Two years ago when I officially started doing business, I remember having the worst case of butterflies you could imagine. Some of it was due to uncertainty– would I be overwhelmed with more clients than I could handle (I wish), would I make a mistake that would expose me as the rookie that I was. However, the majority of my concerns and reservations were based primarily on the dreaded “first consultation”.
I was consumed with anxiety and although I had yet to snag a lead to consult with, I prepped endlessly. I remember writing a 2-page script and memorizing it so I could then record myself to make sure I delivered my message clearly, eloquently and appeared knowledgeable of all things “travel”. I subjected my husband and sister to “consultation rehearsals” and drilled them on what I needed to improve.
Then finally the day came. I had my first consultation. Although it was a phone consultation, I remember being so nervous my palms were sweating. I had to take deep breaths just to keep myself from hyperventilating.
To my surprise I was able to get through the first half of the consultation without a glitch; but suddenly out of nowhere I forgot the lines from my script. I couldn’t remember what I just said let alone what I was going to say next. While I was figuring this out, there was a long pause in our conversation and the prospect saved us both from this awkward situation by asking a question. It snapped me out of my reverie and I finished the consultation feeling like a complete idiot.
After the call I was mortified and convinced myself that I was not going to make it in this business if I couldn’t even do a simple consultation. I dutifully followed up with my client but didn’t expect him to return my emails or calls. But to my surprise he responded immediately with the good news that he wanted me to plan his upcoming honeymoon. I vowed to do whatever I could to redeem myself though the actual planning of his honeymoon so he would somehow forget the tragic consultation.
Thinking back on that day two years ago I now realize my mistake. I gave a speech when my I should have been listening. I believe the key to my success; will ultimately lie in my ability to truly plan the type of vacation my clients will never forget. To achieve this I believe the key to this is to ask questions and then listen to what they have to say.
The pre-consultation dread is gone; but I must admit I still get a little nervous beforehand. Knowing that I don’t have to make a speech makes it so much easier for me to focus on what is most important, the client.
I am curious to hear how your first consultation went and if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Tracy Kidd is the owner and agent of The Traveling Kidd in Central New Jersey. She specializes in planning travel for couples, friend getaways, and groups. She is a member of NACTA and entered the industry in 2010. Yo can contact Tracy at www.travelingkidd.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org