Everything, and I mean everything, you have done is to get to this point – this step. Building a solid foundation by establishing your authority and your brand. All the marketing you have created, participated in, and paid for. All the time and effort proactively reaching out to potential customers. This huge physical, emotional, and financial investment is all to drive you to the next and arguably most important step in the sales acceleration process. Without it, we would not be in a position to serve our customers; because frankly, we wouldn’t have any.
Selling is the next step in the acceleration process. Remember – you do not get paid to market, prospect, take fam trips, ship inspections, or product seminars. This is all an investment on your part. You are an agent for the supplier. Yes, you represent both client and supplier. You also have a fiduciary responsibility to the client, but ultimately it is the supplier who sets the commission rate and sends you the check.
Regardless, you only get paid when a client buys from YOU.
The odds are stacked against you. Over 100,000 travel agents in North America are selling exactly the same product as you. A behemoth like Vacations to Go or the independent “solo-prenuer” sitting at home in her jammies. You are competing with both for the sale. What can you do to increase your odds?
When I first published my book Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales in 2017, it was one of over three million in its genre on Amazon. I purchased a sales and marketing system for self-publishers’ course, and after implementing what I learned; the book started selling. But here’s the thing: after only ten sales it went from number 3,000,000 + to around 15,000, and after 100 sales it ranked between 1000-900. It even went on to rank in the top 50 for a few days. For a nanosecond, I was rubbing elbows with Tony Robbins, Brendan Burchard, and others.
My point is while there may be over 100,000 travel agents, only a small percentage are actively selling travel. So, to compete effectively, a systematic sales process can help you to quickly move up the best seller list.
There are all types of sales methods, many with trendy names. The fact is, the sales process, no matter what you call it, is fundamentally the same as it was 100 years ago. Master this six-step sales process and you will work more efficiently, have clients that better fit your business model, and most importantly control – control of your time and your business.
- Last time I checked, sales is still a contact sport. This means you are doing business with another person. People do business with people they like. Finding rapport is the process of finding something in common with your prospect. There are various ways to do this, but the most common are physical and verbal. Ever notice when you are talking to someone and he scratches his head, you do the same. Or you lean into each other when talking? This is called mirroring. You are consciously, or unconsciously, adopting the same mannerisms as your counterpart. This gives you commonality in actions and posture. Verbal rapport is achieved by matching tones and then bringing the other person to your level of tone and volume. If your kid is yelling at you, yell back and then drop your voice and tone to a common level to enable a civil conversation.
- Qualifying / Discovery – Outside of the usual who, what, when, and how, ask open ended questions that end with the word “why”? Why? People will always answer a “why” question. This will help you get to the emotional reason for the trip. By doing this, you are starting to prove your value, that you care. S. – Ask your questions and let them talk. Listening in this step is vital.
- Presentation: Based on what you learned, its time to do the research and present your recommendation. They came to you for advice. They want you to tell them where to go and what to do. So present one, yes just one option – that’s it. Based on everything you gleaned in the qualifying stage, your one option should be exactly what they want and need. That said, always keep another option in your back pocket, just in case you got it all wrong.
- Ask for the credit card: Most sales are lost due to the agents’ failure to ask for payment – so ask. The worst thing they can say is ‘No.” And if that happens move to the next step. If you’re afraid to ask for the money, just know most people have a pretty good idea of the cost, so this shouldn’t be an issue. But if they say yes, Cha Ching! BTW, don’t judge whether they can afford it. Your job is to sell them a vacation, not worry about how they are going to pay for it.
- Answering Objections / Questions: Typically, if you got a “no” in the previous step, it’s really just a cry for help. They need more information. Either you didn’t answer all of their questions, uncover their real motivation, or justify the value. So, ask more questions and more “why.” If you have answered all their questions and concerns, ask for the credit card again. Follow the instructions on the shampoo bottle: wash, rinse, repeat. Keep at it until they give you the credit card.
- Follow up: I am a firm believer that you have every right to follow up with a prospect as many times as necessary until you either get a ‘yes’ or hard ‘no’. Studies show that most sales don’t happen until after the fifth contact with a prospect. Hit them on multiple fronts via phone and email. Everyone has caller id, so you will look unprofessional if you don’t leave a clear and concise voicemail. Back it up with an email. Again…wash, rinse, repeat and don’t give up!
The sales process is arguably the most important step. Without a sale, you don’t get paid. If you don’t get paid, you won’t have customers to care for. No customers, no business. Everything depends on your ability to sell.
Do you know what to say and what questions to ask? Don’t try to wing it. Study sales scripts, make them your own and practice, practice, practice as if your livelihood depends on it (because it does).
Master the sales process and you will find yourself on stage receiving top producer awards – the equivalent to making the best sellers list.
Dan Chappelle is “The Wealthy Travel Agent”! He is proof you can create the life you want selling travel. After witnessing so many people struggle in an industry with unlimited potential, using his proven six step system, he helps struggling entrepreneurs transform their travel businesses into money making machines.
His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
To learn more about Dan’s Travel Agency Transformation programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
©2018 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.