Direct Sales: Some Challenges for Leadership
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | November 17, 2013
Could it be that following the Age of Industrialization, we have entered into the Age of Impersonalization? How many times have you been a victim of "statistics" and not viewed on your individual merits? For example, did you pay premium rates for car insurance or health insurance just because you were a certain age or gender? Or was a loan denied despite an excellent credit history because "statistics" indicated you were a poor risk? And have you ever felt the frustration of trying to reach a "live" person to resolve a dispute or just to ask a question? And you went round and round in circles by pressing various numbers on your phone, without having an option for your particular issue, just to end up where you started?
Our customers and guests in hotels are no different. They want to know that their business is valued, that they are heard and that they have access to someone who will listen and respond to their particular situations.
The new generation of hotel sales staff was raised on text messaging, instant messaging, and video games. They do their buying online and are adept at condensing conversations to 140 characters in a Tweet, not to mention throwing grammar and sentence construction out the window.
Recently a video went viral showing a young child trying in vain to get the pictures in her book to move around! It caught on because of the absurdity of the situation but also, perhaps, because of the secret fear that our children will only be stimulated by action instead of the written word or appreciating the beauty of pictures.
But does this type of communication and interaction translate to increased business? Clients still want to know that there is a real person at the end of the phone, text, or email who is responsive to their needs; will seek out a better understanding of their needs; and will respond to them quickly and communicate in whole sentences. Many times, a piece of business is booked just because the sales person responded quickly.
The challenge of sales leadership is to work with and inspire this new generation to see each customer as unique and to work with a sense of urgency and personalization.