The way business is getting done by smart suppliers is shifting. Most supplier side industry insiders realize the best approach to connecting with the customer has nothing to do with the typical sales spiel. And many are starting to argue it doesn’t necessarily even have to do with the product itself and getting business done has more to do with having the buyer emotionally connect with a supplier.
So savvy sellers are creating solution oriented sales techniques where partnering with industry buyers to problem solve gets the inside track. That is, it gives sales people the chance to discover true opportunities that just don’t make a sale but also forge lasting relationships. And the key to that is actually pretty simple: Listening to Your Customer.
After all, if you pay attention to what your potential customer has to say – and we mean really listen – then the supplier will truly learn how to fulfill the buyer’s needs. It’s making many lodging business suppliers they’re realizing the need to think more about listening to their customers to correctly decipher how to create best in class solutions.
At this week’s BITAC Luxury we focused this morning on empowering attendees to forge better buyer-supplier relationships and got leading companies to share their business building and relationship building secrets.
BITAC of course is the industry leading one-on-one meetings and relationship building event. And at our BITAC Luxury event being held this week a record breaking crowd is making this our biggest and best event in the near nine years that BITAC has existed. But this crowd was not only record breaking; attendees here represent the crème de la crème of the lodging industry. Call it the ultimate group of insiders and decision makers. And they were all here to come together for the most exciting BITAC to date to network, sign deals and swap their thoughts they believe will move forward the quality of experiences for hotel guests while adding profits to the bottom line.
That’s because BITAC is the must attend fundamentally focused idea exchange where buyers and suppliers can work through solutions together that yield both sides more profitable results.
“It is about strong communication,” said Shannon Davis, VP Sales, Selamat Designs. “This business is as much about relationships as product. You have to have an open relationship to understand what their needs are. We work very hard to talk to customers and have a real relationship with them because it makes everyone better that way.”
Michael Richman, VP of Cabanas by Academy said it’s also critical to be proactive by offering up solutions and directly asking how a supplier can help for upcoming projects. “Being proactive with customers, knowing what projects they have and approaching them before they come to us is paramount. Go to them and ask them how to make their job easier. Vendors who make your life easy are the ones you want to do business with.”
“We are finding communication has flipped smaller crews doing more work and they are short on time, we are making info more accessible to them. We are all working 24 hours a day, so we give them tools to do make it as easy as possible, said Manolil Sargetakis, Principal of Silver State, Inc.
John Reader, Global Sales Director of Hospitality with Desso Hospitality Carpet, agrees that people are overworked. People are on information overload and are inundated with emails that come so fast the recipients don’t have time to read them all. Their solution: Visual email blasts.
“We are trying to bring a new design collection to market every six weeks and send out a picture of it. We sent an email blast with newest collection recently and had about 15-20 responses right away asking about who their rep is and if they can buy some product.
“Messages need to be visual. If we put glorious design out there for people to see responses will come back,” said Reader.
Utilizing a real time voting system here at BITAC we were able to get attendee opinions this morning at BITAC Luxury.
While communication is critical, it won’t get you anywhere as a supplier without innovation. So we asked if “suppliers are continuing to innovate at a strong pace.” And it looks the industry is on an innovation roll with 27.0% saying ‘Absolutely’ while an additional 50.4% said ‘Somewhat’ while 20.6 % said ‘They could do a better job.” Just 2.1% had no opinion.
Here’s some answers to other questions we asked:
Do you feel suppliers are effective at maximize use of their product on the hotel level? i.e. staff training of product, etc.
Absolutely – 7.1%
Somewhat – 35.7%
I am not sure – 38.1%
They could do a better job – 3.6%
They are never involved once contract is signed
Who is driving the product innovation process?
Industry suppliers – 55.1%
Hotel executives requesting something specific and new – 29.0%
Hotel executives just generally prodding for something different – 15.9%
Do you believe suppliers can be a valuable information resource for buyers?
Absolutely – 90.8%
Somewhat – 6.7%
They could do a better job – 2.5%