Posts Tagged With: sales

There are 45 articles tagged with “sales” published on this site.


Sales Training for Travel Professionals

What type of formal sales and marketing training have you undertaken? If you look at most professions, the sales people are continually taking sales courses on a regular basis. In travel, however, sales and marketing often take a back seat to destination courses and product knowledge. Too seldom do you see real sales and marketing training in our industry.  Even at industry trade shows, “sales seminars” usually end up being more product knowledge in disguise. How important do you think formal training in sales and marketing is and how have you invested in it in the past? Read the rest of this entry »

Get Radical with Problems – Ask WHY?

The word “radical” denotes the idea of getting to the root of a problem. When mathematicians want to find the square root of a number, they use the radical symbol to express the equation. For travel agents, getting radical on a problem means seeking out its cause. One of the best ways to do so is to work backwards and ask, quite simply, “WHY?”

Long ago, we discussed the sales funnel. There, we examined the sales process and noted that at every step of the way, potential clients fell out of our sphere of influence. As we looked to the sales funnel, we noted that a lot of clients were being lost at the top of the sales process and fewer as we went along. However, the further along in the sales process any given client was, the more time and energy we had invested in the client. Read the rest of this entry »

The Most Common Sales Mistakes Travel Agents Make

Are you going to make mistakes in your travel practice? Absolutely! As my father used to say, if you aren’t falling down on occasion, then you aren’t trying hard enough. That said, however, everyone’s goal should be to minimize the problems likely to be encountered in building up the marketing and sales programs for your travel agency. With that in mind, this week we are going to talk about the most common mistakes travel agents make in five very important areas: Sales, Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, and Social Media. We start off the week discussing the most common sales mistakes travel agents make. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop Trying To Sell!

For the past four columns, I introduced four sales myths that I feel may be ruining your chances for success in sales. The travel industry does not have a captured audience when it comes to exhibiting negative responses to these myths. Rejection stress, the number’s game and targeting the right audience is common to all industries, companies and profitable annual reports. You might want to go back and spend a little more focused attention on each myth.

Today, in column number five, I am going to do my best to really confuse you. I am unequivocally suggesting that if you want to sell more, than you must stop trying to sell … immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

Another myth in our profession is that stress, like rejection, is inevitable. In truth, the two often do travel together, weighing down your carrier. But is this condition necessary? Most definitely not. While a lot of sales professionals feel stress, it does not have to rule their life. No one was born with stress. It is something we allow to happen. Stress is self-inflicted in many cases, and is a by-product of pretending that the world operates differently than it really does. 

When our imperfect world, on whose game board we all must play, follows its natural course, we object to its imperfection and thereby create stress. In engineering, stress results from the application of a constant force to an immovable object. In life, the force is your expectation, and the object is reality. You pretend; you guess wrong; you have stress. Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe because it is “hump day” or maybe just because I don’t know how to make today’s sales myth more difficult than it as to be, today’s myth buster is a short one.

Many sales courses will tell you to keep a stiff upper lip when you are rejected, and don’t let it get you down. But once you accept the proposition that you have been rejected, you have given up the psychological high ground and put your self-esteem into retreat. Simply put, you need to reject the notion of rejection. Read the rest of this entry »

Many sales managers preach that a primary prerequisite to be successful in sales is that you must like people. The implication is that you should have the innate capacity and desire to cozy up to just about everybody—or at least everybody with a bankroll in their wallet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hear me out on this one before baling on me. I know what I am talking about.

I agree wholeheartedly that it is a wise maneuver to be civil to all people and that there is no need to be terse or impolite with anybody. I am just as quick to remind you that the quickest way to bankruptcy court is to try to be all things to all “people.” This is the shortest and quickest route to your next venture. Read the rest of this entry »

When asked this week to serve as guest columnist by Richard Earls I was both flattered and challenged. Five “meaningful” insertions that I felt were worth reading tested both my imagination and creativity. Not to mention my writing ability. I decided to hit the ground running and to allocate the first four columns to bashing the popular sales myths. One a day with a curve ball delivered on Friday. Here goes. Happy reading.  – Mike Marchev.


Individuals and sales departments across the country have been stricken with the disease “quit-itis.” They quit everything too soon, from their prospecting efforts to their follow-up attempts. Although they desperately want to succeed and produce the numbers, they let their fears hold them back and convince them to give up. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way for you … or your sales team. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Sale

This week we have studied the concept of “The Close.” For many travel agents, the simple step of asking for a decision from the client is the most difficult part of the sales process. The hesitation many agents feel is an understandable desire to not appear overly aggressive. Yet, a good travel consultant understands the value of the travel to the client of the travel experience and sincerely wants the client to accept the agent’s recommendations.

It is important not to let the time you have put into your research or with the client pull you from keeping your client in the center of the transaction. When you act as a facilitator of the transaction, when you are literally on the “same side of the table” as your client, your concern for their well being will be communicated and they will have a greater confidence in the entire sales process. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Sale With Tact

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 Read the rest of this entry »

Close the Relationship First

Traditional sales places the Close at the end of the process. The sales person asks questions, evaluates the answers and makes a presentation, after which the buyer makes a decision. Because the sales person typically has a limited range of product, the buyer’s decision is based on how well the product meets the buyer’s needs. If the sales person has what the buyer wants or needs, if the price is right, and if the buyer likes the sales person, then the buyer decides to buy from the sales person. The further into the sales process, the more time each party spends “at the table” the more pressure builds toward the close. Everything culminates in a single moment totally under the control of the buyer. Is there any wonder that the Close is the subject of great study and anxiety? Read the rest of this entry »

Close the Client’s Needs

The goal in a consulting relationship is to clarify the client’s thinking. By obtaining commitments from the client each step of the way, there is far less  pressure to “Close” the sale. Completion of the buying process becomes the logical conclusion to everything which the client has previously requested and to which they have committed. By spreading the client’s commitments throughout the buying process, pressure is taken off of a single attempt to “close” and both the client and the travel consultant will feel more confident about the decision making process.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

The Psychology of Closing the Sale

You must have done something right, Mr. or Ms. Travel Professional. Your marketing must be working. The prospective client called and asked to meet with you. You chose a great meeting location, maybe your agency office, maybe a coffee shop. You dressed the part, you rehearsed the meeting and prepared well. You made a terrific presentation. Now it’s time to ask for the prospective client’s business. You can feel the tension. Why is closing so difficult?

Because we make it difficult. Is there any possibility shifting from a transactional model to a relationship/consulting model will remove some of the pressure of “the close?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Radical with Problems – Ask WHY?

The word “radical” denotes the idea of getting to the root of a problem. When mathematicians want to find the square root of a number, they use the radical symbol to express the equation. For travel agents, getting radical on a problem means seeking out its cause. One of the best ways to do so is to work backwards and ask, quite simply, “WHY?”

Long ago, we discussed the sales funnel. There, we examined the sales process and noted that at every step of the way, potential clients fell out of our sphere of influence. As we looked to the sales funnel, we noted that a lot of clients were being lost at the top of the sales process and fewer as we went along. However, the further along in the sales process any given client was, the more time and energy we had invested in the client. Read the rest of this entry »

Your role in each and every travel planning exercise is not to sell travel. In fact, in an established relationship with a client you are not selling anything. Instead, you are assisting clients to make intelligent buying decisions. Some would argue the line I am drawing is one of mere semantics. In new relationships, of course, you do have to sell yourself. Once you are engaged in a relationship with your clients, however, your role dynamically changes. Nevertheless, the difference between being a buyer or a seller is important at the very least from a psychological perspective and worth your consideration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Here is an analogy I don’t like: “Would you like fries with that?” I dislike the analogy for any number of reasons beyond calories and cholesterol. Firstly, the analogy suggests the merits of the sales trick known as “up-selling.” It is inauthentic. If you are a consultant, you don’t up-sell. Instead, recommend. Replace “would” with “should.”

Look, friends, you are the expert here. Why on God’s green Earth would you leave insurance, a balcony view, or an amazing tour as an option? Up-sell? Why not just ask, “Would you like to enjoy yourself?” The answer is pretty clear without asking the question. Instead, recommend the best, most complete package your intelligent assessment of the client and their travel history suggests. If it is too expensive, I assure you they will let you know and you can begin to subtract elements of the plan. (Note the word “intelligent”). Read the rest of this entry »

Every business relationship is built on trust, and travel consulting perhaps more so than most. Rather than a linear, transactional retail paradigm, modern travel sales is about establishing a relationship with the client, analyzing the customer’s needs and making recommendations based on the expertise of the travel consultant. The best practitioners in any field of expertise exhibit a set of characteristics that can be studied, learned and emulated. By looking at the habits and attitudes of top travel consultants, we can set out an agenda for expanding and enhancing our own skill set. Read the rest of this entry »

After a travel professional has been in the industry for a while, it is easy to become disillusioned with the sales process. It’s not hard to understand why. The competition is fierce. Potential clients are jaded from an abundance of mis-information. The sales cycle can be a long one and then the client you have been carefully grooming for a big trip books elsewhere. At some point, we all need to step back and re-evaluate our perspective on sales.

When you gain a new vantage point you quickly realize something interesting. The glitch in the sales process has nothing to do with your clients and everything to do with you. Chances are you are approaching sales from the wrong perspective – your own. Clients don’t want to be sold anything. They want to buy a wonderful trip. Therein lies all the difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it true practice makes perfect? In almost every endeavor, the more you perform a particular task, the better your skills become.  But do we really want to practice on our clients? In every presentation there is certainly a bit of trial and error going on, but the tipping point of the buying process is not a good time to be overtly practicing. The process of mentally rehearsing a presentation is a way of practicing your presentations, and it works. Let’s give the concept of visualization some consideration and see how you might apply it to your travel planning presentations to clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing and Sales – Setting the stage

Over and again, this column has emphasized the need for a strong marketing plan set in writing. However, it is equally true that regardless of how good a marketing program you have, it is the sales process that is going to make or break your business. You can spend lots of money getting consumers to your front door, to give you a call or to visit your website. But if they then don’t allow you to plan their trip, nothing happens and all of that fantastic marketing is for naught. Marketing drives sales, there is little doubt about that. But it is your own understanding and execution of sales technique that, at the end of the day, makes something happen. Read the rest of this entry »

There is probably no aspect of the entire spectrum of marketing that is as problematic as advertising. Done properly, travel agency advertising will influence a target audience. Done poorly, it will, well, make you poor. It’s no wonder that so many travel agencies advertise so minimally, and thereby lose out on a significant opportunity to make people aware of their services.

The secret to an advertising campaign that works is to have the proper expectations going into the campaign. Understand what advertising can, and cannot, do for your travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »