I know something about your clients. On the right side of your clients’ brains lives an Explorer. On the left side of your clients’ brains lives an Accountant. These two cerebral imps have an uneasy relationship in everyone’s psyche. The Explorer wants to talk about adventure, love, memories and romance. The Explorer gets the concept of value. The Accountant likes numbers, logistics, itineraries and schedules and only understands the idea of cost. You want your clients to see new sights, experience wondrous destinations and taste strange new foods. The problem too many travel professionals encounter, however, is their tendency to address the Accountant when they should be speaking to the Explorer.
I’ve often written on the importance of first talking to the right side of every client’s brain. When we allow our clients to control the direction of the conversation, too often the Accountant is driving and steers us right down to the bottom line, an abysmal place from which to plan a journey. Your clients may live in the routine, logical, work-a-day world, but they long to be Explorers. It seems a shame, then, to let the Accountant be in charge of the travel planning exercise.
So here is what you do: speak to the Explorer first and win him over. That way, when the Accountant finally shows, he will have a better attitude. When we learn to paint a picture of a trip in words or photos, when we romance a memory, a destination or activity, we move far beyond the logical, rational impediments to travel and into a more mythical, emotional realm. When you do so, you activate the Explorer and that is the archetype you want to take on the Accountant.
Doing so is a service, one of real value.
Without your help, your clients will approach their planning from the same rational, logical mindset they use to purchase a washer and dryer. Thinking about features, logistics and numbers locks the mind in a straight line both originating and terminating in “the budget.” The rational side of our mind gives undue weight to matters like price. It’s up to you, the travel professional, to assist in breaking through those barriers to a life experience.
As travel coaches charged with the responsibility of helping people travel well, understand this exercise is not manipulation for the sake of merely making a sale. If your clients approach every trip thinking first and foremost about cost and price then they will most always accept less than they deserve. The upgrade to a better cabin, the better view, the extra sightseeing will be left on the table in the interest of the “budget” and a life experience will be the lesser to save $300.
How often do you reach out to your clients not to sell them anything, but simply to communicate your love of travel? You can do so in person, through social media, through brochures and travel videos. The ability to speak to your clients’ more intuitive, holistic faculties is a skill possessed by the best travel professionals and one you can develop.
Your clients are civilians. You are the professional. It’s only natural for them to come to you speaking firstly about cost and budgets. Take charge of the conversation. By setting the proper context, you help ensure your role in shaping a lifetime of inspiring memories.