January is already at an end. People are tired from a long, painful 2010. They’re unsure about the economy. Blah, blah. Yes, this is all true. But you know what else? People have now skipped a couple of vacations for fear of the economy. Americans don’t like to skip vacations. Our lead count in the first ten days of January has proven to be quite impressive at Tripology, matching 2009 numbers. People are requesting trips and you should get in on your share of the action. Do you want to start 2011 off right? Here are some key things you need to do:
- Sell to someone who knows you: Go back to your database and pull up all the names of all the people that booked a vacation for travel in the spring of 2010, 2009 and 2008. Call them. Email them. Contact them somehow with a few vacation specials for spring 2011; something like one Greek Island yacht cruise, one Caribbean resort stay and one family friendly Florida or California trip. Have a few “close to home” long weekend road trip ideas handy as well. We have plenty at RandMcNally.com. Of course, make sure the trips are relevant to their preferences. These are just examples. You get the idea. I can’t imagine there’s a single American who doesn’t need a vacation. All things aside, this is a perfect time to market travel. This covers your existing customer base.
- Get Moving: Get back in the swing of things of finding new customers. If you’re already a Tripologist, log in to Tripology, update your profile and start taking advantage of the lead activity. “Fish where the fish are” as they say. If you haven’t updated your profile in a while, you should. We’re happy to help if you need us. Simply contact one of our Relationship Managers. If you’ve never tried lead-generation, now is the time.
- The New York Times Travel Show is the place to be: If you’re in NYC or can travel there, register NOW for the New York Times Travel Show, taking place Feb 25-27 but especially the 25th which is exclusively open to travel professionals. On that day I’m Chairing the “Focus on Specialization” series of panels and presentations. Topics include everything from “Opportunities for Growth,” “Finding Customers in a Down Economy,” and “How Social Media can help you become a specialist.” After the presentations, the trade show floor will be open just for travel professionals. This is your time to meet with all the suppliers. You should meet a sales manager from every one of your favorite tour operators and cruise lines. These are the “connections” every consumer expects you to have and these are the folks that will get you out of jam if needed. For more details on the NY Times Travel Show, visit http://bit.ly/NYTts
- Blog, Post, Tweet, Rinse and Re-tweet: Start blogging about the most amazing vacations you’ve taken or sold. If it’s cold where you live, talk about warm destinations. If you live in a warm climate, talk about ski vacations. If you’re land-locked, talk about cruises. Get it? People want to get away. Include pictures; people love pictures! Feature some of your clients and have them send you photos of their vacation. Heck, tell them to send you photos from their vacation. Then, tell everyone you know about your blog. If you can’t commit to blogging regularly, for heaven’s sake, make sure you are talking up vacations and travel advice on facebook. If the whole social media thing is still foreign to you (please PLEASE tell me it isn’t), get some help from your kids or grandchildren. Just don’t expect them to friend you on facebook.
- Seriously, get a new phone: Buy a new smartphone. Yea, yeah, I know… your phone works just fine…and has for the past five years. If you’re carrying around a mobile phone that is more than two years old, it is time to upgrade and I mean really upgrade. You’re phone should be doing a lot more for you than ringing. Your phone should allow you to get online, research, post to social media platforms, get email, take pictures and videos and yes, buy leads while you’re out and about. Seriously, a smartphone can make it so you’re never “out of the office.” Your goal for 2011; be open for as many hours a day as you can and be as productive as you can in those hours.
- Be Unique: Here’s an idea, carry around a smartphone with dozens of pictures of beach, sand and ocean. When you meet with a potential client, show them the pictures and say “I can get your toes in this sand in a week.” Silly, but fun, right?
- Smile, would you? If you’re calling people, be chipper and be positive. Don’t go overboard, but you’d be amazed at how important a good attitude is.
- Be Persistent: Half the battle of getting a new customer is being at the right place at the right time. People are time-starved and you may need to push a bit to get a new client. Don’t be rude, but don’t be shy either. Most times, you won’t get the business unless you ask for it. Don’t be an order taker, be a Pit Bull!
- You’re Fired! Fire your time-wasting clients. I know this one is scary, but it’s time to get serious. You have three months to get the start of the year under your belt and do so profitably. You won’t have time for time wasters. If you find someone is taking up too much time without yielding results, cut them loose. Let them waste someone else’s time.
- “Gimme an E!” Finally, do you need some enthusiasm? We can help. Follow us on twitter (@tripology), facebook (www.facebook.com/tripology). We give advice on how to find customers. We share sales ideas from successful Tripologists. We’ll even try and make you laugh every once in a while. Life is too short not to laugh regularly. Plus, we’re on all the social media platforms to hear what *you* have to say. Want to tell us something? We’re listening. Make sure you check out all the Rand McNally Social Media accounts as well.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Do you have any more? If so, let me know. Post them on our Facebook page or send us a tweet. Now go get busy and happy selling!