“WAVE” Season, the busiest time of the year for the travel industry, is just around the corner. I challenge you to ask yourself a simple question: “Will you be busy selling or just be busy being busy?”
After the holidays, consumer interest in vacations increases exponentially. If someone takes the time to reach out to you, the odds are good they are actually planning a vacation. They may be just getting started in the process or already know exactly what they want, but the real question is, will they book it with you?
If you treat new inquiries as though they are simply “shoppers”, you risk falling into the same trap many seasoned travel agents have done over the years and you will lose out on a tremendous amount of business. Conversely, if you assume everyone is a buyer, I promise – you will book a lot more sales.
Not everyone will buy from you, but they will purchase their vacation somewhere, so don’t sabotage your own success by assuming they are all price-driven; this gets back to the “shopper” mentality. To be fair, if you have positioned yourself in such a way that you always “guarantee the lowest price”, you will have a great deal more activity; busy-work, and possibly a number of transactions, but probably not much to show for in the bottom line. It’s the nature of the beast.
If you want to turn shoppers into buyers, here are a few things you will need to do consistently.
First – Require a valid telephone number. Serious prospects will have no problem providing this information. It will allow you to prioritize them in order of importance: In-person, telephone, then e-communication. If you pick up the phone and call the prospect, you will to start the all-important process of building rapport. If you are simply emailing a price, you have missed a tremendous opportunity. Remember, people do business with people they like. Let them get to know and like you.
Second – ASSUME they will buy from you. This is one of the most powerful sales techniques you can use. Don’t act like they are just another “shopper”. Treat them like they are already a customer. Based on what you learn in the discovery or qualifying process, use assumptive tones, words, and phrases when conversing.
Third – Follow a systematic sales process to keep you on track and on time. During Wave season especially, time is in short supply. A good, simple sales process will help you operate efficiently and keep you on track. It may seem awkward at first, but quickly becomes second nature. Stick a post-it note on your monitor to help remind yourself of the steps.
Fourth – Give them 48 hours to decide. Regardless of the option period (unless it is shorter) – give them 2 days. This will create a stronger sense of urgency, but also ensure you follow-up in a timely manner. In my experience, agents give the prospect the same option window extended by the supplier. This is wrong on so many levels. We all know what it is like to try and chase them down a week later – half the time they don’t remember who you are. Two day follow-up helps keep you top of mind. It also gives them less time to shop your package to other retailers.
Follow these simple guidelines and you can turn busy work into profitable selling time.
Dan Chappelle works with sales professionals to achieve their full potential by shifting their mindset to produce real results. He speaks internationally on strategic business development in the travel & tourism vertical. His signature keynote & workshop “Secrets of Selling to the Affluent Traveler” helps organizations, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, employees, and business owners gain meaningful competitive advantage. He is also the author of The Wealthy Travel Agent to be published January 2017. Learn more at www.WealthyTravelAgent.com