This is part 2 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.
Ask For Referrals On Every Sale
Would you like more customers? (If the answer is no, we should probably have a chat!) Here is a simple way. Ask for them. Actually, to be more precise, you should always ask twice.
Ask At The Very Beginning
When you get a call from a couple who want to take a cruise or book a land vacation, one of the first questions you should ask is, “Are there other friends or family who will be traveling with you?” Carnival says that they find 80 percent of their guests are traveling with other people but a relatively small number of times did everyone book through the same agency. Let that number sink in; then ponder your lost business.
Often, your customers won’t bring this up because their traveling companions are out of your immediate market area and they assume they will work with someone local to them. Here is where you can point out the advantages of the group all working with you: everyone will get the same great price, you can make sure that their cabins or rooms are close together, you can book them on the same shore excursions or side tours, you can book the same dining, etc.
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A great way to help the process along is to send the customer an E-brochure–all the lines offer them. These frequently get forwarded and have a viral effect.
Ask Again After The Client Returns
Hopefully, you are calling your clients when they return to see how their trip went. In the course of the conversation, it is easy to say something along the lines of, “I have to say, working with you was a real delight. I would love to have a hundred of you! Who do you know that could benefit from the kind of relationship we’ve developed?”
We all know the effectiveness of “word of mouth” testimonials. Because there is a happy customer that you both share in common, instant credibility automatically accrues to you. But this is one time when there is nothing wrong with “putting a few words into their mouths.”
You don’t have to sit around and wait for passive referrals to drop like manna from heaven–although those are great too. Plant some seeds and harvest a few proactive referrals right here on earth.
A final point. If you do get a referral, be sure and thank the source. This can be a phone call, a nice handwritten card or even something more substantial if the situation warrants.
Take the pledge that starting today you will ask every customer for referrals….twice.
Terry Denton is co-owner of Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel of Fort Worth, Rowlett and Tyler, Texas. He is an inveterate traveler, proficient writer, avid golfer and, by his own reckoning, a fairly unremarkable person. Terry claims to have more degrees than a thermometer and less native talent than a first round American Idol reject. He and his business partner, Vince Ashwill, have managed over the past twenty-seven years to build a reasonably successful chain of Travel Leaders agencies spread across North Texas. As you can probably tell, he doesn’t take himself too seriously but he takes the challenge of building a team of successful travel agents very seriously. And last but not least, he writes an entertaining travel blog calledTravelByTerry.com.