There is a thin line between “customer service” and being a door mat. Remember–you can’t be all things to all people.
If there is one common refrain I hear (and if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times) it is:
Potential clients contact me to milk me for as much information as they can before they head out to book their own vacation on the internet.
Here is my answer:
It is your business and you can run it any way you so choose. If you have a fee, the best time to explain this is upfront. Nobody likes surprises. Not me. Not you. Nobody!
If your policy is to charge a “research fee” after the first ten minutes of dialogue, then it’s your obligation to do so. It’s your business. It’s your time. If you choose not to get paid for what you can offer clients, then whose fault is that?
Remember that there will always be two types of people. Those who you can help; and those you can’t help. Of those you can help, there are also two types. Those who will be glad to pay you for your services; and those who will try to avoid paying you.
Of these four types, it is your responsibility to hunt down more of the type you can help, and who are glad to pay you. If they’re not down right giddy about paying you, at least they will follow through.
Please, please, please understand the following. This sounds a lot easier than it is.
I suppose the word “confidence” also comes into play. If you are truly “confident” in the role you play, then it should be easier to get paid for your services.
There is no “system” per se, but if you feel that your knowledge is valuable, then no apology is needed for asking to be compensated. The problem arises when the individual agent either does not believe in their own value, or they are not adding any value to the relationship.
And this brings us full-circle in today’s Big Idea. If you want to become more confident and more worthy of higher fees, then it just might behoove you to start reading more about your business and your competition. And make no mistake about it folks, you are in the marketing business first, and the travel industry second.
Mike Marchev has “been around the bases” more than a few times, and enjoys sharing his street-smart lessons with who ever will pause long enough to listen.