There is a thin line between “customer service” and being a doormat. If there is one common refrain I hear (and if I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times), it is:
“Potential clients contact me to milk me for as much information as they can before they head out to book their own vacation on the internet.”
It is important to remember that it is your business, and you can run your business any way you choose. If you are tired of being “used,” than it is time that you begin charging for your work. The best time to explain this is early in the relationship. Nobody likes surprises. Not me. Not you. Nobody!
If your policy is to charge a “research fee” after the first ten minutes of dialogue, let your prospect know what’s coming. It’s your professional obligation to do so. It’s your business. It’s your time. If you choose not to get paid for what you can offer clients, whose fault is that?
It is important to remember that there will always be just four types of people. Those who you can help, and those you can’t help make up the first two types. Of those you can help, there are also two types. Those who will be glad to pay you for your services and those who will try to avoid paying you.
Of these four types it is your responsibility to hunt down more of the type you can help, and who are glad to pay you. If they’re not down right giddy about paying you, at least they will follow through.
Please understand the following, (this sounds a lot easier than it is):
I suppose the word “confidence” also comes into play. If you are truly “confident” in the value you provide, then it should be easier to get paid for your services.
There is no magic “system” per se, but if you feel that your knowledge is valuable, then no apology is needed for asking to be compensated. The problem arises when the individual agent either does not believe in their own value, or they are not adding any value to the relationship.
And this brings us full-circle in today’s message. If you want to become more confidant and worthy of higher fees, it just might behoove you to start reading more about your business and your competition.
***Make no mistake about it folks, you are in the marketing business first, and the travel business second.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.