The Impact of the Informed Buyer on the Sales Role

According to Daniel Pink, bestselling author of “To Sell is Human,” sales has changed more in the past 10 years than the previous 100. Technology and the availability of information is driving this change and sales people are no longer the gatekeeper of information about their product or service. Buyers are more informed than ever before and no longer need sales people for information.

Because of technology, buyers can be 60% through their buying journey before they ever engage with a sales person. Sales people are entering the conversations with clients later on in the buying cycle making it difficult to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Although the buying process has evolved, the sales profession is having a hard time catching up and is still selling like it was 1980. According to a study by Forrester Research that asked clients whether they valued their conversations with sales people, only 15% of those surveyed said yes. This exposes a major gap between what buyers are expecting vs. what they are actually receiving during their buying process.

I recently moderated a panel discussion at GBTA’s Convention in Toronto to engage buyers and sellers in a discussion on how to bridge this gap. What was the result? Well a big message from the buyers in the session was: Do your homework, understand my business and tell me how you can help.

It seems like common sense but talk to any buyer who has had a “product dumping” presentation from one of their sales contacts and they will quickly tell you it’s not common practice. Buyers are looking for sales people to connect with them in a more relevant way that addresses their specific business needs.

In fairness to the sales profession, the rules of engagement have changed and what has traditionally worked in the past no longer serves clients today. Sales people have been trained to sell their product so there is shift in mindset that needs to happen for sales people to start looking at the process through the eyes of the client.

Traditional sales people are faced with an identity crisis and are trying to understand what their new role is. It’s like the parent who is faced with their son or daughter going off to university. Although they are still needed, they are no longer needed in the same way.

And although it is absolutely the responsibility of the sales person to do their homework and understand their client’s business, as buyers, there are things you can also do to help bridge the gap that exists today between clients and sellers:

  • Be clear on your expectations about what you value and don’t value during your buying process.
  • Be transparent about how you prefer to communicate i.e.: face to face meetings, email, phone
  • Provide details of your purchasing process so they better understand how to manage your account to provide you with the best solution.
  • The more information you can provide about your decision making process (i.e.: criteria, timelines, budget), the more relevant their solution will be to meet your needs.
  • Don’t treat the buying process like a transaction. Building strong relationships with sellers (the client centric ones) will only help you do your job better.

It is a time of transition in the sales industry as we try to figure out how to sell to this new, highly informed buyer. One thing that was clear from the GBTA session: sales people want to get it right and understand how to add value and clients are waiting in anticipation. Bridging this gap so that clients get what they need out of the buying process is a win for everyone.

Some of Our Clients

Proudly Serving Clients throughout US & Canada

“Before working with Gillis Consulting, the sales efforts were left to the responsibility of each hotel general manager. With daily and continuous competing priorities, our general managers were not always able to complete consistent efforts in prospecting for new business. Since introducing with Gillis, we have a consistent, full-time sales efforts! This pressure has been removed from our general managers giving them more time and energy to focus on continuing to run award winning properties and taking care of our team and our guests. The biggest benefit to partnering with Gillis is we do not have to manage our sales personal. In the event of vacations, turnover, as an example, Gillis ensures someone is available to our hotels to continue our sales efforts and cycle with no down time. We also don’t have to manage training, expense accounts, or reporting and software. We have recommended Gillis’ sales solution to three other hotels who since have also successfully joined the program.”
Tyson Ghostkeeper -

Director of Operations, Mouallem Management Group

“We had the good fortune of engaging Gillis after years of managing our sales effort inhouse. They came highly recommended through brand leadership and seasoned sales professionals – and they haven’t disappointed. Despite only a few months into our relationship, they have had an immediate impact on our hotels and key account relationships. The Gillis team has already established themselves as one of our most valued and trusted advisors and partners. They have always displayed the professionalism, passion and accountability demanded by their profession. The Gillis team is well prepared, highly engaged and goal orientated. To this end, they have solidified accounts, delivered new bookings and helped to diversify our business drivers. As a result, they have earned the deep respect and trust of our organization. I would not hesitate to recommend Gillis for any organization that requires the highest levels of sales performance, execution and professionalism.”
Perry Batke -

CHA, General Manager, Denham Hospitality Organization

“When we made the decision to lock arms with the Gillis Sales team, we were a relatively new property in a rural tertiary market. In the midst of an economic downturn, with limited ability to attract a qualified onsite sales manager, we decided to try this sales approach to increase our revenue. Once we found the right staff fit from the Gillis team we were able to experience greater success in sourcing out and securing business for the hotel. Some of the advantages of using Gillis has been the quality of skilled individuals that have been able to support our onsite sales team. I have greater confidence in knowing that sales efforts are happening and being executed in a professional manner and above all have appreciated the learning that has transpired because of this association. I would certainly recommend this program if you have experienced any of the challenges that we have. The management team is committed to ensuring the success of the program and have given our property the best that they have to offer.”
Jacquie Corkery -

Owner/General Manager, Best Western Plus

“When we made the decision to give Gillis a try we were struggling, particularly with getting groups to stay at our hotel. However, since we teamed up with Gillis, we have not experienced any problems. We have been using Gillis for almost two years now and we have seen a huge impact on our business. It has been such a pleasure working with Gillis. I absolutely love our salesperson; we have a great connection. I know I can reach out to him anytime I need to, he knows my goals, where I need to go, what budget I must meet, and he works hard to help me meet them. No matter who we work with on the Gillis team, they are always understanding of what we are looking for and trying to achieve. They really work with our goals. I would absolutely recommend their sales support services. We came into the program willing to give it a try and see if we can get a return on our investment. We were able to get our ROI and then some, resulting in us making the decision to stay in the program. I am not sure how we did it so many years without Gillis.”
Nicki Moser -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Before working with Gillis, we were not in a good situation. We were not able to respond to many of the leads that came through RFP, Nexus or hotel direct.  As a result, we lost a lot of business. After we joined Gillis, they took charge of everything. They have helped us understand our market and obtain base business in terms of groups. This really helped us to be #1 in the market, which we will be closing the year as such. The Gillis sales support services are customized and tailored to the needs of hotels. We are a hotel that has a HIGH volume of direct leads, and we tailored the program for a lead only model. This has allowed me to focus my time in other areas, such as operations, yielding rates, better understanding my market, training and coaching my staff, and ensuring that our revenue is in line with our strategies and goals. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone! It is very cost-effective. If I had to hire a Sales Manager to do the same work that Gillis does, it would have been at a much higher salary. In addition, we are receiving the same level of commitment and service from our Business Development Manager that we would from a Sales Manager.”
Vandana Kumari -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Tammy Gillis and her organization have been nothing short of amazing! We have seen an approximate ROI of 10x at our BW PLUS hotel as well as a ROI of 4-5x at our BW hotel. The sales team is so dedicated, passionate and driven to deliver revenue to hotels. I just wish we started sooner with Gillis!”
Hitesh Patel -

President, Colorado Hospitality, Inc.

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