There is a thin line between “customer service” and being a doormat. Remember, you can’t be all things to all people.
If there is one common refrain I hear (and if I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times), it is:
Potential clients contact me to milk me for information before they head out to book their own vacation on the internet.
It is your business and you can run it any way you so choose. If you want to give away the shop and be taken advantage of that is your decision. You or anybody else are not going to stop people from taking the easy way out.
If you have a fee, the best time to explain this is early in the budding relationship. Nobody likes surprises. Not me. Not you. Nobody!
If your policy is to charge a “research fee” after the first ten minutes of dialogue, then it’s your responsibility to state your policy. It’s your business. It’s your time. If you choose not to get paid for what you can offer clients, then whose fault is that?
Remember that there will only be two types of people you will ever have to confront. Those individuals 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. (Don’t shoot the messenger.)
Of these four types, it is your responsibility to hunt down more of the type you can help, and who are glad to pay you. If they’re not down right giddy about paying you, at least they will follow through.
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 request payment for your services. After all, you are providing a valuable service your clients could not benefit from on their own.
There is no “system” per se, but if you feel that your knowledge is valuable, no apology is needed for asking to be compensated. The problem arises when the individual agent either does not believe in their contributions or they are not adding any value to the relationship in the first place.
And this brings us full-circle in today’s Big Idea. If you want to become more confident and more worthy of higher fees, then it just might behoove you to start reading more about your business and your competition. Make no mistake about it folks, you are in the marketing business first and the travel business second.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.