Not too long ago I went to grab a bite at a neighborhood fast food joint. I gave very straightforward instructions… no mayonnaise or cheese on my hamburger. Very simple! My meal came and, wouldn’t you know, there was not just a bit of mayonnaise on my burger but loads of mayonnaise and a slab of cheese on top. The counter person took my order but was she actually listening?
In most any organization you are going to encounter people who simply don’t listen. We as consumers are basically talking to ourselves because they hear ‐ but are not listening. There are actually two kinds of sales personnel. There are order takers and there are refined sales people. The order taker just inputs the info into a computer or writes down adequate details to carry out the job. I did get my burger ‐ right? A real salesperson will qualify, profile and, not only ask questions–but they will listen.
Since it only costs me $6.00 for my hamburger, I eventually got the fact that the order taker did not listen and ultimately did not give me what I really wanted. Will your travel buyer quickly get over their disappointment when they wanted a great, intimate, romantic weekend and you sent them to a hotel that, even though it was a nice place inside, had rooms for your clients that overlooked dumpsters. Listening to the customer, in this case, provides the agent the ideal chance to up sell and give the buyer what they truly want — an affair of the heart with the special person in their life. For instance ‐ take a room with an ocean view or a view of the night lights in the distance. Help them picture themselves on the balcony with a drink of their choice watching the sunset, or perhaps enjoying room service for breakfast on the balcony cozied up in the fluffy terry cloth robes the hotel offers. Now that is definitely selling relaxation and romance. You get that type of experience with the right hotel and in the right rooms.
Listening requires hearing what your consumer says. Listening requires understanding what they mean. Ask questions if you are not certain. Listening involves focus and concentration. This implies that you’re not typing on the laptop or texting whilst on the telephone with the consumer. Listening is a powerful ability to master, and it benefits us in all areas of life.
Set yourself apart from the order takers. Be the most effective travel expert you can be. Paying attention pays. The best reward to listening to the customer is repeat business, referrals, and greater commission! Try it.
Keith Powell is a renowned travel industry speaker and author with 35 years of experience in the business. He’s crisscrossed the globe from Bangkok to Cannes, from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver presenting programs both domestically and internationally. Known as “The Business Revivalist,” Keith has presented to client groups ranging from associations and airlines to cruise lines and Fortune 500 companies. His book “The Transforming Power of Achievement” is available at www.keithpowellspeaker.com. Be sure to visit his facebook page Coffee with Keith, for a dose of business caffeine.