I’m proud of what I know. I work hard to make sure I am knowledgable on topic on which I opine. Whenever I become involved in any endeavor, I really try to become as much of an expert as possible. I take the time to do extra research. I ask for opinions from other experts. I learn from my mistakes and I am very willing to share my knowledge with others. Sometimes I am a fast learner and other times … well, not so much!
We hang our shingle (or our URL) out as a travel professional. We explain what we do ad-nauseum. We network. We travel. We read. We research. We surf the web. We attend training. We listen to webinars. We speak with suppliers. We build relationships. All of this makes us what we are-professionals! We are experts in our field. So why are there clients and prospects that always seem to question our expertise?
I specialize in single parent travel. Every family situation is unique and there are countless hurdles that might pop up in a travel experience. I have learned these from personal experience (I am a single dad) and from clients over the years. Passports and the specialized forms for a MIA parent are the norm as are authorization letters from non-traveling parents. We routinely recommend experiences that fit in the comfort level of the family. We math up families that want to cut expenses. We arrange carpools. We offer advice on all of the other issues that pop up. Just this past August, a single mom called me at 4am before an 8am departure with my most unique challenge. Her son had been abducted by her ex-husband. Yes, we handled that with an open reservation at the resort and a compassionate airline employee. We recommended an attorney from our database as well as a private investigator. The child was back in mom’s arms in four days. And they wanted to continue with their trip. They arrived and joined our group four days late. Oh, and dad was cooling his heels in the clink. This is what we do. But there are three types of people that I have a difficult time managing.
I have a friend who… It really irritates me when we offer advice based on experience, training, and education only to be told, “Well, my boyfriend’s sister says that I should do it this way.” Hello? Why did you come to me? To double check them? Please don’t waste my time.
But that is not what I thought… Another type of customer will not be happy with your answer. They see a lead in price on a Carnival cruise and cannot understand why the price is higher on the new Regal Princess over spring break. We’ve all had this customer. No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try to explain, you are not going to please this client.
The silent treatment… The third type of client that really bothers me is the one that takes no action at all. They call you for your advice and do nothing with it. How does one handle that situation when you reach out to close the sale or clarify the information and there is no response? Are there people that just enjoy doing this? Let’s be honest with each other. If you have purchased elsewhere, are waiting for Aunt Betty’s recommendation, or simply changed your mind–tell me. I am a big boy and can handle it.
I wish I had the answers; but I don’t. And it is not unique to travel. Many of my friends report the same thing in different industries. People call you for advice and then ignore it. Go figure.
How do you deal with it? What are some of your best tips for working with these types?