As the country “reopens”, restaurants and hotels, as well as resorts, are experiencing a surge in customer demand. People want a return to normalcy. They want a great meal, a comfortable hotel stay, or a memorable resort experience with their families. While customers dream for leisure and relaxation, the hospitality industry has rallied to meet their needs and expectations.
But the hospitality industry now has a new set of frightening challenges in front of them. A lack of employees in the workplace, soaring wages, rising costs of goods and services, and government-imposed restrictions, all weighing on owner-operators trying to maintain a profitable business and delight their customers.
Having sold products and services into the hospitality industry on the vendor side for two decades, we had to adapt to the motivations and priorities of owner-operators at restaurants and hotels.
Now more than ever suppliers to the hospitality industry need to be cognizant of the extreme stress the hospitality industry is under right now. And, suppliers to the hospitality industry need to tailor their sales processes steps and tactics to accommodate businesses in the hospitality industry.
Do your homework before you connect.
With abundant resources online and in-person, it’s our duty to go into a sales situation knowing more about a business than just its name, address, and phone number. Have you checked their online reviews to see if there are any themes? What government legislation has passed that could adversely affect their restaurants and hotels? What supply chain issues are directly affecting resorts, restaurants and hotels? A little bit of research before your first connection will do wonders to get your prospect’s attention.
Get to the point…..Quickly.
If you connect with an owner-operator, assume you have five minutes at the most. There’s no time to go over the history of your company or a buffet line of product or service offerings that puts the burden of choice on your prospect. You need to come in with a solution that solves a problem they have right now and articulate that solution as soon as possible.
Simplify the selling process steps.
Take a hard look at your company’s sales process, the selling process steps, and the requirements needed to onboard a new customer. Can a customer buy your goods and services via mobile? Do you offer easy payment solutions with fair terms? How much of the onboarding process can you take care of, as the salesperson, to lighten the load for the customer? Map out your prospect’s journey from first connection to an onboarded customer, and look for ways to shave off friction points in that journey.
Remember your current customers.
Signing new customers is awesome, but you have to keep the customer you have. In times of stress, it would be prudent to check in with your current customers to see how they are doing. Are there additional services you can provide to help them? Have customers reached out to you about extended payment terms? Anything you can do to solidify the relationship with your current customers will reduce customer churn. You have to assume that your competitors are trying to sell their solutions in these times of uncertainty.
While the ideas presented seem straightforward and should be emphasized during normal times as well as during, now more than ever you have the opportunity to rethink the selling process steps for new customers as well as revisit your processes to ensure current customer satisfaction.