Story and photos by Chris Samuels (originally posted by Tempe Chamber of Commerce)
For nearly 40 years, Karla Boyles has been involved in selling one thing or another. She started her career in the fitness industry, then in 2004 moved to hotels, eventually settling into her role as director of sales for the Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe and the adjacent Red Lion Inn.
Except she never settled.
Now, after being honored as the Hampton Sales Leader of the Year, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce sat down with Boyles to discover her sales secrets and what she values most to make the most out her customer’s visit the best in Tempe. Karla was nominated to receive the award through her general manager. Out of the around 800 Hampton locations, which is a brand under Hilton Hotels, 495 sales directors were nominated to receive the award.
“My G.M. put me in and then Hilton looks at my work, ‘cause they can look at everything I do,” Boyles said. “They can look my mix of business, how much corporate business I brought in, my request for proposal … they look at your turnaround, they look at your national accounts, how many have I been on, how many have I gained, how many have I won, so there’s a lot of different angles they look at.”
So, what does the Sales Leader of the Year have to share? First off, success starts with her staff and the notion that “everyone sells.” Hotels typically employ a younger and less experienced workforce, and Boyles uses that to her advantage because she believes millennials are “climbers and drivers and want to learn more.”
“They’re always asking me, ‘what do you do? Tell me how you do it,’” she says. “So I try to always talk to them about how I got an account, what that account looked like, what that account can be. I give them numbers, I show them our budget so they’re aware of what we have to hit each month. I give them different words to talk to guests, and different ways to talk to our guests to make things seem not so painful for our guests if our rates are really high … A little verbiage like that will let [the customer] go ‘oh, I get it.’
“Every day, I walk up to the front desk and I just try to talk to them about a different topic, whatever is on my mind that day. Or I ask them if there’s anything I can help them with and they always have something. They want to learn. They want to know what I’m doing and they want to know how they can better speak to that guest.”