Last week, I discussed the things that travel professionals need to bring to the supplier table to make a true partnership. But partnerships are only part of the formula for success. Your agency (really no matter how large) is a smaller part of their pie. And to the consumer, you are even a smaller piece of that pie.
I just Googled “How many travel agents are there in the US” and got this answer:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the travel agency industry employees 105,300 full time travel agents (May 2008). PhoCusWright estimates there are an additional 30,000 Independent Advisors that typically sell travel from home.
OK, 2008 is a bit dated, but I think the number is pretty accurate. I do think the two numbers might be transposed (or close to it) by now.
Have you ever seen a person at a party who was THE life of the party? Everyone was talking to them? Laughing with them?
How do become that guy or gal? How do you stand out?
Typically it is all about personality. As a travel professional in today’s world, you need to be infectious, but not in a CDC way. You need to make your business and your personality so infectious that people will want to be near you. You need to be different. While it may seem difficult, here are a few tips:
- Smile on the phone. Yes, they can’t see you, but your smile will convey nonetheless.
- When someone says “how are you?” in a business setting, the only answer is “I am great!”
- If you are meeting a customer, don’t schlep up to them. Stride up with a purpose and offer a firm handshake and a genuine smile.
- Are they in your office? Stand up to greet them rather than sitting behind your desk behind a pile of brochures.
- Did they leave a deposit for a trip? Of course you will thank them, but take it a step further. Get off your butt and out from behind your desk and walk them to the front door or even their car. Wave goodbye as they leave. What effect do you think that last impression may have? How about sending a thank you note–yes a hand written one and not a receipt.
- Don’t let the details slide. Pay attention to them If you are not, someone else is.
- Are you contacting your clients at all the “touch points”? Are you contacting them (email, note, phone call, brochure) outside of the transaction? You need to be. I am an advocate of setting up email blasts to simply say hello on a monthly basis—New Years, Valentines, St. Paddy’s, April Fools, Memorial Day, First Day of Summer, Fourth of July, Dog Days of Summer/Back To School, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter. Boom, there’s your calendar for you! Make the impression!
Every New Year, we make resolutions; but they usually fall by the wayside by mid-March. The secret is to make sure the resolutions are achievable; and I happen to think these seven are very easy. It’s not New Year’s Eve, but it can be for you. There is never a better time than the present to make that lasting impression on your next life long client—now go get em!