What type of formal sales and marketing training have you undertaken? If you look at most professions, the sales people are continually taking sales courses on a regular basis. In travel, however, sales and marketing often take a back seat to destination courses and product knowledge. Too seldom do you see real sales and marketing training in our industry. Even at industry trade shows, “sales seminars” usually end up being more product knowledge in disguise. How important do you think formal training in sales and marketing is and how have you invested in it in the past?
When something goes “wrong” in a proposal to a client, you can often trace the problem back to the sales skills necessary for a smooth transition from one stage of the sales process to another. If your marketing brings 100 potential travelers to your doorstep, and 25 of them travel with you, there is tremendous room for improvement. Resist here the temptation to write off the 75 who did not travel as “tire-kickers” or “shoppers”. Your marketing did it’s job. You were handed 75 leads that did not travel with you. Your mission now is to determine what went right with the 25 leads that went full cycle, and what went wrong with the other 75.
A serious study of your successes and failures will increase the number of clients making it all the way through the sales funnel to become repeat travelers with your agency.As we analyze where things go wrong in the sales process, a good place to begin is in fundamental knowledge and training in the skills associated with sales. Many travel professionals, if honest, will admit to largely “winging it” and allowing their considerable product knowledge to carry most of the weight in their one-on-one encounters with clients. However, to overlook the importance of sales training is to hobble your travel career. A proper understanding of sales enhances every aspect of your relationship with clients. Training in an authentic sales approach to your work will vastly improve the number of successful clients traveling with you.
Sales and marketing are as essential to the business life of travel consultants as product knowledge. Seek out training and good business coaches. Commit to learning more about sales methods and psychology – become your own motivator and sales coach. Seek out and invest in your understanding of these important skills and your business will almost certainly increase many fold.