04 Apr Case Study: Where’s my value?
The following is a true sales experience that I had when I worked as Group Corporate Sales Manager in the Hospitality Industry.
To give you a bit of background, I had a client – let’s call them Big Corporate (BC) to protect the innocent! I had negotiated the contract and corporate rate directly with them, and they placed their bookings through an external agency for which we had an in-house Agency Sales Manager who managed all the agency account relationships.
So, BC was retendering in a blind online bid for the following years contract. It was at least £1m contract to one of our key hotels in Scotland. I had asked the Hotel General Manager what rate growth they wanted, ready to negotiate on their behalf. It was a certain percentage of growth, and he would be willing to keep the rate the same as this year if I needed that flexibility. I also understood from BC what they wanted and let’s just say, it certainly wasn’t an increase that they were looking for at all!
So in my position I certainly didn’t want to be responsible for losing the hotels biggest and most sought after contract. The negotiation / submission was going to be challenging enough, of course I could have played safe and given BC the rate they asked for – no one would be upset and I did have full empowerment to do that.
Now, I have never been a sales person who worked on behalf of the customers to the hotels. I always played fair and courageously. Anyway, what I wanted to achieve was the growth the hotel wanted plus 50p on top of that too. Something just told me that I could get more than the hotel wanted. So, I pitched to the Group Sales Director that I thought I could get growth rate plus an additional 50p per person upon the rate the hotel had submitted.
Conversations took place with the Group Sales Director, the Agency Sales Manager and the Hotel General Manager – resulting in clear resistance to actually move the rate at all. In fact, not only did they decide on not moving forward with my “ambitious” growth but they would offer BC the rate they wanted so as not to lose the business FULL STOP! In short, NO year on year GROWTH.
I remember feeling, ‘what value am I actually adding simply keeping the rate the same?’ I could feel it in my bones, I don’t know how yo describe it to you, I just felt if I held my nerve and had some courage I could negotiate BC up.
With the Sales Directors backing I went for the rate increase the hotel initially submitted (which I think was a couple of pounds up on the current rate) and I added my 50p. I worked out that an additional 50p would amount to £40k extra net profit – that could be 3 chamber maids, 2 receptionists – you get the picture.
And guess what? I WON THE DEAL – the rate, the volume and preferred status!
Can you believe it was harder and combative for me to negotiate within the company I was employed by than it was with BC (or maybe they were simply warming me up!)
I did wonder what the point of my role was if I couldn’t add value and expertise in the sales process? I was not the best administrator (thank God as that wasn’t my job!) but I could read people and I could push through all my fears and self doubt and step into courage but the thing I would constantly ask myself is ‘What value am I adding here?’
So I wonder, does your team come across in-house resistance?
Do your team want to put their necks on the line to gain EVEN HIGHER growth?
Are your team backed if they dare to increase rate? And what happens if they lose a deal?
Do your team feel the competitive spirit?
How can you bring that competitive spirit out? I don’t mean competing with each other, that’s just damaging and a waste – I mean competing with themselves. Being better today than yesterday.
Have you created a team that pass messages on from hotel to customer and then from customer back to hotel?
Or have you created a team that play like athletes?
If you are interested in finding out more about how I work with and empower salespeople, sales directors and business owners then let’s chat. You can contact me direct on 07795 634 671.