I remember that phrase from my teen years. My father used to use it when I was trying to talk him into something that was probably a very bad idea. And today, I want to talk a bit about BS.
Today’s client is far from ignorant. In fact, they often know more than you do. So how does an agent survive? Hint: it’s not by trying to BS a client. In fact, it’s a simple word.
While the industry has transformed in many ways over the years, one of the biggest has to be technology and information. Once upon a time, if you wanted to travel, you had to go to an agent and get thing called a brochure. It was usually a full color pamphlet and held together with a center staple or two. You may have been able to find them in a doctor’s office waiting room as well. My, how times have changed!
When someone contacts you, most likely it is not because they don’t have the information. It is because they are having troubles deciphering it and need your assistance. You need to understand that you cannot be all things to all people; but you likely have the resources at your fingertips to come close. Never try to BS them.
With the plethora of information now available in a tool that is easily carried in a purse or pocket, fact checking becomes very easy. Never try to bull$#!& a client. You will always lose. A client of mine booked a trip with another agency (it’s ok, it was out of my niche) and was told that the cab fare from airport to hotel was $70. She thought this was steep and indeed it was. I contacted a connection at the hotel and learned it was closer to $20. The booking agent lost any trust the client had given them. Often times it is even easier—just Google it.
People will seek you out, not because they believe you are all-knowing, but because of your experience and (perhaps) knowing that you will know where to look for the solid advice they need. In the past, bad advice usually was disclosed when a friend or co-worker talked about the bargain they got. Today, the client will double check you so you need to be on you’re a-game.
If you aren’t sure of an answer, find out the answer and get back to a client. No one expects you to have traveled to every destination and stayed at every property. But they do expect you to offer solid advice based on your past experiences, your connections, and your ability to research.
We are in a great position. Time is valuable. People demand answers now. Customers do not have access to resources like TRO and other intranets of hosts and franchises and suppliers. These tools are some of our largest assets outside of personal experience. Make sure you are using them and positioning yourself above the smart phone. The Internet is our greatest advancement; but as with any double edged sword, it can also cut us down.
Use the tools we have to continue to offer solid no-BS advice to our clients. And as my dad said, remember, you can’t BS a BSer.