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Sales Manager vs Trusted Advisor: Which Hotel Sales Strategy is Best?

HSMAI San Diego
September 26, 2023

In the world of sales, there are two distinct roles that professionals often find themselves in: the sales manager and the trusted advisor. While both positions involve selling, they differ significantly in their approaches and outcomes.

Cory Falter recently invited hotel sales consultant Kristi White on the InnSync Show for a discussion on the differences between the roles of a sales manager and a trusted advisor.

Find out which will lead to more success in the long run.

Hotel Sales Tips: Which Approach Works Best?

hotel sales tips

When it comes to sales, how a prospect is approached can make a big difference in the outcome.

Defining Roles

During a conversation between Cory and Kristi, they discuss the disparities between sales managers and trusted advisors.

Kristi says, "A sales manager is essentially an order taker who focuses solely on closing deals. Their primary concern is securing business without considering the long-term implications or suitability of the deal for both the customer and the company they represent."

Sales managers often compete on price, as it is their main selling point.

In contrast, a trusted advisor, whom Kristi prefers to call a consultative seller, takes a more thoughtful approach.

"They prioritize building relationships with customers and understanding their businesses," Kristi says.

By prioritizing relationship building, advisors can guide customers through the sales process, ensuring that the solutions they offer are the right fit.

Trusted advisors are willing to turn away business if it is not a suitable match, which may lead to short-term losses.

However, their focus on customer satisfaction and long-term growth results in loyal, repeat customers.

The Value of Trust

Cory emphasizes that trust is the new currency in sales. Establishing trust with customers is crucial for long-term success.

Sales managers, driven by the "always be closing" mentality, often prioritize their own interests over those of the customers.

On the other hand, trusted advisors prioritize building trust by educating and inspiring customers, putting the customers' needs and interests first.

This approach creates value for customers, which ultimately leads to greater customer loyalty and a decreased emphasis on price as the determining factor.

The New Meeting Planner

The conversation between Cory and Kristi touches on the rise of non-professional meeting planners, who are becoming more prevalent in the industry.

Cory says, "We have been asking our clients how often prospects are reaching out with basic questions, and we have discovered that 85% are coming from non-traditional meeting planners. That's stacked!"

These individuals may require more hand-holding and guidance throughout the sales process. As trusted advisors, sales professionals can offer their expertise, educate these non-professional planners, and build long-term relationships based on trust.

RELATED: The Rise of the Non-Professional Meeting Planner and What it Means for Hotel Sales Teams

The Benefits of Being a Trusted Advisor

Trusted advisors offer several advantages over sales managers.

They prioritize the customer's needs and build relationships based on trust, which leads to increased customer retention and loyalty.

Trusted advisors are also more likely to receive referrals through word-of-mouth, a powerful and often untracked form of marketing.

Additionally, trusted advisors focus on value creation rather than competing solely on price.

By demonstrating value to customers, they can command higher prices and increase revenue in the long run.

Balancing Sales Roles

It is important to note that both sales managers and trusted advisors have their place within an organization.

While trusted advisors focus on building relationships and nurturing long-term business, sales managers may excel at closing deals quickly and efficiently.

Striking a balance between the two roles can maximize revenue and create a harmonious sales strategy.

Hotel Sales Tips

Here are some additional selling tips shared by Kristi and Cory.

Kristi emphasizes the importance of re-evaluating the RFP (Request for Proposal) process and ensuring that lead catchers are in place to promptly evaluate and respond to RFPs.

This allows consultative sellers to focus on nurturing relationships and finding new business opportunities.

Cory adds that sales professionals should revamp their LinkedIn profiles to focus on their prospects' needs and share valuable content regularly.

Personalized communication and frequent touches with prospects can help build trust and stay top of mind.

Becoming a trusted advisor rather than just a sales manager can lead to more successful and sustainable sales outcomes.

By prioritizing customer relationships, demonstrating value, and fostering trust, sales professionals can achieve long-term growth, customer loyalty, and increased revenue.

Striking a balance between the roles of a sales manager and a trusted advisor can ensure a well-rounded and effective sales strategy.