by Joe Martino | Area Director of Sales-Paséa Hotel & Spa
I was once told by a wise man “You can judge a person’s character on how they act when things do not go their way”. Since this time, I have held myself to this standard of being respectful, humble and honest in the face of adversity. It is very difficult thing to do and I will be the first to admit, there are variations of challenges that I have difficulty overcoming initially when presented with such obstacles. Through experience and many learnings , the recognition and balance has been to communicate to customers “I am seeking to move in the Spirit of Partnership”.
This has served me well in the hospitality industry most of the time when dealing with objections, negotiating and cancellations in the Hospitality Industry. I tend to keep copious notes of these challenges given the volume of communication, the never-ending, online communication prayer we all endure on a day to day basis and take them out when needed to have as a shield to protect the relationship of external and internal (colleagues) customers I so value.
Reflecting on these notes, particularly during this time of misdirected, misinterpretations and uncertainty, these points have served as a guide to keep me balanced with the professional I continue to aspire to be.
Schedule an appointment or zoom call to discuss the challenges at hand: It is best to have uninterrupted time to be able to listen to the ask. Write them down and ask questions back to verify what the intention is. It is also a good resolution to meet in person or have a virtual visual zoom call to look the person in the eye and read the facial expressions as to the acceptance or response of the other person. If there is uncertainty or there are other decision makers involved, it is important to ascertain what the root of the need is before providing solutions and options to your response. Pay attention to gaps and silence. Stay on track with listening and delivering. Ask for confirmation. Make sure to follow up in writing all that was discussed.
Have a goal in mind:
Build open and honest communication. Do not leave things open ended but remain agile and flexible to solutions. Place next action steps to keep things moving forward. Understand each other’s need and ensure that you have all expectations and understanding of your senior leadership to maintain your level of integrity and trust. Each party should have a “skin” in the game to make things work.
Value each other:
It is true, it is all about the relationships. If you do not have a solid and historical relationship, leverage those in your organization that do with the other party to make a connection that bridges and keeps things moving forward. If you don’t have the answer, set a timeline to follow up. This keeps your integrity and trust intact when you seek to deliver a solution. You and your customer may be “messengers” that are only passing information on what each party is seeking. Involve all stakeholders as much as you can.
Provide facts over emotion:
Sometimes it is hard to take out all the emotion of the moment but being prepared with facts over loose ended and emotional comments always prevails.
Be open to unconventional solutions and options:
When you measure an offer or a solution that is provided to you, you should pivot and be agile in what may be the answer. Conversely, it is important to have some different solutions in anticipating the desired outcome by both.
The reward of protecting your character and relationships are life lasting. As Warren Buffet once said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Respectfully and Onward!