Your 2009 Marketing Plan: Be Client Centric | TravelResearchOnline

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Your 2009 Marketing Plan: Be Client Centric

 TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

We have come a long way since our first article in September on a 2009 Marketing Plan.  Tomorrow we will launch into the actual compilation and writing of the plan, but first we need an organizing principle, something around which we can build the plan’s point of view. 

In theory, we all agree that the client is the key ingredient in the sales process. Yet, when a sale does not go through, it is usually ourselves and not the client for whom we feel badly. This is a completely normal reaction to losing a big sale, but it also points to a dynamic that, analyzed closely, might help us improve our sales philosophy and ultimately, our sales revenue.

As we memorialize our 2009 Marketing Plan, we will want to put the client at the absolute center of every travel planning effort. As you perform your travel planning rituals, go to extraordinary lengths to dress the client in exactly the right product. Make sure the tour operator, the accommodations, the airline seat, the transfers and the extra activities fit the client. This requires a most intimate knowledge of the client not just in general, but with regard to this trip in particular. Each travel planning effort deserves its own special few minutes spent with the client discussing they “why” of the trip: “Why are you taking this trip?”. What does the client want to achieve? Family time? Relaxation? Exploration? Cultural awareness? The answers to these questions allow you as a travel consultant to more closely match the product to the client. Once you are finished, if the client were not to go, I’ll bet you would feel badly that they missed out on such a perfectly crafted travel experience.

To be truly client centric, you have to be able to translate your story in such a way as to include your client.  You have to see the world through the client’s eyes.  You have to intimately understand what they need from you.  In fact, as the expert, you should understand their needs better than do they.

Put the client, not the product, at the center of every planning effort. Your care and craftsmanship will show.

Exercise – Review your marketing collateral and your notes.  Does your practice reveal a real empathy with the client.  A good way to gauge? Do you translate the features of your practice into benefits?  Your clients are interested in your CTC only to the extent that they benefit from it. As we begin writing our 2009 Marketing Plan, use the welfare of your clients as a reality check and as an organizing principle.

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