In the world of sales, I have always been told it is not what you know but who you know. Then I heard it is not who you know but who knows you. Today, I believe it is a combination of all three: what you know, who you know and who knows you.
What you know is about credibility. Knowing the nuances and intricate details of your hotel makes you better prepared to help prospects and customers with their needs. (Oh yeah, in case you forgot, it’s all about the customer.) Being educated about your product will help your prospects feel better about making a buying decision with you.
It is not enough to know your business; you also have to know your competitors’ business. At a minimum, you need to know their hotels, inside and out. If you can get the information from the internet, your prospects can too, but that will not give you the edge you need to outsell them. The intangible is where you can really make a difference. What your prospects do not have access to is your competitors’ culture. How much turnover do they have? What is the common attitude of the associates? Is it fun to work there? This is where your knowledge of the less obvious will give you the advantage.
After you are able to sell your competitors’ products as effectively as you can sell your own, you are ready to connect with who you know, a.k.a. your network. Obviously, you reach out to previous customers, conduct maintenance calls on current customers, and attend local networking events to find new prospects. Here are some not-so-obvious networking tactics:
- Infiltrate your top 10 accounts to find new contacts/business
- Host a virtual event via Youtube or Instagram at your hotel
- Utilize social media for introductions to target prospects
- And the most commonly forgotten step of the sales call (drum roll please…): ask everyone you meet for a referral by simply saying, “Is there anyone else you recommend I speak with?”
Finally, it is about who knows you. In order to be top-of-mind with your customers and prospects, you have to be visible. Every person that crosses your path is a potential customer or can lead you to one. Take risks, introduce yourself to strangers, pass out business cards and use social media. The wider your network, the more sales success you will have.
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Toni Jacaruso, CEO of Jacaruso Enterprises Inc.
March 24, 2021