Continuing on my list of resolutions inspired by Travel Pulse, this week, it’s all about improving your sales skills. This should be an easy one! The first step to becoming a stellar travel sales person is you need to want it. Sales (in any industry) is not for the feint of heart. It is a tough job and many are not cut out for it. Thankfully, travel is not like car or insurance sales—they are a different animal. But how do you become better at selling travel?
Mike Marchev has been writing for TRO for years and his advice is ALWAYS solid and spoken like a true New Jerseyan. It is succinct, hard-hitting, and makes you think. And as a bonus, his tips will be valid in travel just as much as they will in any other industry. If you have some budget dollars to spare, look into his courses, his inner circle, and his annual cruise. He is a regular speaker on the travel trade show circuit and if you get a chance to hear him, it is well worth it! (http://www.mikemarchev.com/)
Nolan Burris. Nolan is another one of my favorite sales motivators. As much as Mike is from Jersey—Nolan is decidedly West Coast and not nearly as “in your face” as Mike. Future Proof Travel Solutions keeps its pulse on the industry and more importantly looks forward. Like any valuable resource, it needs to be kept up to date and currently the site is off-line as the content is being refreshed. You can sign up to be notified when it is open again. But, Nolan is also a circuit speaker and if you have the chance, he should be on your list to see. (https://futureprooftravel.com/)
Stuart Cohen. OK Stuart is more of a motivational guy…and who doesn’t need motivation? But he has extensive background in the travel industry from Celebrity Cruises to Resort For A Day to speaking on the travel trade show circuit. If you need a boost of energy, Stuart will give it to you. He has written occasionally for TRO and does host an online Group Sales Success Summit (usually in the late summer/early fall) that has received rave reviews from participants. So, if you are looking for group sales…there you go. Stuart is the third of the trifecta of industry speakers that I cannot recommend highly enough to hear. (https://stuartlloydcohen.com/)
There are a bunch of good books out there to help you out. Kelly Monaghan wrote a series of books that were excellent and now out of print; but he has moved into the online world with refreshed information and courses. I have not reviewed these up to date resources, but I do know Kelly and I am sure they are top notch. (http://hometravelagency.com/)
Once you have the fire in your belly and read up a bit. Start to put your skills to work. Like public speaking, I never recommend going into it cold unless you are already skilled. Practice on your family—try to sell them a cruise. Want a challenge? Try to upsell them on a cruise! Why not call a meeting of your colleagues (frenemy anyone?) for just that purpose. Pitch out of your comfort level and then let your colleagues critique you. This would make for a perfect regional roundtable meetup. I am not sure why the travel trade shows have not incorporated this in their agendas.
Trust me, a colleague that knows how to sell an upscale product will have some tips for you. And similarly, one who focuses on bus trips or budget minded travel will have some tips as well. And as a complete aside—both of those can be equally profitable.
But get out there and hone those skills. Correct the weak spots and build on the strong spots.
Finally, get out there and do it. Understand that mistakes will be made. Lessons will be learned. And that is fine. Just remember to apply the lessons to the future so mistakes of the past will not haunt you.
And once you are a pro, make sure you are keeping up to speed. Sales, like every skill today will be outmoded tomorrow. It is essential that you keep up to speed on the tools available to you, emerging travel trends, the economic climate, the political climate, and more. Keep on top of these and you will go far!
OK, there’s that word limit again. Got a suggestion for how to ramp up your travel sales skills? Leave a comment!
Next week? How increasing your product knowledge!