Are you looking for new business? Think of your search for new clients for your business as a job or project, just like you would if you were unemployed and starting out to look for work. Begin by getting yourself organized and make a list of potential employers or “clients” who you think you would like to work for.
WRITE A RESUME
Whether or not you give this to a client, it’s an excellent exercise in learning about yourself and your own qualifications as a travel consultant. If you haven’t done a resume for quite a while, you can find lots of sample forms on Google. Chances are that during this process you will clarify your qualifications as a travel consultant. What an employer (your potential clients) really wants to know is how you excelled at past jobs. They want to know about your achievements.
How would you answer the following on your resume?
- How do you stand out among others who have held the same job?
- Did you make or save the employer (your clients) money?
- Did you initiate any new procedures that improved service?
Getting new business can be just like going through a job search process
GET TO KNOW THE COMPETITION
Make a list of 10 things that really make you stand out from your competition? Do you deliver documents to their home or office? Are you available evenings and weekends for consultations? Maybe you are an Africa Wildlife Specialist or Incentive Travel Consultant. One of my agents does fund-raising cruises for organizations, and another specializes in cruises for caregivers. Whatever it is that sets you apart should be on your list.
CREATE A PORTFOLIO
Are your walls in your office covered with certificates of achievement? Perhaps you have completed your Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) accreditation, or you have become a Princess Commodore, a Sandals Specialist, or possibly a CLIA Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC). If they are not on your walls, they may be tucked away in a drawer or file somewhere. Why not display these achievements in a way that will help you get the job? I took all of my certificates and put them in a very nice album that I always take with me when I meet with potential new clients. I have also included articles that I have written on various destinations that I’ve visited. I review the contents on a regular basis to remove outdated articles or update certificates. This has worked tremendously well because it gives the clients a visual and professional image of me and my qualifications.
PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW
Just as in any job interview, you wouldn’t talk about salary before the end of interview process. Discuss your qualifications first and why you think you are best suited for the job. Then, find out exactly what are the expectations of your potential employer (your client). The very last step would be quoting prices.
DETAIL YOUR QUALIFICATIONS
Learn how to give rapid-fire answers to why a client should give you the job. List all of the common questions that may be asked of you, such as, “Why should I book with you rather than over the internet?” One of my answers would be this: “I will work with you on a personal one-on-one basis throughout the planning process and through your welcome home to make sure you get exactly what you want. If you use an Internet source, you will most likely never talk to the same agent twice.
Another question might be, “Aren’t you more expensive?” My answer: “Actually, in many cases I offer prices that are lower than the Internet because I have access to many sources and have established preferred supplier relations to make sure you are getting the best price.” I also mention specific times when I have saved a client’s vacation because I was available to intervene on their behalf when a problem occurred during a trip. Don’t be afraid to mention the various horror stories that you have heard about Internet bookings that have gone horribly wrong. Remember, this interview period may be your only chance. Make sure you come across confident, experienced and eager to get the job!
“If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you have to look, act and dress professionally.”
PORTRAY A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you have to look, act and dress professionally. I know that we are in the business of selling fun, but it is still a business…and it’s your business. When I go to conferences on selling luxury travel, I am always amazed to see travel agents show up in shorts and flip flops. Invest in one nice suit or, at the minimum, get some quality casual business wear with YOUR brand or logo on it.