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Best Practices Survey Summary

The Survey

Lynne Wellish
CMP, CHSE

LoriAnn Harnish
CMP, CMM, CED

Many ongoing changes to the hospitality industry have occurred over the past 18 months. I surveyed my network to gain a better understanding of the current trends and challenges in the marketplace to provide helpful advice.

I asked three quick questions in my mini survey:

  1. What kind of salesperson are you today as compared to a year ago?
  2. What do you see as the biggest challenge in responding to inquiries?
  3. What’s your biggest obstacle while adding new clients?

The responses were both interesting and enlightening! I compiled and analyzed the data, with the help of LoriAnn Harnish CMP CMM CED and I’m excited to share the results and my recommendations with you.

Below are the common themes and experiences from the responses.

Observations & Recommendations

Given these responses, LoriAnn and I are happy to share our recommendations to remedy some of the challenges and issues. The fluidity of the marketplace will provide and create opportunities on an ongoing basis.

To build relationships with virtual clients, at the commencement of a meeting, take the first few minutes to get to know them on a more personal level by engaging in chit-chat about pop culture such as TV shows, podcasts, music, books, and movies. It’s a great way to find connections and get the conversation flowing. Given the difficulties experienced, go out of your way to be helpful, it will certainty help you stand out from your competitors. You could offer a value add at no extra charge or host a giveaway for one free consulting call. Keep your services top of mind by creating more video content to support your clients, it’s a great opportunity for them to engage with you on a regular basis. Lastly, get together virtually with your team and network to watch sports together – you send the snacks and beverages.

If you are looking to embrace technology and increase efficiency with virtual clients, I recommend using templates. Experienced sales professionals know what questions their customers ask time after time. Highlight the benefits of the technology you’d like your team to utilize to ensure they’re on board and help them understand the decision to implement new technology. I also recommend providing ongoing training, particularly for technology. This will avoid team members from becoming frustrated and underperforming.

As obtaining new clients is key to growing your business, provide them with useful information that will ensure they see you as an industry leader. Invite them to webinars, teach them practical skills and share them in bite-sized formats (these are also great for content to share on your social media networks). As an expert in your industry, remember to keep educating yourself to stay ahead of the market and trends, this will give you a competitive edge.

If you’re interested in learning more about securing and growing your business in these new economic times, please feel free to get in touch with me at Lynne@lynnewellish.com , I am more than happy to chat with you about how I can help.

The Responses

Positive Changes

  • Salespeople are more focused
  • More efficient processes
  • Reconnected with clients in a genuine real time manner
  • Ability to identify their real customer
  • Teamwork helped to overcome obstacles

Relationship Building

  • Increasing importance of building relationships and connecting with clients
  • Educating, communicating, and asking probing questions to assist decision making
  • Gauging how results focused to be during a difficult economic and emotional time
  • Price sensitivity increased
  • Difficulty pitching to clients who are not tech savvy
  • Difficulty maintaining current clients if there was no previously established trust
  • Challenging to keep communication flowing without face-to-face interactions
  • Remaining sensitive to clients’ experiences personally and professionally

Resources

  • Clients have limited staff
  • Vendors are short staffed and don’t have sufficient product
  • Inquiries are incomplete
  • Safety protocols may or may not be executed due to lack of staff

Job Performance

  • Many reported to be as busy as ever
  • Focusing on efficiency
  • Challenging to respond in a timely manner and to achieve optimal workflow
  • Challenging to secure requested dates and receive responses from clients

Professional Knowledge and Skills

  • Sales and technology skills became the survival foundation
  • Revisiting previous skills like attention to detail, listening and communication, conversion of existing processes to virtual platforms
  • Difficulty knowing the right answer in an ever-changing environment
  • Faced challenges around social media and technology for marketing purposes
  • Skill updates required for new processes
  • Unsure of how to ask for business considering the current business position of clients

Values, Perceptions, and Thoughts

  • Some responders felt their skills were rusty
  • Others were innovative and began to think outside the box
  • Challenges included the client being more price sensitive and asking for a deal
  • Unknown restrictions and guidelines created challenges
  • Finding ways to stay true to company goals and objectives during volatile times

Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Embracing new work environment
  • Remaining flexible and efficient while wearing many hats
  • Maintaining professionalism in their personal space
  • Engaged creativity and customized options
  • Utilized virtual platforms like Zoom
  • Planning to serve clients upon return to in-person interactions
  • Pricing fluctuations were a big challenge
  • Aligning social distancing rules with meeting room design

Intuitiveness and Awareness

  • Awareness of the competition and what others are experiencing professionally and personally
  • Use of caution, were wiser, embraced patience and understanding
  • More relaxed approach while maintaining professionalism
  • Awareness