In any profession there are numerous challenges and different elements of the job people don’t enjoy. Sales certainly isn’t for everyone but after doing some reflection on my over 21 years in the hotel and meetings business, I came away with some potential insight that has not only helped me be successful in this industry, but be a happier person overall.

Keep Your Promises

Mary Chris HotchkissSo much sales training out there instructs people to base their selling strategy and responses to customers questions by first reading the customer, and responding based on what you think the customer is looking to hear. Some training tells us: What does the customer need to hear to keep the conversation going? Tell it to them. What’s something the customer really wants to hear? Say it. What would it take to bring your customers event to town? Promise it. Yes, that's the instruction, but in my opinion, it’s the quickest way to hurt long term relationships and have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror. It’s always better to under promise and over-deliver, but if you make a promise – keep it. Your word is all you really have. Once people don’t trust you the sales deal is usually dead and the relationship will soon follow.

Focus on the strength of Good Relationships

My advice? Drop some of what you learned in Sales 101 and instead concentrate on being authentic. Sales is full of relationships. Real relationships. Let your guard down, don't take yourself so seriously and let your clients get to know the real you. By being myself over the years I have established relationships with a lot of people in this industry and when they work with me, they know I'm not just telling them what they want to hear. Sure, maybe I've lost business here or there over time by not working the hard sell, but I've carved out a career that's successful by my standards and I haven’t lost who I really am in the process. I've got customers who have become friends on both the hotel side and the events side and I look forward to working with them over and over again. I believe they, in turn, look forward to working with me because I’ve let them get to know the real me, and our relationship is real, not just experience "selling to them." What I’m saying is, to me, the RELATIONSHIPS are more important than the DEALS.

Be you. Be real. Be Authentic and feel good in your own skin.