“May I ask the Origin of your Name?”

by Mara Frier, Johnson Direct

Last week I was assigned the task of looking for a place to have an offsite planning meeting for our management staff, so I proceeded to call two hotels in the area. We’ll call them Hotel A and Hotel B. Both are part of two well-known and established hotel chains so I was comfortable booking our meeting space with either of them.

When I called Hotel A, I was warmly greeted by a voicemail so I left a message with a return phone number. I then called Hotel B and was pleasantly greeted by a slightly “overly caffeinated” sales person who spent the first part of our conversation asking me about the origin of my name. Hmm… Okay so once I pushed him past the small talk, he proceeded to tell me about the newly remodeled hotel and all the wonderful things they had to offer in terms of meeting space. His friendly tone did not waver once, not even when I told him, “It all sounds great but I wasn’t looking to spend that much.” He simply adjusted his numbers to meet my budget. How accommodating! His next step was to email me the contract along with a menu and other pertinent information.

A short time later, Hotel A called me back. This salesperson did his job but did not spend the extra few minutes trying to “reel me in” like the salesperson from Hotel B did. His pricing however was the same as Hotel B’s so I allowed him to email me his contract, menu and other pertinent information as well.

Here comes the dilemma. Which hotel shall I choose? Both offer the same price and have available space on the dates I requested and both are located within 5-10 minutes from the office. Just when I was set to ask my boss if he had a preference, both emails came in from Hotel A and Hotel B.

I first read the email and reviewed the attachments from Hotel A. However, when I viewed the email from Hotel B, I forgot all about Hotel A and immediately made the decision to book our meeting space with Hotel B. Why? Because the first word out of my mouth after looking at Hotel B’s email was “Wow.” Hotel B understands something about marketing that Hotel A does not.

I was captured partly by the lure of their cleverly crafted marketing materials (which were adorned with beautiful color photos of their newly remodeled hotel and pictures of their scrumptious looking menu items). I was further melted by the lure of the personal letter that accompanied their proposal letting me know how much their staff was looking forward to meeting our needs.

I think what stood out in my mind the most however, was the salesperson who was simply curious about the origin of my four letter name, my name being an indication of who I am just as the name of a company gives clues about who they are. When is the last time you paid attention…before you tried to reel them in?

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