Selling YOU with a powerful ME statement | Travel Research Online


Selling YOU with a powerful ME statement

You’ve heard over and over again that you have to sell YOU as much as, or more than, you sell a supplier or destination.  It sounds good, but it isn’t always obvious just how to do it.

Then there’s the challenge of finding the balance between talking about your strengths and customer benefits without it turning into a “sales pitch.” Does anyone really want to hear how great you think you are?   It’s a real but important challenge to tackle.  Here’s why…

The average person takes a big vacation about once every year and a half.  What are the chances they’ll remember how amazing you were almost two years ago? You have to remind them – every time.

Also, since that last trip, they have been inundated with marketing from websites, travel apps, and other agencies all saying “use me instead.”  When they do call again, it’s not you they are initially thinking about:  it’s Hawaii, or Mexico, or a cruise.  All those things are available from thousands of different sources.  Again, you have to remind them why they should use you – every time!

For new client prospects, it’s even more important.  They have no idea what makes you a more attractive alternative than an iPad app.  If you were lucky enough for them to still call you, don’t let the opportunity slip by.

You need a powerful ME statement, and you probably need more than one!

Give it a lot of thought.  Don’t exclusively rely on old standbys like “I save you time and money, and I’ll give you good service.”  That all matters, but it’s not enough to set you apart from the streaming videos and mobile apps.  It needs to be powerful, real, and human.

TIP #1:  Tell them what you REALLY do

When they ask for a price on a tour or cruise:  “…I’d love to help you find the right cruise!”

Notice the wording.  Even if they ask for the cheapest price on the cheapest cruise line, your response can change their perception of your real value.  The best kind of ME statement is the kind you can incorporate into your everyday routine.

The longer version:  “I’m so glad you called me….  With all the apps and ad-supported websites there’s a lot of info and deals out there.  My job is to cut through the clutter so you’ll only be looking at legitimate deals from reliable suppliers.

I mean the ones that don’t have hidden fees or other nasty surprises. But mostly, I’m here to make sure you get the RIGHT cruise or tour, and I love doing it.  Ready to get started?”

TIP #2:  Highlight your agency 

Whether you’re an independent contractor, or a paid employee, you CHOSE to be a travel consultant right where you are.  Tell them why.

“…You’ve come to the right place.  When I joined the team here I knew I had made a good decision.  It’s really important to me to protect my client’s best interest, and {company name} makes that pretty easy. “

TIP #3:  Leverage your relationships

Travelers have no idea that you maintain close, often personal relationships with suppliers.  In fact, they don’t even know what we mean when we say “supplier.”  It’s is an industry term after all.  But when you tell them that your agency is “…important to that cruise line…” the message has been delivered loud and clear:  you have something they cannot get on their own.

“We’re extremely well known by all the top hotels, resorts and cruise lines, so when we need something for our clients, they listen.  You’re in good hands.  So, let’s talk about why you’re interested in Hawaii.”

Your supplier relationships are just some of the dozens of benefits of using your agency.  Some may be related to saving money, getting extra amenities, or others.  They all matter, but avoid reciting a lengthy list of points or it will sound like a pitch.  Instead, bring up the right points at the right time when they are relevant.

TIP #4:  Focus on your training… and humanity

Remember, most people only take a big vacation about ever year and a half.  But, even if they travel more often, they don’t deal with it all day every day like you do.  All those apps and websites are a quick and easy place for them to get instant information.  It’s up to you to remind them that there’s more to the story.

“…I’m so glad you called me!  I know it’s pretty simple to just click the BUY button on a website and hope it works out.  Honestly, sometimes, it does!  But, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’m here to make sure it always does.”

“Apps and websites are great, but there’s one thing they just can’t do:  care.  I can assure you, that I do.   It’s why I’ve been doing this so long.  So, you asked about Jamaica?  I get trained on this sort of thing all the time.  Let’s get started.”

If you have destination specialist certificates, designations from the Travel Institute, a degree in travel and tourism, speak Swahili – or anything that makes you who you are, it’s worth mentioning when it’s relevant.

Tip #5:  Keep it real

This is critical: do NOT make it sound like a commercial!  You are not creating advertising; you should be communicating the truth.  Yes, you may practice and rehearse it, or even post it on your website, but it needs to be real and human.

Avoid jargon or phrases that sound like an advertising slogan, or anything that isn’t completely sincere.  In other words, what you say, needs to be what you honestly FEEL and believe about your value.  Speak from your heart, not from your head.

Your ME statements might achieve marketing-style results, but this isn’t advertising.  Think about it.  Isn’t it true, that we as consumers ourselves often stop listening the moment we detect a sales pitch or feel that we are being “sold at?”

Don’t present your ME statements at people.  Instead, have a conversation WITH them.  And of course:  the best conversations including asking questions:

“…Do you mind if I ask why you decided to call me?”  Just imagine where that simple question could take you!

Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions ( based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.




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