This will be a quick journal entry as the project itself was pretty straightforward….and very uncomfortable.

I just finished up a small spring project for a new Destination Hotels acquisition, The Cliff House, located in Ogunquit, Maine. The resort is currently undergoing a major renovation and will re-open the summer with brand new guest rooms, world-class spa, dining spaces and meeting/event space.  In anticipation of its opening, the Interim General Manager wanted to get some outreach going. My assignment was to:

  1. Reach out to the more exclusive summer camps in Maine to let them know about the renovation and re-opening with an incentive for them to promote the resort to parents of incoming summer campers
  2. Write copy for upcoming eblasts directed to A. past leisure guests B. brides and C. meeting planners promoting the renovation and re-opening (and deploy the leisure blast)
  3. Resize images as needed

I have to say, numbers 2 and 3 from the assignment above were a piece of cake.  It’s stuff I do all the time. It was project number 1 that scared the living daylights out of me, though, and here’s why.

I know marketing; I don’t know sales. I’ve never been trained in it, I don’t consider myself good at it, and quite honestly, I find it a bit creepy. See, I’ve always been on the other end of sales calls with people trying to get me to advertise in their pubs, sponsor their events, etc. and my M.O. was usually not to pick up my phone unless I recognized the caller. I was too busy to listen to their spiel, and most likely either didn’t want or couldn’t afford what they were pushing. Those who know me well know I have to really work at being outgoing, so the thought of cold-calling these camps sent chills down my spine.

But you only grow by doing things that are sometimes uncomfortable, so I took on the new project the only way I knew how: I prepped like hell.

I created scripts for myself. I created if/then scenarios. What if they don’t answer the phone? What are the most important aspects to get across in the message? I wrote out everything, then I’d cut and cut to get it as short as I could with only the need-to-know info.

Then another thought stopped me dead in my tracks: Oh God, what if they actually pick up the phone? Seized with panic at the possibility, I calmed myself by remembering that people do this all the time (and yes, that I’m being completely irrational). I wrote scripts for these situations by trying to remember my experience of being on the other end of this scenario for so many years, thinking back to what they’d said that would actually keep me talking to them on those rare occasions I actually picked up. What do I want them to know the quickest, assuming they’re going to want to hang up immediately?

Then I had all kinds of scenarios going through my mind of them cursing me out over the phone or threatening to sue me (somehow for something), but I tried to push those out of my head …..As you may remember from past posts, I can tend toward catastrophizing.

The GM hadn’t given me sales goals, so I decided to create some for myself. All this prep work made me feel more confident going into these calls every day, and it paid off. Out of 17 camps, I got five of them on the phone and four of those agreeing to pass along the info to parents.  So, I don’t know that you’d say I totally rocked the assignment, but I was pretty pleased with my results. Moreover, the GM was pleased with my results. Beyond that, I gave her a few more ideas of how to reach out to this demographic, which she was excited to receive.

So all in all, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out.

Here’s hoping I never have to do it again.

On another topic, Jason and I are headed to the Olympic Peninsula next week to celebrate his birthday. Camera batteries are charging as we speak.  My next post should be a fun one.