Word of mouth marketing is really no more than consumers providing information about you to other consumers. As a travel consultant, you know the value of a good reference. Smart word of mouth marketing encourages and gives people a reason to talk about you and your services. While word of mouth marketing happens with or without your participation, you can encourage and facilitate it.
One of the most important ways to facilitate positive word of mouth activity is to very directly ask for referrals from your existing clients. Give your happy customers a way of easily describing your services to others. Provide two business cards to each of your clients: one for them and one to pass along to someone else. Some clients reward their clients for referrals with a small gift. However, a “Thank You” note is also an acceptable acknowledgement of the favor.
Testimonials are another source of word of mouth marketing techniques. Testimonials provide a third-party endorsement of your travel planning ability. They act as a public record that you have performed well in the past; so well, in fact, that someone felt compelled to give you a testimonial. Such assurances calm the concerns and fears of new clients when they turn over thousands of their hard earned dollars to you for their vacations.
Exercise – Write down a list of clients that you can ask for referral and testimonials. Most satisfied clients are happy to provide both.
Ask the clients on your list to write you a short recommendation of your services. One of the best times to ask is within a few days of a client’s return from a successful trip. Ask permission to place their comments in your marketing materials. Include the testimonials on your web site, in your brochures and on your other printed materials. Below is a short note you might write to request a testimonial.
Would you do a favor for me? I value your business greatly and want more clients exactly like you. Would you provide me with a short two or three sentence recommendation? If you could give me a small testimonial that I can use in my marketing materials, I would be very appreciative. Just a mention of how satisfied you are with my services and the travel planning I have done for you would mean so much.
Once you have obtained your first testimonial, show it to other clients when requesting theirs so they have an idea of how to write one for you.
Incorporate asking for referrals into your marketing plan. Formally request your clients to refer their acquaintances to you. Facilitate the process by making it easy for the client to pass along the good word by providing them with extra business cards and marketing collateral! If you actively promote referral activity with your clients, some of it will return to you in the form new business.