Following simple steps can be the key to effective sales efforts. That’s one of the insights attendees of the UMA Bus & Motorcoach Sales Summit this week found helpful.
“We forget that the sound of the phone ringing is actually the sound of money,” said Cary Martin, owner of Little Rock Coaches in Arkansas. “We’re all looking for that money to make up for 2020, and that money is the answer to our prayers … so relish the sound of the phone.”
Martin was on a panel at the United Motorcoach Association’s Sales Summit reacting to data from Jim McCann of Spader Business Management that showed almost half of motorcoach companies don’t even respond to requests for a quote.
Sales Summit presentation follow-up
McCann delivered a presentation on Sales Process-Driven Leadership presentation at the Sales Summit. David Moody of Holiday Tours and Michael Giddens of Pacific Coachways Charter Services joined the panel as well.
Recounting the important points in the sales process, like just calling someone back, McCann reminded the audience that these steps are not novel or difficult. “These steps seem so simple, yet we miss them so often.”
“It’s always good to get a reminder from Jim McCann that we need to continue to pay attention” to metrics like follow-up and closing ratios, Giddens said.
The right people
UMA Chief Operating Officer Ken Presley moderated the panel and asked how operators find the right people for sales.
“We really focus on looking for customer-service-oriented people,” Moody said. “High customer service personality types are the ones that do best in our organization.”
He added that his sales team tries to respond to a request for a quote within four hours. Often, the sales teams need to follow up and have a conversation with the potential client to gather more information.
“We really focused on relational sales, so we try to start that conversation as quickly as possible with that customer to build the relationship,” Moody said.
The sales process in practice
No one who calls Little Rock Coaches is forgotten, even if they don’t book a tour. Their contact information is added to a spreadsheet that is used by the sales team as leads for new business.
That’s one way Martin is putting into practice the sales process he developed through the Spader Group.
“We go fishing on that spreadsheet for new customers,” Cary said, adding that the sheet is filled with people who have already shown they are interested in his company’s services.
All three operators track what happens to everyone who calls — not just those who book — to analyze rates of converting sales to contracts.
For Martin, his company’s Excel spreadsheet is color-coded: red is contact and green is for when that is converted to a contract.
“At the end of the month, we go in and we count all of the leads that came in,” Martin said. “How many green boxes versus how many red boxes, and we want to know at the end of the month, what our conversion rate was.”
An extra layer of information
Moody says his company’s tracking system adds an extra layer of information beyond tracking by the company and individual salespeople.
“We kind of track closing ratio by customer, by tier,” said Moody. “We use tier-based pricing so we know, on a high-tier day, how likely is this customer to book based on the price that we’re giving them. That’s a step further that we go that really helps us when it comes down to pricing the trip for the customer.”