You know the type: they ask a thousand questions, take up your valuable time – and then disappear. The time waster never actually works with you, but is always willing to take plenty of free advice. I watch travel agents struggle with this type of individual continually. How do you control a time waster?
If a potential client won’t go right to the heart of a formal request of your services, then you should. In a friendly manner, directly ask the prospective client if they are looking for a travel consultant. Do not ask if they want to travel – the answer to that question is surely yes. Instead, go directly to your professional expertise. Develop a short, concise explanation of what you do and offer to meet with the client in a professional context. Explain that you would not dream of providing an “off the cuff” answer to his question because travel is such a personal matter and you make it a point to get to know your clients’ travel ambitions. If you are bold enough (and I hope you are) explain that you work on a retainer basis that is applied to the first trip the client books with you. Ask for their permission to email a client profile to them that they can review and that you can use to better assess their needs if they are interested in retaining your services.
If the client indicates that they are not ready to travel in the near future, offer them a copy of your newsletter or brochure, or provide them with your web site address. Don’t be anything other than polite and professional, warm and friendly….and firm. You only have a few hours each day to build your practice. You would not waste a professional’s time yourself, so don’t let others waste yours.