Business as (un)Usual: Why hotels can't afford to sell the traditional way anymore
By Shawna Suckow Founder & President, Senior Planners Industry Network | November 04, 2012
Do you feel like the way you're selling lately isn't as effective as, say, two or three years ago? You're not alone. I've asked suppliers across North America this question for the past year, and most agree that the vibe out there is completely different, and way more challenging than even the post-9/11 era. For every 100 cold calls that a supplier makes, the consensus is that maybe two or three planners actually answer the phone these days. That means that 97 to 98 calls go to voice mail, and the consensus there is that you're lucky if one planner returns your call.
What's going on out there, and what can suppliers do about it?
A change happened to planners when the economy started to nosedive. We began cutting off supplier access to us: we stopped answering the phone, stopped responding to your emails, and cut back on the networking functions we used to attend. In the meantime, suppliers everywhere faced budget cuts, so Directors of Sales everywhere decided the solution was to call more, email more, get out and network more. See a problem here?
As suppliers everywhere began upping their traditional selling tactics, we planners were pulling back from you in a big way. It wasn't that we were being rude; we just didn't have the capacity to keep all those balls in the air. Something had to give, and we had to turn our focus away from politely answering every cold call or returning your emails simply out of courtesy. Planning departments were being slashed, and planners everywhere – if lucky enough to still be employed – were doing the work of several former colleagues in addition to their own work.
It's not a numbers game anymore.
So today's supplier can't simply just call more and email more. It's not a numbers game anymore, and any Director of Sales who says otherwise is out of touch with the way planners think and act these days. Planner defenses are stronger than ever before, so the traditional game is over. You have to work smarter, because I'm guessing you're already working harder to capture less business.