This week we have been examining language patterns in the travel profession and suggesting a modification of the way we address our clients. As we take leave of the discussion, there remains a small lexicon of other words I want to suggest we avoid. In each case, the problem with the word is largely one of connotation: regardless of the intent the wrong psychology is implied in its use.
“Customer” – you don’t have customers, you have clients. The word customer implies a transaction rather than a relationship.
“Honestly” – this throw-away word indicates other things you have said have not been honest. Its a light-weight infraction, but one that sets off bells each time I hear it.
“Prospects” – I use this one sometimes and I’m weaning myself away from it. The word makes you sound like a “49’er” rather than a professional. “New clients” sounds better.
“Obviously” – If it’s really obvious there’s no reason to say it. Many people do not like this word and it’s inherent implication they are not intelligent enough to understand what you are saying.
“Cheap” – I covered this already this week when I wrote about deals. Your clients are civilians and may say something like “I just want to get to Mexico as cheap as possible.” They don’t mean it, or they would consider walking. As a professional steer them away from any word focused on price and guide them into a discussion of value.
“Guarantee” – this one is not just bad diction, it’s dangerous. Don’t guarantee a good time, the weather or anything else you don’t have absolute control over. You might just find yourself, well, guaranteeing something you don’t have absolute control over.
It’s easy to be overly concerned with matters such as these, but it is equally easy to give your language no mind and thus conveying the wrong impression to a client. Strong travel professionals are very deliberate in their actions. They don’t “wing it.” Think through your choice of words as you practice your next presentation and you may find yourself with an easier conversation with your clients leading to a long term relationship rather than a single transaction.