This week we have focused on the entire concept of closing as it relates to the buying process. In short, we have attempted to remove the pressure from a single point – the close- and replace it with trust and a series of understandings and commitments spread across the entirety of the relationship. In every travel planning effort, however, there is always ample opportunity to wreck a lot of good work with an unfortunate comment or misunderstanding.
Just as your mother told you, there are a few topics polite company never discuss. Avoiding select items in the course of your client encounters, no matter how tempting, will serve you well. Ironically, the consultant paradigm more easily sets the travel consultant up to make a social mistake because the parties become more friendly and open to each other. Nevertheless, here are a few pitfalls to avoid on your way to completing the buying process.
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Never argue with a client – if a client has an objection that is based on bad information, don’t simply correct or admonish them. Arguing sets up the wrong tensions and places you again in an adversarial position with the client. Instead, use the tried and true “feel…felt…found” approach. “I understand how you feel (empathy). Many people initially felt that way. What they found out was, however…..” You get the picture.
- Avoid items of a too personal nature and gossip. Keep the relationship professional. Venturing into the personal lives of your client or your family beyond a passing acquaintance risks the relationship.
- Never knock the competition – People appreciate professional competition. Don’t disparage the travel agency down the street or the direct to the public supplier.
- No religion, no politics. These topics will get you into trouble and you can end up arguing with a client. You cannot win an argument with a client. But you know that already.
If the client raises an objection during the buying process, deal with it professionally and with empathy. Never take an objection or any statement personally. You cannot control what a client might say at any given moment. You can, however, control your reactions. Keep everything elevated on a professional level.
Finally, never introduce any pressure to buy into the buying process. Naturally, you must inform the client about payment and deposit deadlines, expirations and other supplier limitations. However, allow this to be the only pressure they feel, other than the pressure of not taking the sound and professional advice you have provided.