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Watch Your Tone

Recently I made two major mistakes in my business that were so bad I wish I could turn back the clock and have a do-over. I had failed to heed the advice which says “Watch your tone” in any of your communications.

My favorite way of communicating is via e-mail. For me it is a time saver. When dealing with specific itineraries and instructions it helps to have a written record. It is not only what the majority of my competitors are doing, but it has the ability to send mixed messages. Because you cannot put inflections into the written word unless you are a texting teen and use the library of smiley faces and abbreviations, you run the risk of alienating a good friend or what could be a valued client.

In one instance, a good friend sent an email offering advice on how to expand on a project I had just completed. I was having a pretty tough day having had to replace a phone at the last minute and I sent off a three or four word pretty terse response. Twice. While one can argue that the friend could have easily picked up the phone and been met with a far different response, I have no excuse for responding the way I did. I may have fractured the relationship permanently. I hope not as I am sure this person has had bad days too.

The second instance occurred this past week. After a series of back and forth emails on an itinerary that was going to take quite a bit of research, I mentioned my consultation fee. It mattered little to this client that I was going to cut my fee in half as he is a fellow chamber member. When I met this client at a networking event, we sat down for a face to face consultation. He said that he had been put off by the idea of the fee in an email and suggested that it would be far better to me to introduce and explain it either in person or at least by phone.

This sale will end up being both an educational experience on a new destination for me and the chance to show why someone would want to not only use my services but pay a fee for it as well.

Take this opportunity to learn from the mistakes I have made. Practice what I preach and remember how important it is to watch your tone. You could end up damaging a relationship slowly built over the years and you could end up costing yourself in terms of income and in reputation.

Chuck Flagg is a regular contributor to TRO and an independent owner/operator of Cruise Holidays in Canton, GA. His website is www.theflaggagency.com He can be found on Twitter @theflaggagency

  2 thoughts on “Watch Your Tone

  1. Mike Marchev says:

    Chuck,
    This is a major league lesson.
    Thanks for sharing it with TRO’s readers.
    Well written.
    Well said.

    Mike Marchev

  2. Jim Fish says:

    I believe this is one of todays biggest challenges for travel retailiers…selling by email. Most of us express ourselves best over the phone or in person…with so many clients choosing to have all correspondence by email…qoutes, product insights, and destination tips. It becomes more about information and not selling. “How to Sell to Clients via Email”. Would love to hear other email selling tips.

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