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Shake Up Your Sales

Serious lodging industry sales professionals know it’s critical to constantly reevaluate the sales process. Here’s some great ideas that will yield you success.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Hey industry suppliers: It’s time for you to shake up your sales.

You got it, now is the perfect time to reevaluate how you are communicating with hotel industry buyers to maximize those sales and create ongoing relationships that goes beyond the invoice. The industry may be in record breaking mode, so the question becomes is your company breaking records too?

Either way with the industry in what we call the sweet spot, what better time than to rethink how you connect with those companies buying your products and services.

But starting from scratch just isn’t all that easy so we went ahead and got the experts to weigh in on what they do that helps goose sales and keep buyers engaged for the long term.

And we did it all at last week’s BITAC® Luxury where we got amazing insight on better ways to do the stuff we all take for granted during the sales process.

BITAC® is of course the industry leading one-on-one meetings and relationship building event. This week marks the 47th BITAC® meeting, which is attracted the luxury lodging executive elite representing leading and forward thinking companies. And they’re all here to come together at BITAC® to problem solve, network, sign deals and exchange ideas to move forward the quality of experiences for hotel guests, while adding profits to the bottom line. There’s even time to cut loose, be social and network in a luxurious and relaxed environment.

Javed Bhaghani, President of Biscayne Hospitality – a company that manufacturers furniture, millwork & soft seating - said too many industry suppliers don’t understand what it’s like to be a lodging executive tasked to make large purchases. And in order to really connect with them it’s not about trying to make a sale, it’s about building trust.

“We have to put ourselves in the focus of the buyer and understand what it’s like to walk around in their shoes. Then it is about trust building activities so they can understand what you are all about as a person as well as a professional.

“It’s also important to understand the dynamics of their position. Try to take the fact they will be presenting to their board and listen carefully to what is important to them,” said Bhaghani.

Michael Richman, Vice President with Cabanas by Academy – a company specializing in accessories, awnings/canopies, fabric and textiles agrees. “People buy from people. The more of the relationship you build, the more there is an exchange of trust,” he said. To build that trust Richman says to listen and hear what is going on in their lives. That will give suppliers a chance to send those people congratulations on promotions or other important life events. Also he suggests thanking people who refer business too.

Which brings up another great point, communicating for the sake of communicating. Not as a direct result of desiring to make a sale. Bhaghani said he regularly calls on customers just to say thank you for their help putting food on his table so he can take care of his family.

“Call customers every once in a while just to appreciate them as people. Sometimes I’ll get a funny reaction because they cannot believe I am calling and not trying to sell them. It’s all about being grateful,” said Bhaghani, who also thanks lodging executives with a small thank you such as a box of chocolates with every order they place; no matter the size.

Richman added that it’s critical to make sure you have the basics down as well. “You can’t forget about the little things because they add up too. “Make those phone calls, make sure they get the samples and always tell the truth. It’s important as sales people to communicate with customers. And know that everyone makes mistakes because nothing is going to go 100 percent perfectly all of the time, but if we communicate and are honest it shows value,” Richman said.

One last tip from Bhaghani is to get to know the property you are selling to. “You have to walk the property. And be sure to ask housekeeping, general managers and anyone you can find what problems they are having. These questions yield simple solutions that lead to innovations. It’s critical to get to the ground level with people who are dealing with effectiveness of the products you offer. Also the more we can bring the manufacturer in on the front end, the more value it brings. We encourage the people we work with to have transparency so that way everyone can find success,” said Bhaghani.

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