One of my weekend goals was to plan a summer vacation for my husband and me. An article in The Wall Street Journal on rustic retreats prompted me to reach out to two of the resorts featured in the paper.
The first outreach resulted in no reservation. The young lady answering the phone wasn’t trained to answer the most basic of questions. In fact, she almost acted like I was interrupting her day.
Note to marketing departments: If you are going to be featured in the WSJ, you might want to train people on how to answer the phone.
The second outreach did result in a reservation. First, Chandler — the person answering the phone — was genuine and friendly. And I don’t think he was that way because he had been listening to himself on recorded calls or using an AI tracking tool to see if he was tuned into my emotions.
I really got the feeling that he likes what he does for a living. Now, that’s a concept.
Chandler answered all my questions and I had my credit card out, ready to book a cabin.
But he wasn’t quite ready to close the deal.
He started to ask me qualifying questions. “Well, before we move forward and get the details on your reservation, let’s make sure we are aligned on expectations of this property.”
I teach setting and managing expectations. Do you know how few salespeople actually do it?
Expectation #1: “The rooms don’t have TVs in them, so I’m not sure if that is important to you while you are on vacation.”
My response – “No, I can watch TV at home.”
Expectation #2: “The rooms also are not set up with Wi-Fi. As you see by our website, we are in a remote location, so if you are looking to work while you are on vacation, you’ll have to go into town.”
My response – “Not a problem. I’m one of those rare people that doesn’t work on vacation. Otherwise, why call it a vacation?”
Expectation #3: “The rooms are very nice; however, they are rustic. So, if you are looking for a five-star hotel … ”
My response – “Prior to COVID, I traveled a lot. I’ve seen my share of rooms with granite countertops.”
Then and only then would Chandler take my reservation.
I hung up the phone and started laughing. Without knowing it, I had been qualified to see if I was this resort’s ideal client profile. The resort’s staff recognized that if they didn’t qualify their guests, they would end up with bad social media reviews. That would affect their repeat and referral business.
A great lesson for all of us in the sales profession.
How well are you qualifying your prospects to see if they fit your ideal client profile? Are you getting alignment and agreement on what success looks like before you write a proposal?
Chandler, thanks for the sales lesson last weekend. Oh, and if you are wondering why I’m not mentioning the resort’s name, it’s because I want a peaceful vacation. I’ll reveal the name of the resort in August!