Let’s Talk About the “Accidental Salesperson”
The hospitality industry is one of the world’s largest employers. It also has an extremely high annual turnover rate: 73.8 percent. Sales and operations are no exception. In a good economy, this meant a labor shortage for those running sales departments in hotels or trying to make their own sales quotas.
The decade before 2020 has shown us that it is almost impossible to find and keep a good salesperson. For a few dollars more, your star player in sales could be persuaded to join the competition. Finding a replacement could take months, adding a further burden to the already overworked general manager. This was devasting for the sales function.
As a result, the sales function for the most part, was forced to take a back seat to operations. Most employed in sales were also frustrated. The day-to-day drag of selling rates, dates, and space, getting pulled into operations, or having to attend too many meetings didn’t contribute to positive employee engagement. And so, the cycle spiraled downwards: salespeople ended up going to the competition or leaving the industry altogether.
All of this exposed a general lack of sales training and rigour in the industry, particularly when it came to hiring and retaining staff—factors that show up when we talk about how most got into the industry in the first place: by accident.
Moving beyond the accidental salesperson
No one grows up saying they want to become a professional salesperson when they get older. Most salespeople stumble into their sales career. If there’s a labor shortage, such as we have seen in the past year, many have been reassigned or furloughed. Others are “temporarily” moved into a sales position, often from operations, because they were good at working at the front desk or as a coordinator and showed some aptitude for building relationships.
While some have a good overview of the market and may have even taken online training with their brand, they may not have the skills needed to feel confident in the role. Some may have enough knowledge to speak about key features of the hotel. They may have been great at conducting a property site inspection with a potential client and could even attend a networking event and hand out business cards.
But for accidental salespeople, that’s usually the extent of their training in sales. The reality is that if you’re trying to be a qualified sales professional, there’s no training or required certification to make sure you understand and know how to do all aspects of your job.
Now our industry is facing a potential onslaught of travelers as many hit the road this summer, looking to escape their homes after a year of quarantine. But today’s modern buyer is more informed than ever before. Does your team have the right mindset and skillset to shift from selling “rates, dates, and space” to offering meaningful relevant solutions? Are they able to differentiate your hotel from the competition? Do they have the training skills they need to effectively articulate your value proposition?
Gillis is committed to elevating the sales profession by helping prepare staff to better engage with today’s buyer through training, consulting and ongoing support as our industry recovers.
Whether your sales team is large or small, if you take the time to ensure they have the proper training to do the job right you will increase your success rate when prospecting and be seen as a trusted advisor.
Don’t leave sales to chance. Contact us today to learn how to shorten the sales cycle and provide your team with best practices on how to nurture and activate your accounts.