time to conduct some basic research about your prospect, his company, corporate culture and his past meetings or events, you should know enough about him that your call becomes a conversation instead of a ‘cold’ call.
Your Opening Greeting
The minute that your prospects answers your call you should open with a professional greeting that contains your first and last name and the name of your hotel. If you have never spoken to the prospect it is OK to use his first name. This will most likely keep him from putting up his guard based upon his past experience with telemarketers who historically use “Can I speak with Mr. Jones?”.
“Hi/Hello Bill. My name is (your first and last name) and I am with (your hotel name) in (your city).”
“Do you have a quick minute/moment to speak with me?”
Your opening greeting has established three things. One – Since you conducted some research on Bill, you are somewhat confident that he is at least one prospect within this company that could potentially book business at your hotel. Two – You have asked Bill’s permission to continue the conversation. I prefer the question ‘quick minute/moment to speak’ over ‘Did I catch you at a bad time’ because often there is no good time, unless you made a prior appointment to call at a specific time, and using the word ‘bad’ often brings with it a negative connotation. Three – Bill said the word “Yes”.
I have lost count as to how many hotel sales managers who have called me over the years and went right into their pitch without asking me if it was a good time or not to talk. Your prospect’s time is just as valuable as yours so be respectful of it and avoid bowling him over with information overload.
“Thank you, Bill. I know that you are busy so I will make this brief.”
You have once again shown your respect of Bill’s time and have let him know that your intention is not to waste it by suggesting that your conversation will be brief.
If, for some unforeseen reason, your end of the conversation turns into babble at this point, you have breached what little trust Bill has placed in you and there will be little to no room to win him back.
“I looked at (name of Bill’s company’s website or some other source that you have identified) and noted that (Bill’s company) holds an annual meeting/event.”
If you know where Bill’s next meeting or event will be held then continue with this statement.
“This year I see that (Bill’s company) is going to (hotel name) in (city/destination).”
You have demonstrated to Bill that you have done your homework and a statement of this nature is most likely more than your what your competitor will use when he speaks to Bill. Once again, Bill said the word “Yes”.
The more you get Bill to say the word “Yes” the more time you will be granted to ask him questions.
“Are you involved in the planning/organization of that meeting/event?”
It is important that you uncover who the stakeholders or decision makers are, in addition to Bill, so you don’t spin your wheels with the wrong person.
If Bill is not the stakeholder or decision maker, follow up with this simple question.
“Who do you suggest that I speak with?”
For this exercise let’s say Bill is your guy.
“Bill is (your destination) a potential destination for your future meeting/event?”
If Bill says no, then you can thank him for his time and consideration and move on to your next call.
If you are a sales manager who wants to make the most out of each call, you can always ask Bill to refer you to another individual, company or organization that might consider your hotel for a future meeting or event.
“Bill, as the (Bill’s title) with (Bill’s company) you probably run into a number of others like yourself who hold meetings and events.”
“Is there anyone else that comes to mind who you think might consider (your destination) for a meeting/event?”
It’s a long shot but you never know the answer if you don’t ask the question.
Let’s proceed with Bill as the decision maker.
“Could you tell me what you look for in a hotel?”
or drill down and ask
“Could you tell me the three most important things that you look for in a hotel?”
Listen closely to his response. How does your hotel stack up. Is your hotel in a similar location (city/airport/suburbs)? Does your hotel have enough guest rooms (singles/doubles/suites), meeting/event space, distance from airport/hotel, shuttle service, offsite activities, rate, chain affiliation, amenities etc.?
If Bill is not spilling his guts and you feel that he is open to answer a couple of questions, ask some of the above. If you decide to discuss rate, ask for a rate range. If your hotel is not in his rate wheelhouse, then you can opt to end the discussion or ask for a referral.
If your hotel appears to be an option for Bill’s consideration then it’s time to move to the next step and that is to send him your hotel’s collateral or kit for his review.
“Bill, can I forward you some additional information about our hotel? Would you prefer to receive that by mail or email?” “Email?” “What is your address, please?”
The Wrap Up
“Bill thank you once again for your time and consideration and when would be the best time for me to follow up with you?”
One final note. Take the time to practice your script before you use it on a prospect. You can record it, practice in front of a mirror or use family or friends as the prospect.
A conversation is a two-way street where people talk and listen. When your script eventually becomes a part of you and your personality, you will have a higher success rate calling on and winning over prospects.
Tell me about your script and what other elements that you would like to share with new sales managers.
Tom Costello is the President and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a hotel consulting and sales training company that helps hotel owners and their sales teams grow their business and generate more sales.