What Travel Agents Can Learn from Barbers | TravelResearchOnline


What Travel Agents Can Learn from Barbers

Hairdressers. Stylists.  Barbers. Beauticians. The profession goes by many names, but chances are pretty good that you have one in your circle of acquaintances. As I was once told by a wise woman, only crazy people cut their own hair.  Certainly my own experience with stylists indicates some important qualities:

  • Loyalty – I go to the same one every time when possible, and I feel guilty when I don’t;
  • He schedules the next appointment before I leave;
  • I tip, because I know it’s expected, and because I understand the practice.

There are lessons in each of these points for all travel consultants.  Yet, there is one aspect of going to my barber that has been true of every “stylist” I have ever had since I can remember, maybe since I was six years old: they know how to socialize.

Let’s never forget this important lesson. The ability to speak with anybody, not about travel but about anything, is so vitally important to a business person.  My barber doesn’t tell me much about himself – he asks about me.  How is my family and where am I traveling and am I doing anything interesting this week. Moreover, here in Florida’s capital, he knows the inside scoop on politics.  He never betrays his sources (other clients, I’m sure) but is in tune with the important issues of the city and the state. He knows how to involve himself without seeming pushy or intrusive. He has a point of view, but never seems partisan; rather, he seems well reasoned and considered. He speaks not only about what is good for him, but what is good for “us” as Americans, as people.  That is both art and skill, and, unfortunately, becoming ever so rare.

Nolan Burris has a great marketing sermon on social media where he reminds everyone that the first principle is socializing. Be friendly. Talk about things. Involve yourself. Have fun. My barber does all these things, with sharp instruments in his hands.

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It’s not a hard lesson, but it’s one we sometimes fail to bear out.  Your clients want to know who you are and what you do, and they want to know you have a real interest in their lives.

  3 thoughts on “What Travel Agents Can Learn from Barbers

  1. Wish I was as good long term as i seem to be in this regard. It is invaluable. Be current, without being a know-it-all, learn to laugh at yourself and by all means, say thank you for their patronage!

  2. Very interesting and yes, socializing is so key to our job as travel advisor. Being a good listener is a great trait for anyone…one of my most admired travel advisor friends remembers every conversation we have ever had..she’s very good at what she does.

  3. Being a good listener is key to travel advising. You want your client to do what they want to do not what you think they should do. My most admired fellow travel advisor remembers every conversation we’ve ever had and she is very successful and respected in the travel industry

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