Handling The Most Common Responses
Remember you are not a crook, and all you want to do is ask for an opportunity to meet with somebody. If the prospect doesn’t want to meet with you, you don’t particularly want to meet with the prospect. You are looking for people who want to speak with you about the product or service you are offering.
Because my personality and your personality are probably different, I can’t put the words I might say in your mouth. You have to write your own script for your own “what-if” scenarios. Ask yourself, “If my prospect says this, what would I say back?” Then literally create the script. Try it, and over time keep refining it.
For example, how would you handle the “We don’t travel that much” scenario? A lot of salespeople might respond with, “Well, how much do you travel?” Or “How many people travel?” Or “How big is your travel budget?” In other words, they start firing questions in response to avoid the Death Pause. Read the rest of this entry »
The Best Time To Call
My message should be clear. Get on the phone and call people. You may think of a million reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t, but all of them are bogus.
- “It’s only eight-thirty in the morning. Let me give my target audience an opportunity to have his/her first cup of coffee.”
- “It’s almost lunch time. I’ll call right after lunch. I don’t want to bother anybody at lunchtime.”
- “It’s December 12th and I don’t want to call this close to Christmas.”
- “It’s Monday — it’s too early in the week.”
- “It’s Friday — too late in the week.”
Posted In: Point-to-Point
While clever people way above my pay grade work out the far reaching implications of the ‘earthquake’ caused by the Brexit victory, as far as our hotels, castles, stately homes, gardens, cathedrals, pubs and tea rooms are concerned, the signs are out everywhere to confirm that it’s very much business as usual.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Travel Agent Diaries
This month I want to discuss destination weddings. I say this because I absolutely love weddings—local or abroad. I am a romantic at heart, and that’s what moved me to go into the event-planning field years later and adding travel, which makes for a well-rounded agent! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
When visitors think of Greece, they tend to think of the mainland: the Parthenon, an overabundance of venerable ruins and history, and delectable cuisine such as baklava. However, look beyond Greece’s shores to its outer territories floating in the Mediterranean, and you will find so much more history and recreation than you ever imagined. It’s no wonder that the Greek Islands are quickly rising as one of the cruising industry’s favorite destinations.
Here is how it might sound when calling a prospective new client:
MM: “Hi. My name’s Mike Marchev, from Corporate Travel Systems. My research indicates that your company is growing and opening up new markets. I’d like to meet with you to outline a very attractive service that we offer corporate clients. Does your schedule allow twenty minutes for an introductory meeting?” Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most important weapons you have to implement The System is your telephone. Yes, I said the telephone. But as with all your weapons, you need to be trained in its proper use. Most people do not enjoy “putting themselves on the firing line” so they avoid (without realizing it) using the telephone. They fuss with prospect lists, enter endless information on their computer database, analyze and study their product or service, draft emails — all the while subtly avoiding the thing they have to do to succeed: make the call!
This next statement you can take to the bank: The more you pick up the telephone, the more money you are going to make. As counter-intuitive as this may sound, it is true as rain. It’s a direct relationship. Let me repeat that in a strict mathematical formulation:
Picking up the telephone + dialing + asking questions + listening = dollars in your bank account
What outcomes can occur as a result of your picking up the phone? Let’s list the negative outcomes first. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
OK, so Thursday’s vote in the United Kingdom was a bit of a surprise. Who would have thought they would have voted to leave the European Union? The markets reacted (as they should) and collectively people seemed to panic with a “what now” attitude. David Cameron, the Prime Minister resigned (as expected) and if you listened to most media, the world was in a financial free-fall because of Brexit. But, maybe not so much! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
We have an obsession in this country with cheap. Every travel professional knows that client who will spend relentless hours on the internet trying to beat the great cruise or tour package rate. Chances are pretty good with enough time on their hands your client can beat your “price.” After all, they now know exactly what to look for, and there is always someone willing to sell cheaper. It’s easy for the client, armed with your information, to beat your price and then to invite you to participate, actually demand that you participate, in the race to the bottom. Read the rest of this entry »
Step #7: Collect
Once you’ve rendered the service and the customer is pleased with your efforts, quickly collect the monies that are owed you. If this sounds obvious to you, join the club. But, you’d be surprised how many people provide a service and never get paid for one of a zillion reasons. The most frequent reason is that they don’t have a system in place to automatically collect invoices. (There it is again, the need for a system.)
Step # 8: Measure
At regular intervals after you have converted a prospect to an active account, you need to measure the value of your account quantitatively and qualitatively. This is very important. Ask yourself how you feel about the relationship. Do you feel good about the account, the possibilities, and the future? Or do you resent having to deal with those “low lifes”?
I can make more money for you, improve your bottom line, and put a smile on your face without selling one thing. How? With this advice: Identify your deadbeat accounts — the handful of people whose attitudes are dragging you down… people who want the moon for the price of a Big Mac. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Windstar Cruises is welcoming the 212-guest Star Pride back to its fleet after an extensive $4.5-million refurbishment that remodeled public spaces, suites, and the ship’s outer decks. She now features the same amenities that her fleetmates Star Breeze and Star Legend received before they entered service. The total investment Windstar has made on these three ships, acquired from Seabourn back in 2013, now exceeds $21.5 million dollars.
“We are extremely pleased with the extensive yacht refurbishment of Star Pride and are excited to be welcoming guests aboard in Windstar’s private yacht style as the Mediterranean cruise season gets under way,” remarked Andrew N. Todd, president and chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises.
Posted In: Soundings
Cruise line-owned private islands are unique to Caribbean itineraries, but within the region they are prolific. Norwegian Cruise Line may have started the trend, but today most of the mass market cruise lines own or share a private island in the Caribbean: Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
Clients new to cruising may not even realize they may be visiting a privately owned island, until they try to find excursions out of the cruise line offerings. They also might not understand that this is a fairly rare phenomenon isolated to the Caribbean region. There aren’t private islands in Alaska, New England, Europe, etc.
When dealing with clients unfamiliar with the concept of private islands, here is some general information that you can share with them: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
If you’ve been in this business for very long, it’s likely at some point you’ve found yourself completely overwhelmed with the things you’re supposed to do. Are you on social media? Do you have this app? What about this CRM? Have you done this online course? What about listening to this marketing pitch? It’s hard to know who to pay attention to, where to invest your money, and how to most wisely use the only asset you really have — your time. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips
On Father’s Day, my father-in-law decided we should all go the Snoqualmie casino near Seattle for the afternoon. I am not a big gambler, but for a few hours of fun – I was game. One of the players at our poker table repeated with every hand, “Go big or go home”.
This reminded me of a big gamble I made with my travel agency. Outwardly we were very successful and from a sales perspective we were. However, we were in real danger of bankruptcy. So we made the biggest gamble since starting the company: we did a 180-degree turn and began focusing on attracting affluent customers as part of the overall sales strategy. Go big or go home!
Many agents are intimidated by affluent prospects, people who have achieved a high level of social, career, and financial success in their respective fields. I was raised on an artist’s commune in the 1970s. On a scale from 1-10, at the time our social and financial standing in the community was probably in the negative numbers. I was definitely intimidated by the social standing of many people in our area, specifically based on the combination of income, popularity, and power of position. As I got older and came to know many of these folks, I realized the fear was unfounded. It was based on my perceptions of who they were; I was the problem. Do you have the some of the same perceptions about some of your prospects? Are they standing in the way of the success of your career or business? Read the rest of this entry »
Step # 4: Qualify
Determine which of the identified suspects in your territory have an interest in what you are doing… these are your prospects. This involves a little telephone work and a little market research (as we mentioned in the previous chapter). But don’t get intimidated. You only need to ask a few questions to a handful of people.
It is now time to rate your prospects. Although it may not sound like a righteous thing to do, you can’t treat all prospects the same. Some need more time. Some are more profitable. You must rate your prospects to allocate the proper resources to each one.
Here is a fast and easy way to do it: Think in 3’s, A, B or C. One, two or three. Red, yellow or green. Let’s use A, B and C. Under the A category, list companies that you consider to be “home runs.” You would do anything short of breaking the law to service these accounts. They’re big spenders. They’re local. They are financially strong and pay promptly. Whatever your reasoning is, you want these accounts. There shouldn’t be more than a few prospects on the A list. (I’ll tell you why in a minute.) These are the real beauties. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: TRO SMITH
As a travel and tourism professional, you know our industry and your clients.
But what ensures that you stand out in the noisy world of social marketing?
Did you know that over 50% of today’s travelers will rush to the keyboard, rather than the phone to make their travel bookings? (source: Hotel Executive) Creating the WOW in your social presence can be the difference between attracting their business or NOT!
Yet, for many in our industry finding the time to succeed is a challenge. What if you have a checklist of habits, like the famous “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey?
Here are 11 essential habits as you grow your social presence: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate, yacht -style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors. Its six yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruises to 52 nations, calling at 155 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America. Windstar added to the yacht fleet by including all-suite yachts Star Pride, Star Breeze, and Star Legend in 2014 and 2015. The additional capacity opened up new itineraries such as voyages to Iceland, Panama Canal, and Costa Rica, as well as allowing Windstar Cruises to sail to Tahiti year round. Read the rest of this entry »
The preliminary steps of defining your territory and identifying the prospects that inhabit it are really part of a larger ten-step prospecting system.
The following System inevitably leads to success. So, let’s hit the basic elements of The System. The steps in order of implementation are:
Step #1: Specify
This step involves defining your territory. Remember ice hockey has a playing surface. When you are on the ice, you are playing the game. Once you remove yourself from the ice, you no longer can score.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, we can’t be in all places and be all things. The smaller you make your territory, the faster you will understand what it is you need to do. The secret is to have enough people in your territory to allow the system to work effectively. This leads us directly to… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Bad business habits are preventing you from getting more groups and making more money. As we cruise into the fourth week of my REBOOT GROUPS TOP 100 LIST, I want to give you some more food for thought with another 10 bad habits that you may need to break.
JC Penny said, “The best way to stop a bad habit is to never begin it.” As a seasoned travel professional, it may be too late for that. You have adapted certain business strategies that were valid at one time. Because the marketplace has changed so radically, so must your old-school business practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
The Panama Canal is so much more than simply a waterway from point A to point B. This marine highway has a life of its own, from lush rainforests to hidden coral reefs and adventurous shore excursions. Let Windstar Cruises show you the most exciting and invigorating sights this region has to offer!