I pride myself on my knowledge. Whenever I become involved in any endeavor, I really try to become as much of an expert as I can. I take the time to do extra research. I ask for opinions from other experts. I learn from my mistakes and I am very willing to share my knowledge with others. Sometimes I am a fast learner and other times it takes more time to become proficient. I am sure you are no different.
We hang our shingle (or our URL) out as a travel professional. We explain what we do ad-nauseum. We network. We travel. We read. We research. We surf the web. We attend training. We listen to webinars. We speak with suppliers. All of this together makes us what we are-professionals! We are experts in our field. So why are there clients and prospects that just don’t get it and feel they know better? Why call us in the first place?
I specialize in single parent travel. Every family situation is unique and there are countless hurdles that might pop up in a travel experience. Passports and the specialized forms for a MIA parent are the norm as are authorization letters from non-traveling parents. We handle recommendations for experiences that fit in the comfort level of the family. We put together families that want to cut expenses. We arrange carpools. We offer advice on all of the other issues that pop up. Just this past August, a single mom called me at 4am before an 8am departure to Turks & Caicos—her son had been abducted by her former husband. Yes, we handled that with an open reservation at the resort and a compassionate airline employee. We recommended an attorney from our database as well as a private investigator. The child was back in mom’s arms in four days and they were on their way to a wonderful vacation—albeit four days later. Oh, and dad was cooling his heels in the clink. This is what we do. But there are three types of people that I have a difficult time managing.
It really irritates me when we put forth advice based on experience, training, and education only to be told, “Well, my boyfriend’s sister says that I should do it this way.” Hello? If you already know the answer you want, why are you wasting my time?
While that customer already knows the answer they want, another is just not happy with the answer you give. You know the type, “The brochure said from $299 for a week on Royal Caribbean, so why can’t I get on the Oasis of the Seas over Christmas for that price?” No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try to explain, you are not going to please this client.
The third type that really irritates me is the one that takes no action at all. They call you for your advice and do nothing with it. How does one handle that situation when you reach out to close the sale or clarify the information and there is no response? I am reluctant to believe that there is a segment of society that gets their kicks out of ignoring travel professionals.
I wish I had the answers; but I don’t. And it is not unique to travel. I have seen it in some of my other interests. People call you for advice and then ignore it. Go figure. How do you deal with it? What are some of your best tips for working with these three types?