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Phone: 760-994-9266

Physical Therapy Sessions: A Good Reminder for Professional Selling Fundamentals

David Brudney & Associates- Hospitality Marketing Consultants
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with four decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Assoc. of Carlsbad, CA

By David M. Brudney, ISHC, April 2006

Former basketball great Bill Walton, no stranger to the O.R., defined minor or elective surgery as when they do the operation on someone else, not you.

Mindful of Waltonís admonition, I have been doing everything I can to put off what may be inevitable surgery on my hip and possibly lower back.

This road Iíve chosen to travel has led to a very new experience for me: physical therapy - - in a clinic and in the pool.  I had not been in a trainerís room since my days playing baseball.  I remember seeing bats, balls and gloves back then.  Now, Iím looking at canes, crutches and walkers.

As I was going through the drudgery of my twice-weekly 60 minute pool therapy, it suddenly dawned on me - - remember, Iím not the sharpest knife in the drawer - - that I had no limp under water and I was walking and running the way I should be doing on land.  Basically, I was relearning walking naturally.

While toiling away, doing my 30-second jumping jacks or the simulated bike riding exercise, I began thinking what a good idea it is for all of us who sell products and services for a living to revisit the fundamentals of effective professional selling.

I know I should be writing about more topical issues such as immigration, labor, gas prices, Gen X and new life-style products, but hey, Iím a Sales guy.  Always was, always will be.

There are dozens of fundamentals in professional selling.  Three that come to mind: Attitude, Reaction and Testimonials.

Attitude.  Everyone has bad days, days you donít want to go to work.  Sales professionals canít afford to have bad days.  Donít make telephone calls, donít make that in-person Sales call if youíre feeling down or if youíve predetermined whatever youíre selling will be rejected.  Why?  The other party will know.  Scores of meeting planners have told me that they receive far too many voice messages from hospitality sales professionals with the wrong attitude.  Too much frustration, disappointment, even boredom comes across in messages left.  Who would want to return that phone call?  So, before you make that client or prospect call, conduct your own reality check.  Record youíre opening or a sample of the message youíll be leaving and play it back.  Ask a colleague in the Sales office to listen to you and give you feedback.  Itís okay to call another department, Catering, Front Desk, and ask, "How do I sound?"  Donít allow yourself to fall into bad habits.  Work on sounding positive.  Prepare yourself.  Make sure you sound like someone with whom youíd like to speak.  

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.  As you think, so shall you be. - William James

Reaction.  In this age of multi-tasking in business, sometimes it can be challenging to keep a client or prospectsí attention on what youíre presenting or attempting to sell.  Multi-taskers can be sitting in a meeting, on their cell phone, working their Blackberry, searching the Internet - - possibly all of the above - - at the moment you call.  Itís always a good idea to check for acceptance before moving on to the next point, feature or benefit.  After youíve made that initial point, first stop and ask, "How does that sound?" or "Does that work for you?"  Gauge the response before proceeding.  You need some validation that the communication is real and the client or prospect is "on the same page."  

Testimonials.  Introducing a powerful testimonial into the dialogue at the right moment not only helps you stay connected but also enhances your chances of making the sale.  You need at least a half dozen of these; satisfied clients who have experienced your product and services successfully and are eager to tell others.  The key here is to match the testimonial with the prospectís needs or concerns.  Know the testimonial content by heart.  Deliver it with passion.  Offer to deliver a copy electronically or, better yet, suggest facilitating a telephone conversation and/or meeting between the parties.  Knowing when and how to leverage testimonials is one of the basic fundamentals in selling anything.

Mastering fundamentals is basic in every aspect of the hotel business - - cleaning a room, checking in a guest, preparing and serving a meal or valet parking a car.  Sales is no different.  Even the best pros revisit the fundamentals.  Sounds simple?  Simple to understand.  Easy to overlook.  Acquire the fundamentals.  Revisit regularly.  Never allow yourself to get stale.  Remember, successful hotels are more than "location, location, location."  In every department discipline, itís about mastering fundamentals and repetition, repetition, repetition.

© copyright 2006

About David Brudney & Associates

David M. Brudney has become a charter member of Laguna Strategic Advisors and was a founding member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Brudney is a veteran sales-and-marketing professional concluding his fifth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators about hotel sales and marketing best practices and standards of care, and conducts reviews of sales-and-marketing operations throughout the world. Brudney is a professional speaker, teacher, mentor and sales trainer. Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.

Contact:  David M. Brudney, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone:  760-994-9266
Email David Brudney
Web Site:   www.DavidBrudney.com

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