Are You Negotiating with Yourself? | TravelResearchOnline


Are You Negotiating with Yourself?

October is the biggest booking month of the year, is your view of money getting in the way of your sales success?

Pamela Danziger of Unity Marketing cites survey results by her company that indicate the majority of consumers expect to pay full price for luxury goods.

Everything, that is, except travel. So, while the luxury buyer proudly pays full price for a Louis Vuitton bag, 64% of those surveyed said they got a “discount or a deal” on travel. Not only were they given a discount, they expected it! It’s our own fault. As an industry, we have conditioned potential buyers to shop based on price.

I don’t see this ending anytime soon. It is far easier to feed the beast than to change decades of conditioned behavior. As the evidence shows, it’s not just the contemporary or premium customers that expect a discount – its luxury travelers as well!

I would bet a copy of my book that this is how the typical sale transaction plays out. First, most buyers will raise their hand asking for a specific luxury product or destination. Then the conversation goes something like this:

Prospect: “So how much is the trip?”

Adviser: “Well, um, uh, it’s $25,000 but I can give you a discount and if the rate drops, I will make sure you get the lower price, and…”

This takes about 30 seconds. The first 20 seconds were spent getting up the courage to state the price, the last 10 seconds babbling about discounts.  I would also bet that the agent was too afraid to ask for this much money. While I don’t mean to offend anyone, it is a reality in our business.

The term for what happened in this scenario is called “Negotiating with Yourself” and travel agents are among the best in the business at it. So why does this happen more often than not? The answer is pretty simple. Your relationship with money is based on your own life experiences. How you feel about money will have a tremendous effect on your ability to ask for it.

One trick that worked for me early in my sales career is finding what I call your “Pucker Point”. Start with $100 and add zeros until it becomes a number that makes you squirm. For me, that number was $10,000. I worked through it, until it eventually reached $100,000. Sweating bullets, I got through that one as well.

The most expensive vacation I sold to a couple was around $400,000. The only reason I was able to accomplish this was by changing my relationship with money and what it represents. If you want your customers to spend five or even six figures on a VACATION, – not on a house or a car, but a VACATION, you had better feel pretty good about asking for and earning the “MONEY”.

Just know this. The buyer already has a pretty good idea of the trip price before they even talk to you. Will you pucker? Probably, but it’s like anything else, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Don’t feel guilty about earning the full commission on these sizable sales? I don’t care if it is $100, $1000, $10,000 or more – you’ve earned it!

Suppliers are always looking to cut costs so they would not be willing to pay you this much if they did not value your services.

Here’s the lesson:

Unless it’s your sales model, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t offer an upfront discount or say that you will beat someone else’s price. Advisers tend to do this, not to be competitive, but because they either do not believe in the value of the trip or the value of their service. Most likely both!

If the prospect asks for a discount (and they probably will because we have conditioned their behavior), then it becomes a negotiation.

If you offer a discount upfront, then you’ve made it about the price and lost before you even begin.

Next time, I want you to try something like this. “Jane, this is going to be a great trip, its $XX,XXX per person – which credit card would you like to use?” Then SHUT UP and wait. Let Jane mumble, talk to herself, or whatever.

No matter what, do not say a word until she either; a) asks a legitimate question or objection; b) starts negotiating; or c) hands over the credit card. Try it -It works. Every second you keep your mouth shut is money in your pocket!

The difference between negotiating with a prospect and negotiating with yourself is that you will never win against yourself.


Dan Chappelle is a professional sales performance expert. His training and consulting firm help develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry. His bestselling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales is available on and

For information on how Dan can help transform your business, visit:

©2019 Dan Chappelle, CCI Inc.

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