The 7 Sins of Tech Sales
By Jeremiah Magone, Marketing Director at Hospitality Copywriting
I spoke with a would-be innkeeper last Tuesday, and it seemed like he was staring at the opportunity of a lifetime.
And he said he could even see himself inheriting this business someday.
There was just one problem.
Even though the inn had massive potential, the father refuses to believe that anyone would ever pay more than $100 a night - even for their best rooms - even during summer.
And that thinking has created a vicious cycle of servitude, with low rates, huge revenue peaks and valleys between seasons, and endless hours.
There's even a sign outside the restaurant that reads, "Lunch is served at any hour of the day," he told me, venting his frustration.I could see why he was nearing his breaking point
So we came up with a plan and agreed that if we could just prove the father wrong, by running a promotion to bring in those international travelers who are looking to stay longer, and are willing to pay premium rates for premium experiences… than maybe he could show the family they don't have to live like this anymore.
And that would allow him to take more of a leadership position…… so the old man could hopefully retire…
… he could take over...
... and one day, even, find himself sitting in their sunny garden terrace, watching his children playing below, on those rolling green slopes.
It all seemed so perfect.
So why couldn't he see it through?
Unfortunately, our would-be innkeeper ended up backing out with an apologetic email, saying he just couldn't bring himself to invest his money in someone else's business.
I get it. He wasn't the real decision maker.
And that barrier is going to keep him in the kitchen, where his vision of ownership will have to simmer in silence, waiting until the father is too old and too tired to boss him around anymore.
Which is regretful, of course.And that's what got me thinking…
With all the technology companies, out there, vying for these kinds of accounts, why isn't the real ROI message getting through?
Why are so many companies having such a hard time connecting and partnering with operations like this, who desperately need their help and support to pull themselves out of the muck and mire of limited thinking like this?
Can you spot the disconnect?
I know, it's a big question; one that I'm sure you wrestle with every day.
And until you find an answer, how can you ever drive results, right?
Because there's a huge disconnect.
On one side, you have the simple fact that almost every hospitality tech out there comes with a big, beautiful ROI ribbon around its neck. And the barrier to entry is almost always incredibly low.
In fact, just 1 or 2 bookings for our campaign, per month, would have generated profits, and given this young man an opportunity to take control and start building his new life…
And that was just one promotion!
When you think about all the potential ROI, if they modernized their operations with a new booking engine, PMS solution or channel manager - it's staggering.
They could have easily quadrupled production, while raising their rates across the board.
But it takes experience to realize those results.
And so, on the otherside of the gap, it's only natural that self-inflicted doubts and fears still paralize most people from exploring the posibilities...And it's not always their fault
Could it be that basic human psychology is working against you...?
Could it be that one or more of these 7-deadly sales sins, listed below, is causing unnecessary doubts and fears in your prospects... ruining your relationships, right from the get-go…?
Well, there's only one way to find out.
Take a look at this list of sales sins and see if anything sounds familiar:
#1. Talking about all the 'wow' features of your technology:
This usually just makes people think, "Wow. How long will it take me to learn all that? And will I ever even use it?"
#2. Spending the first 10 minutes of your presentation talking about your company:
This fails to impress more often than not.
#3. Forgetting to uncover and implicate a hoteliers' real problems:
A final decision is always a judgement between risk and reward. So, if the reward isn't greater than the risk (and the implication of the problems you solve), then who in their right mind is ever going to move forward?
#4. Spending too much time walking hoteliers through the back-office of your platform:
Geeking out is fun, but it also confuses people who aren't intimately familiar with your technology. And no one makes big decisions when they're confused.
#5. Sharing case studies during your demo presentations:
Case studies are great - before the demo. During the demo, it can feel like you've cherry picked results in an effort to make the sale. And that suspicion is never good.
#6. Not providing a strategic implementation plan:
Hoteliers are time-starved. So, it's only natural that they're reluctant to start anything new, especially if they don't understand exactly how it impacts their schedules.And I've seen this once too many times…
#7. Throwing in extras as a closing technique:
If your technology has such a great ROI, why would you have to throw in extras? I know it might feel like you're doing something to help out, but this just raises unnecessary doubts at a critical inflection point.
Because ROI numbers are always hard to swallow
Unfortunately, each one of these sins is so wide spread… and they undermine your position to such a degree… that even faced with the best solutions - solutions that have the potential to pay for themselves 100 times over - it's no wonder why so many hoteliers are still skeptical and end up disengaging, these days… simply because it doesn't "feel" like a good decision.
It's just human nature:
If it seems like too much hassle …
If the rolls-out is still unclear ...
Or, they're not sure what their real problems are …
Or how your technologies address those problems …
Anyone is going to have to "think about it" for a few months before moving ahead.
And that's all on us.
So we've got to own up to that fact, if we're ever going to overcome all that hesitation.
So how do you do that?
How do you prove your technology has the ROI…
… and your company provides all the support it takes to get a hotelier out of that dreaded 'If it ain't that broke, don't fix it' mentality?
Well, that starts by taking a serious look at how you're conducting your demos, right now, with an eye to identify and root out each one of these sales-destroying sins, listed above.
Then, once you've spotted any one of these, start figuring out how to replace that blunder with the opposite behavior.
Instead of talking about your company, talk about theirs, for example.
Instead of showing off the features of your technology, help them by putting together a step-by-step plan to increase their revenues by leveraging your technology.
Instead of chasing hoteliers down to attend your demos, figure out a way to get them to approach you… asking for your help.
Because the window of opportunity is closing
If you've been paying attention, you know that we're at the end of the current economic cycle.
And as the slowdown inevitably takes hold, and consumer confidence slips, the travel industry is always one of the first to feel the effects of the chill.
Just look at how occupancy levels dropped right off the cliff, back in October of 2008…
It's critically important to remember this, because, experience tells us, when that happens most hotels switch over to serious conservation mode, where they're much less likely to invest in any improvements - even if those improvements could provide the occupancy boost that's so desperately needed.
That's why your ROI message has to come shining through, loud and clear. And that has to happen ASAP, before all the noise and distraction of economic uncertainties settle in.
So let's make sure your sales process isn't sabotaging success
Building relationships is hard. And prospective clients need to see a high degree of focus and professionalism in your sales process before they'll ever feel comfortable moving forward.
That's why you need to get started today.
First by tracking down these common mistakes; in the leadup to your demos, within your presentation, and over the course of your follow-up.
Then by doing what's necessary to build confidence at each critical step along the way to the sale; for your future clients' sake, and for your company's, as well.
I've put together a detailed, 5-point action plan that will help you do just that.
This walks you through the entire process for properly pre-educating and pre-qualifying your leads… so you can generate more demos on a more consistent basis, and enjoy a higher closing ratio.
Sign up for that training, right here.
And never lose perspective
Remember, you are in the business of helping your prospective clients see and appreciate the real ROI breakthroughs that are waiting for them when your businesses start working together.
That means that hoteliers should never have to 'just place their faith in you'… or 'wait and see' how things work out.
If that's the main takeaway, after a hotelier goes through your demo process, then something is very, very wrong… and, as I said, that's all on you.
And you've got to realize that unless you correct that, the next economic downturn isn't going to be pretty.
That's why you've got to make sure you have the right strategies and systems in place - right now - to eliminate all those natural, psychological reasons for delay and deflection… and create real confidence in what you have to say.... so your ROI message can finally make it through.
Because marketing isn't all about showing off how great your solution is…
… or yammering on about all the innovative features you've come up with.
It's about clearly communicating what that solutions can do for someone at the end of the day…
… and doing so in a way that instills a deep feeling of commitment and resolve, so you can attract more clients, and those clients can actually do what it takes to IMPLIMENT your platform in their day-to-day business operations, and enjoy the results they're after.
Which is, of course, the only way for anyone to enjoy any degree of success in life. How could it be any other way?
Jeremiah Magone is a direct response copywriter specializing in the hospitality industry. His interest in the industry stems from living all over the States, parts of Europe and his most recent 8-year stint in Japan. He is the author of the 300% More Direct Bookings in 30 Days social media marketing system and Hospitality Marketing Synergy, which shows hotels how to improve their group sales results by creating win-win partnerships.More from Jeremiah Magone