A New Year is coming, time to clean up house! | TravelResearchOnline

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A New Year is coming, time to clean up house!

Happy New Year!  We will be saying that before you know it as we move from 2018 into 2019.  And for me, Fall tends to be a slow season. People are getting back into the hang of school, beginning to worry about the holidays, etc. Personally, I don’t worry until December 24th, but I digress! But from a business aspect now is the time to get your marketing and financial plans in order. How do you expect to make money if you don’t have them?  Now is the time to clean house. Is there a drawer full of junk that needs to go? Do you still have one of Apple’s brochures from 2004 just because you never know when you might need it? Take advantage of some of the slower times to work on these plans and cleaning house. And when you are cleaning, don’t forget to toss some of those clients as well.

WHAT??? Yes. Toss some of them away. It is hard. But necessary.  Admit it, we all have clients that are a pain in the butt, that always kick tires but never buy, the are simply too needy, or just are not the type of client you want. So, why not zap them and start working with clients you like?  I am not suggesting a massive purge because their status can change from time to time; but I am suggesting that you take a long hard look at your existing database and see where you can trim. Get rid of the unprofitables. Why use 4 hours of your time for $25 fee for an airline ticket. That’s $6.25 per hour!

The Bad

What’s a bad client? It’s different for all of us, but for me they are the ones that can never commit in a reasonable time. The ones that will require ridiculous amounts of handholding throughout a transaction. The ones that don’t respect your time and call demanding answers, yet never bother to return YOUR call.  I use ClientBase and I have those clients tagged “MID”–Maybe If Desperate. If I am slow. If I am way under sales projections, if I am so close to a supplier incentive–maybe. And my desperation is a moving target!

The Unprofitable

Do you like to lose money? I don’t. And I am not in business to lose money! I will leave that to the airlines!  Take some time and calculate the true cost of a booking. Take into account the sales process and the follow up after the sale. I bet you find that the $75 commission check from the “cheap of the week supplier” will have cost you more than that!  Look at your clients and see which ones are unprofitable. Sure some profitable ones will do a loser here and there, I am not talking about them. Look for the ones where you consistently spend hours and hours  to determine a destination only to book the cheapest thing you can find because the client is on a tight budget.  Get rid of them; or at least tag them in your database with a “¢” sign instead of a “$$$”–at least that way you won’t be surprised!

Now I do believe that ALL clients are valuable. But if their value has diminished, something needs to change.

To be successful, you need to fid your niche and specialty and target your audience. But the secret sauce is to continually re-target and re-target that audience.

So after you are done finalizing that marketing plan—think about pruning your clients—just a little!

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