MARRIOTT Marketing: 8 Selling Lessons Learnt as a Front Desk Clerk

In 2001 I was a struggling author who supplemented his income by checking people into their rooms and selling books. With a wife, 3year old and a newborn every dollar of income mattered.  As a Front Desk Clerk at the Courtyard Marriott in Montgomery, Alabama I was able to meet business professionals from all walks of life. The one great thing they had in common is that most of them had to read in order to succeed in their line of work.

One day I had a crazy thought to sell books to guests as I checked them in. Similac was the beverage of choice for the newborn and the cost of each can made the idea not so crazy after all. Through the word MARRIOTT I will inspire you with the 8 things that I learned about selling books as a Front Desk Clerk.

The M is for Mind.

When you are checking someone in you only have a few minutes to say hello and greet them with a key. In my mind I played what I would say over and over again until I felt confident in saying it. This is where you write the first sales script.

The A is for Ask.

Once you know what you are doing it’s time to speak life into the possibility. I would say hello and welcome to the Courtyard Marriott. After verifying who they were and payment information and room was correct I would ask do you like to read?

The R is for Reel.

When you fish the reel is what brings the meal to you. Most guests would be curious with their answers and ask why I asked them about reading? If they answered why my response would explain to them that I’m an author and I want to introduce you to my bestselling book.

The R is for Ready.

Once I knew who was interested about seeing my book I would bring one from underneath the counter and place it right in front of their fingertips. It was hard for them to say no to me as they were seeing me in person and also on the cover of the book.

The I is for Information.

After the sale I quickly would let them where they could find certain things in the book and also the other products and services that I offer that may be of interest.  The second thing I learned was to always ask if they have a business card so I could follow up with them and stay in touch.

The O is for Options.

In the hotel business there are slow days when the rooms are not at regular price. Rooms at that time were as high as $109.99 a night and as low as $59.99 on others. When the General Manager would tell us the least amount that a room could sell for it gave you options. When guests knew that rooms were normally $109 a night they would gladly pay $59 and give me $10 in cash for my book. The hotel booked a room, I sold a book, and the guest received a great rate along with my autograph.

The T is for Thanks.

Make sure you thank each and every person that checks in and out as a guest in your life. How you treat them determines if they come back as a customer or not.

The T is for Travel.

At most I would sell 3 to 4 books a night. I realized at that pace I would starve if I did not increase my income. I learned about how to set up and sell at military bases. One week I would work at the front desk and the next week I would travel all over the country and sell to military bases at their PX and BX stores.

Thanks for checking into my life through these words of encouragement. Please enjoy your stay and let others know by leaving a guest comment below.

Image courtesy of Michal Marchol


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About Derrick Hayes

Derrick Hayes is the Author of 1 WORD Is All It Takes, Creator of Derricknyms, Developer of the app Motivation To Your Mobile, Nominator of Today's Honoree, and blogs as the Encouragement Speaker. Derrick Hayes is available to present or do Derricknym signings at your next meeting, conference or event. Feel free to donate to the cause.

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18 Responses to “MARRIOTT Marketing: 8 Selling Lessons Learnt as a Front Desk Clerk”

  1. It’s nice to be here and learn what MARRIOTT really it was… I will book mark this one…
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  2. Thanks for sharing your useful tips, your last point is my favorite one, I wish I could have the chance to travel a little bit more…
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  3. Danyelle Franciosa Reply April 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Such a great post. Great abbreviation and meaning, that is truly brilliant and perfect. MARRIOTT is not in the dictionary right? But still, it is great. Nice share!
    Danyelle Franciosa recently posted..Brisbane Bifold Doors Chermside – Quality Brisbane Bifold Doors Supplying Chermside AreaMy Profile

  4. Excellent advice which I plan to pass onto my sales team! I also agree that showing appreciation to each and every customer, or guest, is essential.

  5. Thanks for sharing this information with us, it’s nice to learn about what MARRIOTT is…
    Audrey recently posted..Utiliser le Home Staging pour vendre son logementMy Profile

  6. Really nice advices, I really like your point on the T for Thanks. Some bloggers and marketers forget about it nowadays.
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  7. The ideas you’ve shared here are fantastic and no doubt so great and it may really improve the variety of individuals visiting your website.
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  8. This is my first time to hear about MARRIOTT. I love the way it is said. I learn from this one and very useful enough. Thanks for sharing this one and a food for thought for my day.
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  9. Now I know what MARRIOTT stands for. :) Thanks for your idea because it is really helpful and so effective. Your a genius!
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  10. Actually this is my first time to understand very well of what is “marriot” seems to be.. Thanks for a kind of information…
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  11. Great information! It’s easy to take note of this because Marriot is a common word. When did you learn this?

    Thanks for this post!

    -Mary T.
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  12. That was some great entrepreneurial spirit you showed there. Did the Marriott not mind you selling your book to guests though? I would have thought that most big hotels would frown upon it. I guess it’s worth asking / trying anyway though.
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  13. I didn’t know about MARRIOTT; I’ve only heard about Marriott hotels :P These lessons are extremely useful. Thanks for sharing!
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  14. That is so clever! I’ve taken bits of facts that I’ve learned in past jobs and applied them to my present job or future goals. I love it that you created an opportunity that most people would overlook and that’s fantastic.

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