It goes without saying that the job of a hotel sales manager is demanding but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Ozgur Yucesan spent several years as a hotel sales manager in Dubai before taking his current position as director of international sales for JW Marriott in Bucharest, Romania.
Ozgur recently chatted with Hosco and gave us some of his advice for how to succeed in the role. His career path is a great example of what you can achieve in the hospitality industry if you’ve got a sales oriented mindset.
Be on the hunt
The main goal of the sales manager is to bring people and revenue into the hotel. This means you have to do everything you can to acquire new customers.
You should be picking up the phones to make calls, hitting the streets to introduce yourself in person, or even flying to meet with a potential client if the account would be worth the trip.
You can hand off some of the heavy lifting and maintenance of your sales associates but you have to be leading the charge when it comes to wrangling new accounts, especially the big fish.
There’s different ways of acquiring new business. Sometimes companies will approach you themselves to propose a working partnership. Those are the best because they require very little initial effort to convince.
Sometimes we go and knock on doors to discover opportunities. Like “We heard you’ve got a project coming up and we just want you to know that we’re right next door if you need our services”.
Recently, we’ve started doing more hunting. As a sales manager, I’m expected to explore all existing opportunities in our market while also sustaining our current accounts.
Listening makes the sale
You might think that the best way to make a sale is to talk as much as you have to until the client says yes. Any experienced hotel sales manager can tell you that’s a good way to make zero commission. If you want to become a great hotel sales manager, you must master the art of active listening.
Being an attentive listener lets you absorb more than just the information being communicated. You’ll be able to understand your clients on an emotional level. These extra interpersonal data points will allow you to come up with a pitch that is suited specifically to challenges and motivations of your clients.
Listening closely to your clients will also allow you to identify new opportunities for business. Perhaps you overlooked how one of your services could solve their needs. Or maybe by realizing that you don’t have a service to help them, you can try to develop and offer it in the future.
Salespeople love talking, which is probably no surprise, but the most important part is the listening. I often find sales associates giving completely irrelevant answers to questions because they were waiting to talk instead of actively listening. Just to showcase their perceived strengths.
Rather, I would appreciate it if they would tell me “look, this is an area I need to improve in and I would love your help to get better”. Listening and being humble will always get you much further than talking just for the sake of it.
Empathize with your clients
Everybody goes into a sales meeting with needs, both the salesperson and the client they’re selling to. Remembering this before every encounter will not only help remind yourself of your goal but the clients as well.
Keeping their needs and motivations in mind will help you prepare for every meeting by looking at things from their perspective. In doing so, you’ll see how you can improve and tailor your pitch to reflect their situation.
By putting yourself in your clients shoes, you’ll be able to see where the pressure is coming from on their end. This lets you have a clearer idea of the motivations underlying their needs and provide customized solutions to their problems.
An empathetic hotel sales manager is also more likely to make genuine connections with their clients. These are the types of connections that build long term trust and lead to repeat customers.
If someone likes and trusts you, they will be more inclined to do business with you on a regular basis. Showing that you truly care about helping your clients and not just selling to them goes a long way.
I think having empathy is really important for anybody working in hospitality, not only in the sales side of things. Having empathy will allow you to put yourself in the shoes of your client or guest and respond in a gracious manner.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to remain calm when a guest is being impolite but an empathetic person can see the person behind the rudeness to react with patience and grace.
Follow Ozgur’s advice for hospitality success. If you think you’ve got what it takes to drive revenue to your hotel, check out the open hotel sales manager jobs available on Hosco today!