There is no substitute for the passion you have and project for your profession. Well over three years ago, TRO authored the webinar entitled The 7 Characteristics of Top Travel Agents. The very first characteristic on the list was passion for travel. When an agent truly loves what he or she does, it shows and communicates to clients. But it’s not enough to be excited about travel – you have to be excited about your clients’ travels!
One of the great things about travel is the excitement our clients bring to the relationship. Everyone gets excited about the trip to the beach, the weekend getaway, the cruise or the first trip to a new destination. Leisure time is hard-earned and clients are excited. Clients bring their plans to you and naturally anticipate that you will share in their excitement. At the beginning of every meeting, take a moment to congratulate the client, to express your delight with their good fortune and to build on their enthusiasm. Your client will be smiling, and you should be as well. Don’t let them be excited without joining them in the moment.
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Likewise, a client want to know that you are up to the task of their research. Examine the way you address each project with your clients. Does your demeanor, dress and language project confidence? After all, you are the expert in the relationship. Your position vis-a-vis your client should be one of authority. Note that this is far different from arrogance. Instead, your training, expertise and relationships should exude a quiet confidence. Clients will appreciate the opportunity to place their plans in capable hands. If you feel not up to a particular booking request because of a required expertise, call in another, more experienced agent for assistance or rely on the advice and counsel of a tour operator that understands the particular market.
Whether your confidence is the result of personal experience or the peer relationships you have with other agents, your consortia or suppliers, let your client know you are up to the job by using language that reflects confidence. If your choice of words or attitude betray uncertainty about the value of your recommendation, your competence to assist with a project or with regard to your understanding of the client’s needs, you are likely to lose their business. Remember the value of optimism – give them hope that you will not only work in their best interests, but that you will successfully do so.
By adopting a pro-active, confident attitude of ownership, you will find that clients respond to you differently. A little positive attitude, a bit of enthusiastic response to a client, will earn their trust and respect.