The Premium Sale … the Airbnb Approach

The past year has brought an enormous amount of change in our lives. How we buy, why we buy, our methods of selecting, and even the approach we want used toward us has been altered dramatically.

Think about your own buying habits. Working from home, we bought everything online. Did we buy the first thing we saw? Of course not. We ‘shopped around.’ Using the internet and google search engine, we searched for best price, options, free shipping, when we could get it the fastest, etc. Out of necessity, many became more search engine savvy. And then life started opening up again, and what has happened? We became more selective, more receptive to who we are buying from, and we want options for our buying dollar.

As trips and vacationing have started up, Airbnb’s have become even more popular. We search online, we get reviews, we get great pictures, we get the benefits, we can contact someone with a click and buy on our terms. Yet our own premium spaces we still make a laborious process.

Businesses have approached the new buying in the same way. The group of premium buyers that used to ‘need’ us has moved along in the buying positions. Most of those now considering our product range from 32-48 and have not necessarily utilized us. This is new to them, so we have suddenly reached a point in our premium sales careers where we are no longer selling, but are educating and providing a more streamlined online approach and this is the key of selling right now.

Surveying business leaders throughout this past year, I found that not only were 68% of them in the above age group, but their #1 comment was “we really don’t ‘need’ you. If you would want to sell to us, you better educate us on your product or give us options when we search you that explain it. And for heaven’s sake give us options that we can google and research after hours.” This goes against almost every grain in our body as for the past ‘forever’ number of years we were taught to find needs and not share anything until we get them on the phone. Now, it’s ‘educate us and show us how we use you and let us be able to research you.’ Definitely an approach we are not used to.  

High pressure calls are not working with the current leaders. Instead, there are two different approaches that are working to help them see how to use us and also buy the way they are accustomed. 

The first is the traditional call and meet. Research before the call, have conversation starters ready that help you learn more and genuinely ask to learn. The change is the goal of the call.  Our goal in this call is to decide how they can best use our premium products, not try to find their needs. This really is a different approach. Listen. Learn. Then go back and create ways they can use our spaces based on what they said. It’s not just entertaining anymore, as younger leaders are hosting brainstorming events, more engaging opportunities with their staff, and more creative ways to create family time. They are more conscious of work/life balance and often will incorporate family into routines. So, we really need to listen to what they teach us as our ‘tried and true’ methods of selling premium, ‘client engagement and staff appreciation’ will get us nowhere. 

The second way is geared the way many are now buying. Even though it is premium, they are using the Airbnb model. They will research us instead of talking with us, and text us if they have a question.  Think about how you’ve gone after a rental or prime property during a vacation or work stay. You researched.  So how do we gear it to the way they are most apt to buy? We provide the content similar to an Airbnb and let them do the research. If we were to call and leave a message, they would google us first. What would they find? The traditional website? Lots of season and group opportunities, some premium opportunities that are more than traditional in how we sell it and then for ‘further information call xxxx’. It’s not the research they are looking for. 

What is it they want?  More of an Airbnb approach! 

A page or a tab they can study when they google search that comes up and tells them what they want to know. What are our premium options? How are they described? In realtors’ terms helping them envision themselves in it or in typical sales terms? Great pictures as if it were an Airbnb. 

Pricing. Are we offering the prices, thereby not making them ask us still hiding behind ‘call us for pricing’ when it comes to a business? 

Testimonials. They reach out to their peer group to ask if they’ve used us, and if they haven’t, they have nowhere to go to see what we are like or how people have used us.  A couple of video testimonials of people from the 35-45 age group will go a long way as to reenforcing why to use us. 

What does the area include in detail? (Not just food and beverage). What are the benefits we have of using the space? 

Reviews…good and bad. The new generation of buyers are used to researching reviews. Do we have any? Do we encourage people to give us reviews? 

Suggestions of how their peers have used us which shows how creative and open we are.

An easy option for afterhours purchase? We have found these buyers either want answers or will buy 5-7 p.m. or at night around 11 p.m. or early morning around 4 or 5 a.m. We don’t have to be up all those times BUT we should have a button to push for purchasing now along with a text here to receive a call between xxx and xxxx. And if our Premium reps are up to it, being available on a rotational basis from 5-7 p.m. should a text come through, we often close a deal right then because they are already qualified!  

Our Premium buying market is more geared to researching on their own and we have so little to help them in this. They will do it after hours or before work. They are used to using Airbnb’s on their trips and the ease of getting an Airbnb. Let’s put OUR Airbnb’s, our premium spaces, in a format they are more accustomed to!

Change is essential if we are moving forward.