You know these guys…the prospective who doesn’t need an agent and the one who doesn’t know what agents do. The client that has no budget and the client that already knows everything. This week, we are going to look at the incalcitrants – the clients who won’t travel, who can’t travel, or who have been there, done that, who are tougher, meaner and harder to crack than you think. Or are they?
One of the keys to working with clients is empathy. Do you have a clear understanding of why your clients use your services? Why indeed do they use you as opposed to using another travel consultant? Why do they use you instead of “doing it themselves?” There are likely a great many reasons, with which you are very familiar. You have the expertise, it is your passion, you have the research materials, the supplier connections, you know the product. You are accountable to them. Without you, they are on their own.
But do your clients feel as though you understand the part they play in the equation? Make a study of your sales collateral. Does your literature and web site speak to the concern your clients might feel when they face the prospect of turning over thousands of dollars
to a supplier for a vacation? Do you understand the stress involved with traveling out of the country for the first time? Do you understand the client who feels their budget prevents them from traveling? Does your marketing material comfort the client and give them confidence? Does it address the benefits of doing business with you by showing an understanding of their concerns and needs?
Clients want to be understood. They want you to have an insight into their concerns. To the extent that you can express an empathy in your message, you will gain their confidence and their business. This week, we will meet five clients who need your help, but who don’t know it.
Meet Jan and Thomas.
This couple would like to travel, but with four kids, a mortgage, a dog and a lot of excuses … they don’t ever make it past the city limits. Travel seems outside of the budget for them, a frill. You know Jan from your son’s school, where three of her four children attend.
Working with difficult clients means moving to their side of the table and being empathetic. It’s not that Jan and Thomas don’t want to travel; it’s that they don’t think they can. The budget does not permit travel, or so they think. They don’t have time, or so they think. They think they have a dog. Actually, they really do have a dog.
As a travel consultant, your task is to make travel desirable and understandable and to remove the obstacles to travel that so many of your clients will perceive as real.
Jan and Thomas are family oriented. Put yourself in their shoes. Approach them from the perspective of wanting to create memories for their children, of having experiences that last a lifetime. Are there travel opportunities within the drive market of 8 – 12 hours or less that promise to deliver such memories and experiences? The important thing to remember in dealing with Jan and Thomas is to present the possibilities with absolutely no hint of pressure – there is enough of that in their life already. They inherently understand that as their children get older an experience like Disney or a family cruise will not be as promising or important to all members. Ask for permission to keep them informed in case a great value appears.
Then, get on the case. Keep tuned in for and search out every family travel opportunity for great values within a one-day drive. Look for specials. Did you know Disney has a birthday special this year? Have you seen the cruise pricing currently being offered? What about off-season, mid-week, educational, volunteer, missionary, farm stay, road tripping travel? You are the expert here! Put on your thinking hat for this couple and their urchins! You are their hope. If you really believe in the magic, restorative, memory creating power of travel, you will kick into high gear for them. These are the best type of problem clients – their problem is not with you, it’s that they don’t believe they can travel. But they can – if only you will show them how.
And find them a sitter for that dog.