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Hotel sales managers who excel use a flat list

publication date: Sep 14, 2016
author/source: Steven J. Steinhart, C.H.S.E., C.H.M.E

Hotel sales managers use a flat list Hotel sales managers use a flat list


If you’ve been following along with my weekly video training, you know that the most successful hotel sales managers make use of a flat list. Let me tell you how we came about that information.

Several years ago i undertook a real in-depth study of what made the truly great hotel sales managers successful. This study included hotel sales managers from an incredible variety of markets. We looked at the great ones from big city hotels and suburban hotels. We examined the characteristics of hotel sales managers that worked in beach properties and in ski areas. Those that had casinos and those that didn’t. And we came up with a list of traits that great hotel sales managers used to consistently break quota year in and year out.

The entire concept of the flat list is one that applies equally well to other industries, not just to hotel sales managers. I’ve asked lots of sales experts in other fields, and the flat list concept for great sales people is one that crosses all markets.

The flat list that hotels sales managers use? Nothing fancy at all. It’s typically on a yellow pad of paper, but if you want to make it exotic, you can even write the list on white paper — amazing!

Now if you are a hotel sales manager with Marriott you’ll have the Marsha system on your computer, and others of you may have Delphi. They each have a flat list available in there. It may be called a prospect list or a hit list or a new client list; call it whatever you want. I just call it a flat list, and I don’t know where the name came from, but who cares really?

It’s funny though, when we did the analysis out in the field and every single hotel sales manager who shattered quota month in and month out, one common denominator was that they had a flat list. These hotel sales managers also kept it on the upper-left hand corner of their desk for some reason. Don’t ask me why; I couldn’t begin to explain it and you don’t have to do that. I don’t care where you put it, but your sales manager should be able to come up to your desk at any moment, any time and say, “Let me see your flat list.” Now, he or she is not really checking on you to make sure you have a flat list — that should be a given. But the manager wants to see if she knows anybody on your flat list so that when you call on them, she can come into the office and call on them with you. Or if you’re going to make an outside call on this prospect, she is going to get in the car and go with you. If she knows this person, she can probably open that door for you. So that’s what the director of sales, the GM, director of catering (or whoever you report to) should be looking at.

Now for sure, the manager would be looking at list volume to a certain degree, but here’s the key: putting the flat list together is easy for the hotel sales manager to do. Finding the time to call those people is what’s tough. But that’s a topic for another time…


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