After a travel professional has been in the industry for a while, it is easy to become disillusioned with the sales process. It’s not hard to understand why. The competition is fierce. Potential clients are jaded from an abundance of mis-information. The sales cycle can be a long one and then the client you have been carefully grooming for a big trip books elsewhere. At some point, we all need to step back and re-evaluate our perspective on sales.
When you gain a new vantage point you quickly realize something interesting. The glitch in the sales process has nothing to do with your clients and everything to do with you. Chances are you are approaching sales from the wrong perspective – your own. Clients don’t want to be sold anything. They want to buy a wonderful trip. Therein lies all the difference.
The features of a trip are certainly important, but make sure that the client understands the features in terms of the benefits to them. It’s great that you have chosen a hotel in the center of town – but you need to explain the benefit to the client. The hotel is a “boutique”? Great! What does that mean to the client? You will no doubt be passionate about what you have done for the client, so make sure to let them in on the secret.
Remember that you don’t have to sell your clients on the idea of travel. They want to travel already. You have to sell them on YOU and your interest in their well-being. The quickest way to sell them on you is to show that you are genuinely interested in them, in their travel, in their experiences. Romance your client. That is the reality of a relationship as a travel consultant. Every trip you plan is one more building block in a lifetime committed relationship with a client if that client comes away feeling as though your efforts were all about satisfying their needs more than about making a sale. Speak to the benefits you are arranging on their behalf.
Clients exposed to authentic, client-centric passion become passionate themselves. They will bring others to you to experience the thrill of planning and executing a travel itinerary that comes together well. The word-of-mouth process begins with great service and passion. Not with a sale but with a client-centric love of sharing the experience of travel.
If you can bring that to the party, you have taken the first step to building a first-class travel practice.