A few years ago, ghosting was not a term people used.
You may know it by another name… Radio silence, avoidance, complete disconnect, etc.
We’ve all been in the situation, whether related to hotel sales or not. You make a great connection, the energy felt right and you left thinking, “HELL YEAH!” Then?
The silence is agonizing because you know they felt the positivity as well… What happened?!
There are two key reason this could happen; shift in priorities or a decision by committee.
- A shift in priorities is pretty easy to understand. We know many B2B key decision makers “wear several hats”. They aren’t solely focused on meeting planning. They could be the buyer for all of the products & services the business needs. Perhaps, they are the Executive Admin. to the CEO. Suddenly, the CEO has a last-minute meeting and needs the entire executive team to plan travel, compile data & create a presentation. As the saying goes, the team then has to run around like “chickens with their heads cut-off”… you get the picture. It becomes a major distraction from the initial plan of finding accommodations for an event six months from now.
- Decision by committee, a little less comprehensible. Why? We do this all the time when we ourselves are a prospect for another business. “I need to take all this information back to my team and then we can determine next steps.” It’s a thing most sales professionals forget or ignore. No business decisions are made in a bubble. To minimize the risk, even with what some would consider small spend decisions, more than one person will be involved in the decision-making process. Think about the process within your own hotel… must you get approval for a $2,000 spend? Most likely the answer is yes! The “Quick…Spend $10,000” just doesn’t exist in today’s business environment. Even in a small business, there are multiple stakeholders. [All with their own opinions and priorities.]
It can be a hard pill to swallow to realize your sale is not top priority to your buyer. It can be even harder to explain that to your owner or leadership sometimes… Totally get it.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from silence with a customer. By ensuring you’ve done everything in your control to keep the conversation moving forward, it gives your leadership peace-of-mind that “you’ve got this.”
- During your initial conversations with the client get to know their decision process and understand their goals for timing. Ask questions like, “Ideally, when would you like to have your venue selected and this portion of your planning process wrapped up?” Then, “What kinds of things might get in the way of that happening for you?” And lastly, “How can I be of service to you to help stay on track with this, and make it an ideal situation for you?” This shows your true partnership and commitment to serving them!
- Always agree on a next step with the client. Set a time, date and method of connection. Then, follow-through with that commitment on your end! If they do not follow-through, don’t give up. Continue to reach out because remember, priorities shift. We’ve even developed our own GitGo follow-up and nurture process because these conversations take multiple touch-points!
- Create a “radio silence hack list” for yourself.
- Started gathering a variety of articles. It could be about the hotel, topics that may be relevant to the meeting planner business, property factsheets, pictures, fun videos. It’s okay to have fun when sending these over to these things too! Add personality and authenticity.
- Send “lumpy” mail, meaning a direct mail piece that will catch their attention. These are typically odd sized envelopes with a hand-written note, and often can have a small “thinking of you” gift inside.
- Try a video email. There are services like HyFy that make it easy for you to take a video of yourself speaking to your client vs. sending a generic email.
You get the idea… there are many things you can do, but have a hack list prepared ahead of time, so you’re not trying to think of something every time this happens.
What are some other ways you or your sales team has been able to navigate the buying process with prospects to ensure the doors remain open? Please share below, we would love to hear from you!