Hotel Partner: “Amy, I really need your team’s help. We want to do a lead generation (aka prospecting) campaign, but when we’ve tried this in the past the leads just weren’t “concrete enough” for us, and nothing ever came of the opportunities we were sent. “
There are many ways that I could address this, but experience tells me that in most cases I need to tackle a problem much deeper than simply explaining the definition of a “qualified lead,” and go much further than explaining what makes Plan B’s system different than any other proactive lead generation program. When a hotel tells me that the leads they received are not “concrete” what this typically means is that the hotel sales team is used to RFPs… not leads. The team wants to receive a RFP, send a proposal, and close the business. Their expectation of the outcome & timing of lead opportunities from a lead generation/prospecting campaign is off the mark.
Looking for business that will close in the next 30, 60, or even 90 days by using a proactive prospecting/lead generation approach is a recipe for disappointment, as you are deploying the wrong tool to fix the problem. The last thing I want to see when working with a hotel is disappointment. Our hotel partners work way too hard to generate revenue for their properties, and I hate to see them make mistakes on deploying sales tactics to get results that just aren’t realistic.
Likely what will happen, is that great future business opportunities will be uncovered outside of the immediate need period. However, the sales team is hyper focused on fixing the immediate problem. This blinds them from the “big picture” of anything outside that need period and the sense of urgency to follow-up with those leads that have opportunity further out.
So, what I suggest for hotels that have an immediate challenge filling short-term gaps is that they launch a two-pronged approach. One approach to focus on the current challenge, and another approach to ensure you don’t face this same problem again in the future! The key is to find balance in both addressing your immediate cash flow needs, while continually building a better future.
A fundamental step I share with our hotel partners in this situation, is to ensure their sales team is trained on proper lead nurturing and follow-through tactics. I see many hotel sales teams out there that have been so entrenched in reaction-based sales. They are out of practice, and need to hone their skills and what I like to call “stick-to-it-ivness.” So, pay attention. If your team is complaining a lot about clients not responding to them, warm leads going cold, etc. perhaps they need some training and resources to properly nurture longer play leads.
I’m on a personal mission to transform hotel sales from reactive to proactive. Why? Because as a business owner myself, I feel the hotel owner’s pain, and see this as a major systemic problem that needs up-leveled in our industry. The plan calls for some patience from all parties, as I realize we are in an “instant gratification” society. We are helping and educating one hotel at a time. Will you join me on this mission? Reach out, and let’s schedule some time to connect! Or contact me at: email@example.com (312) 636-7384
Also be sure to read Part 2 on this topic: “6 “Low Hanging Fruit” Hotel Sales Tactics”