Best Business Practices Between Meeting Professionals and Hospitality Sales Executives
Another year has passed and with the marketplace in constant flux. We decided to survey our network again to gain an updated understanding of the current trends and challenges to provide up to the minute helpful advice.
The four questions we asked in our survey:
- What kind of salesperson are you today as compared to a year ago?
- What do you see as the biggest challenge in responding to inquiries?
- What’s your biggest obstacle while adding new clients?
- What was the biggest hurdle in contract negotiations?
We are happy to share the responses today compared to a year ago indicate that salespeople are feeling positive and optimistic, they are truly ready for customers. As a bonus, they feel they are more personable and better in their roles overall.
We have compiled and analyzed the data and have shared the results in the form of common themes and experiences, as well as our recommendations with you below.
- More personable and understanding of how to navigate the current climate and COVID-19 requirements
- Improved sales skills overall and are more optimistic in booking business
- No barriers or obstacles when it comes to growing client list or negotiating contracts
- Willing to spend time building relationships and seeking aligned clients
- Employing people skills to work within shorter timeframes and smaller budgets
- Transitioned from reactivity to proactivity, particularly as it pertains to maintaining relationships and earned trust of clients
- Communication has transitioned to email and away from verbal communication or in-person meetings
- Building capabilities to respond to inquiries in a faster manner, clients are becoming increasingly time sensitive
- Increased emphasis on contracts and conditions with COVID-19 making it difficult to predict and navigate potential cancellations
- Challenges arise with delayed responses and inquiries which are more general in nature
- Pressure on resources as calendars are becoming increasingly full
- Client budgets and expectations don’t match the value provided
- The need to move towards more digital resources as manual processes including credit cards, estimates and contracts are now inconvenient
- Increase in diligence and determination to close sales
- Realizing and adjusting to the time investment required to respond to all inquiries
- The need for creativity to ensure potential client replies and increased communication
Professional Knowledge and Skills
- Higher focus on problem solving and negotiating skills
- Spending the time to go through processes thoroughly
- “Soft” skills like patience and understanding are more valuable in client and supplier communication
- Lean staffing levels pose a challenge
Values, Perceptions and Thoughts
- Overall feeling more hopeful as to the current and future state of the industry
- Increased need to balance flexibility with forward planning as event calendar fills
- New entrants into event positions sometimes mean communicating with less experienced potential clients and contacts, requires thoughtfulness and patience
- Finding creative ways to understand a potential client’s vision for an event via written forms of communication, previously was easier via in-person meetings or phone calls
Flexibility and Adaptability
- More in tune with the need to pivot and provide virtual content and services
- Clients require more consultation to understand needs and move towards being ready to book
- Shifted from administration to the need for marketing with the increasing need to identify buyer audiences, purchasing habits, preferences, and unique needs
- Determining the best practices to qualify leads for best use of time and resources
- Adapting to the short-term nature of more opportunities compared to last year
- Still navigating how to be flexible and adaptive during COVID-19 times and potential last-minute cancellations
Intuitiveness and Awareness
- Sales professionals are realizing they are now more cautious while others are experiencing frustration, and for some they have learned to become patient
Given the responses to this year’s survey, we have revised our recommendations to remedy some of the challenges and issues.
All themes explored in the survey play an important role in each person’s development as they reassess their skills to move forward effectively. A noteworthy observation is that goals are shorter than they have ever been before and that the market and environment have truly changed.
Contract negotiations are becoming more tedious making salespeople stressed as clients strive to cover every little detail, particularly as it pertains to COVID-19 regulations. This has meant that contracts take longer to finalize. We highly recommend ongoing contract reviews for both sides to identify realistic terms and conditions with a quarterly review before negotiations are final.
When it comes to building better relationships, flexibility and adaptability are key skills that require continuous improvement to have the ability to fulfil each client’s specific needs on an ongoing basis; this will be a major factor in negotiations and successfully securing business.
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 us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are more than happy to chat to you about how we can help.
Lynne Wellish, CMP, CHSE Sales Activator with a focus on unique boutique businesses in the Hospitality Industry. Lynne@cplanit.com
LoriAnn Harnish, CMP, CMM, CED, CTA Strategic meeting professional. LoriAnn.Harnish@gmail.com
Both are life-long learners and hospitality educators at Scottsdale Community College. Each year they collaborate on a survey to stay current with trends as they update and curate content for their students. Please email your experiences regarding the survey results or to inquire about customized recommendations to help grow your business.