This is part 3 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.
Part 2: Ask for referrals on every sale
Part 3: Master the art of upselling
If you ever want to stop a conversation mid-sentence, just suggest that it might be fun to talk about insurance for a while. I can pretty much guarantee the entire room will look at you like you have made one too many trips to the party punch bowl.
Granting for the moment that insurance isn’t fun; it is, nonetheless, extremely important in our industry for several reasons. Here are a few.
PRINT MONEY: OK, maybe not print it but certainly make a lot more of it. Remember Step Three? It was all about upselling and accessorizing. Well, insurance represents a significant opportunity to increase revenue for you and your employers. Here is a chance to sell something with much healthier margins than we are accustomed to in the travel industry…like 40% for example.
PROTECT CUSTOMERS: It is a little known fact that Murphy of the now famous Murphy’s Law was actually a world traveler. That is where he first discovered there is no limit to the number of things that can go wrong. You know, little things like you miss your connection and your cruise sails without you, your insulin was in your lost bag, your passport was stolen along with your traveler’s checks, you become seriously ill or have an accident, a hurricane decides to come ashore through your ocean front cottage, your cruise line was hit by three giant waves. Think how much better you will feel if you know your customer is protected from loss because you sold them insurance.
PREVENT GRIEF: OK, let me be perfectly honest, I am not thinking about our customers and their grief here. I am reflecting on the unbelievable grief that we go through when something goes catastrophically wrong (see previous paragraph) and the customer was not sold insurance. Have you ever had to mollify an irate customer whose vacation was ruined and you failed to offer insurance? It’s not fun!
Let me conclude with a few practical suggestions.
- Always document the fact that insurance was offered and declined. This belongs in the prevention of grief category. We are all on more solid footing if we can prove that insurance was offered.
- When you are asked, as you inevitably will be, whether you think they need the insurance, always have a real life story ready to share. If you don’t have a really persuasive anecdote, read the comments here. Note to readers: please share your real life anecdotes in the comments so I don’t look like a fibber.
- Always offer insurance again at final payment. So many of these seven steps offer more than one chance to grab the brass ring. Don’t assume because the customer says “no” at one stage, they won’t say “yes” at another. Circumstances alter and people often change their minds.
- Always offer comprehensive legitimate insurance before mere vendor cancellation protection. This is the only way to protect your customer from cancellation, lost luggage and accidents. And, depending on the policy chosen, you might even be able to protect the commissions you worked so hard to earn.
Henceforth, go forth and print money, protect customers and prevent grief!
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.