Which group sales proposals usually make it to the top of the pile?
A templated proposal that sounds like every other hotel, brimming with business clichés and corporate speak?
Or, a proposal that reflects the personality of the hotel sales manager AND offers targeted solutions to the planner’s concerns?
To hit your sales goals, your proposal better impress clients with every word instead of stopping your ambitious sale dead in its tracks.
So, ditch the one-size-fits-all proposal template that is shared among your sales team. Planners want to work with a person, not a robot. So, customize, customize, customize – in both style and substance.
Here are five pro tips to live by when crafting your next group sales proposal:
1. FOCUS ON THEIR NEEDS, NOT YOURS
Just like everyone else, meeting planners are asking ‘what’s in it for me?’ Planners don’t care how wonderful, beautiful, amazing, first-class your hotel is.
When they receive your proposal, they just want to know you plan on meeting their and their attendees’ needs. Gather as much intelligence on the group as you can. Call the planner to get more insight and really LISTEN to what they’re telling you and gather all the intel you’ll need to structure an irresistible and relevant proposal.
2. BE YOURSELF, NOT A HOTEL
To capture and hold a reader’s attention, ‘write like you speak.’ So, loosen up a little, and let your personality come through in every group sales proposal. Make it sound like a letter to a friend, not a formal business letter.
One way to do that is to use an active voice, instead of a passive voice. Ditch fancy acronyms and hotel jargon. In reality, you’re selling yourself and your team to the planner, not just the rates, dates and space. So, establish right away that you’re a quality and trusted partner in planning by being authentic and personable.
3. AVOID THE FEATURES LIST
A common sales proposal mistake: Leading with a long list of all of your hotel’s amenities and features…whether the planner needs it or not.
Instead, focus on objectives – of both the meeting itself and the planner’s. What are your hotel’s features that will be a part of the solution? In what ways can your hotel deliver benefits that directly address their goals? Lining up your dates, rates and space is the easy part. Create a hard-to-pass-up value in your hotel by concentrating on the solutions that explicitly meet their event aspirations.
4. FOCUS ON THE INVESTMENT, NOT THE COST
In every sales proposal, watch your words and how you talk about money. There’s a vast difference between investment and cost, yet hotel sales teams tend to focus too much on words such as rate, fee, expenses, and price. Those words trigger images of money being drained from a planner’s budget.
In comparison, an investment means you’re gaining something substantial in return. Companies and organizations hold meetings because they expect to get something back, so it’s vital to truly understand the meeting and the meeting planner’s objectives. You’ll use these same objectives to structure your solutions.
And, when it comes time to discuss prices, change the language. Demonstrate how their investment of money and time will pay off large dividends by partnering with you and your team. Building this foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship will result in long-term gain and even repeat business.
5. ADD SOME POP
This is where you can add the WOW factor to help boost your proposal to the top of the pile.
- Add poignant (not boring) testimonials.
- Showcase photos of previous events, not empty conference rooms.
- Include video clips from previous planners or a happy meeting attendee.
- Offer to do your presentation via Skype, with your winning oceanfront or city view behind you.
Yes, drafting new group sales proposals sound daunting. It will require creativity and stellar writing. It will be time-consuming, so it’s vital to separate the highly qualified proposals from the rest. But time spent on creating a dynamic sales proposal that will make your clients feel excited to work with you is the most lucrative way to spend your day.