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Be Better

Last month, while speaking at the Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas, I asked the audience of over 400 agents a simple question.  “What makes each of you a better choice for the customer?”  Followed by, “Why should a prospect buy their vacation from you versus the person sitting next to you?”  In that room, there were over 400 choices that I as a consumer could make.  So why should a prospect choose you?

The answers were, in my opinion, very pedestrian. Such as “I give the best service” – says who I ask. and “I am passionate about selling travel.”  Well, so is everyone else in the room and so on.

If virtually everyone considers themselves to be the “the best”, then isn’t everyone equal?  In today’s competitive market, just about everyone is good and passionate -it’s simply the price of admission.  But to get the sale – you don’t have to be the best, you just have to be better than the rest.  Believe it or not, if most agents are basing their value on their service and passion – it’s not that hard to do better.  What can you do to be better than the rest?

One of the things I talk about in my best-selling course “Secrets of Selling to the Affluent Traveler” are the characteristics of extraordinary salespeople.  This is not something I came up with, but they are a list of nine traits compiled by Dr. Thomas Stanley, the author of The Millionaire Next Door and other books related to selling to the affluent.  One of the traits that sets extraordinary from the ordinary, is Specialization.

It is a proven fact that the more specific and narrow your focus, that of your product and target audience – the greater the rewards.

For example, let’s say I want to take a vacation to Alaska this summer.  I am an active hiker and outdoorsman, so I will want to experience nature up close and personal.  I might ask the travel agent I used for my last vacation to Cabo, but most likely I will google “Alaska Adventure Cruises”.

The search results are cruise and tour companies such as Zegrahm and Un-Cruise Adventures followed by several travel agents who specialize in this type of trip.  So, I will call one of the agents and learn more than I ever knew I wanted to know about the destination, wildlife, and its indigenous cultures.  But what I gained most from the conversation is confidence that the agent I spoke with will make sure I am on the product that fits my needs, and she will use her knowledge to make sure we get the most out of our vacation.  I could have easily called the supplier and received the same level of information and confidence, although admittedly biased.  The odds are great that the agent who booked our Cabo trip would simply tell me she needed to check with the cruise line or tour company for answers.

So, who wins?  I do as does my new agent and the supplier.  Both specialize in the type of vacation experience I want.  Who loses?  My Cabo agent who lacked the destination and product knowledge needed to serve me.  This doesn’t mean we won’t ever book with her again, it simply means that if we need specialized assistance, I will seek out a recommended expert.

Selling travel is the profession we have chosen. When everyone is good- you have to be better.

PictureDan Chappelle helps travel sales professionals achieve full potential by transforming their mindset and focusing on fundamentals to produce real results. He speaks internationally on strategic business development in the travel & tourism vertical. His signature keynote & workshop “Secrets of Selling to the Affluent Traveler” helps organizations, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, employees, and business owners gain meaningful competitive advantage.

His new book “Get Your S.H.I.P Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is now available on in both paperback and Kindle versions. For information on Dan’s education and sales programs, visit

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