There is a thin line between “customer service” and being a doormat. The painful truth is you can’t be all things to all people. It is time to make a few hard decisions.
If there is one common complaint I hear more than any other 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.”
Fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a blast of reality: It is your business and you can run it any way you choose. If you have a fee, the best time to explain this arrangement is upfront. Nobody likes surprises. Not me. Not you. Nobody!
If your policy is to charge a “research fee” it is your responsibility to do just that. After the first ten minutes of back and forth dialogue, it’s time you establish a few parameters. It’s your business. It’s your time. If you choose not to get paid for what you provide to clients, then it is nobody’s fault but your own.
Remember that there will always be two categories of people—those who you can help and those you can’t help. 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 receptive to paying you. Don’t expect anybody to appear downright giddy when it comes to paying you, but at least they will follow through.
Please, please, 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 role you play, then it should be easier to get paid for your services.
There is no “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 exhibit more confidence worthy of higher fees, then it behooves you to start reading more about your business and your competition. Make no mistake about it, you are in the marketing business first and the travel business second. It is your business so start acting like it.
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.
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