“Salesperson” – Often this word conjures up stereotypical images of a crass and untrustworthy character sporting a mustache and a plaid suit puffing away on a cigar. We can be thankful that in the meetings and conventions industry, we interact with professionals who make the meeting planner’s interests a priority. At The Howes Group, it is our job to interact with the sales teams of hotel and convention centres and navigate through the selection and negotiation process with them. Below are the top 5 signs that tell us we are dealing with pros:
1. You are doing most of the talking in interactions with a hotel salesperson. If you are doing most of the talking, the sales person is listening and has likely asked you a lot of good questions to find out more about your event and your expectations.
2. They meet their deadlines. Sales people are extremely busy and have many different clients to work with. You will not always be their top priority but they will make you feel like you are their top priority. With the help of their sales coordinator (the unsung hero in the sales office) they will get you your proposal and contract by the time they said they would and they will contact you if there are delays.
3. They don’t disappear after the sale. They follow-up with you at various intervals prior to and after your event to ensure you are satisfied. If there is a mistake made or an issue that has arisen after the files have been handed off to the convention services manager, they stay engaged with their clients along with their operations team to ensure that things are handled to the client’s satisfaction.
4. They sell their product on its strengths instead of putting down the competition’s product. A salesperson shouldn’t talk negatively about a competitor’s product. This is generally a widely held belief in the hospitality industry since many partners have to work so closely together at various times. Selling of one’s product should be done based on the merits of your own product and not on the faults of the competitors.
5. Great salespeople are interested in a long-term relationship. To achieve this they won’t oversell their product to get the sale. They want to create a relationship built on trust. If there is a limitation to their hotel or venue as it relates to your requirements they will point it out and see if you have some flexibility with your event to work with the limitations of the venue. They might lose the sale as a result, but at least they have gained the potential for future events and referrals.