The following is Part Five of the series “The 7 Characteristics of Top Travel Agents“
Top travel agents train their clients. At the outset of the relationship, these agents set expectations. They explain to their clients the services that a travel consultant performs and how the client benefits from those services. Educating the client becomes an ongoing project. By demystifying travel the agent provides the client with base knowledge from which to more confidently operate and feel empowered.
More importantly, however, a good travel consultant will also establish, up front, the role and responsibilities of the client. The client becomes a full and active partner in the relationship. In the initial interview, expectations are set on topics ranging from open communication to the necessity to have payments in on time. This early work sets the tone of a professional relationship. These agents anticipate the problems that might arise and address them from the outset.
Introducing a firm control at the beginning of the relationship allows the agents we interviewed to demand behaviors of clients that assisted in the efficiency and accuracy of the entire planning, booking and follow-up process. By demanding that they client be an active participant, the work load is properly distributed and the clients are more fully engaged in the success of the partnership.
Exercise – Write down all of the things that have been most troublesome about your client relationships. Missed deposits, mistakes, clients booking elsewhere, misunderstandings, etc. Now, write down in each instance what you could have done to prevent the problem in advance if you had known it would occur. Integrate these preventative measures into your practice with every client interview.
Remember that clients should come to you in the context of a professional relationship. If the tone of the relationship is not professional at the outset, adjust it. Make better control and training of your clientbase a goal for 2009.
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