I am an evangelist for the benefits of having a sales-focused travel business. In fact, selling is one of the oldest, most honorable, and high-income professions in the world; but, at its core, it is about serving others.
We serve at the pleasure of our customers. As a result, our compensation is in direct proportion to the value of the service we provide, how it fulfills their needs, and the number of our customers we serve.
Here are four things you can do to serve your customers well.
- Ask for the sale. You can’t serve your customers if you don’t have any. It is a simple fact that, if our ability to serve our customers is directly proportionate to the number of customers we have, the only way to create a customer is to make the sale – then you can provide your own brand of service.
- Become a learner. You can’t share what you don’t know. Part of our job is that of an educator, so our willingness to learn is directly proportionate to our ability to teach. We are being taught that today’s traveler is in search of experiences that stimulate their minds; when, in fact, they always have been. It is our profession that is just now coming around to this realization. As parts of the world become more easily accessible, it is easier for us to help them chase after their bucket list experiences. Immerse yourself in experiences, not products.
- Consistency. Many of the problems we dealt with as Pursers onboard cruise ships were travel agent related. Guest expectations tended to be inconsistent with the experience we delivered. When I started our travel business, our mission was clear: “We will provide the same high level of service during the booking process that our customers expect on their vacation.” Consistent, high-level service is how we won over our customers.
- Know when to say “No”. Service comes with a price. The main difference in Carnival and Crystal is not the hardware, it is the software, the people and the service they provide. Just know that not everyone appreciates what you do and the value you bring. Once you learn to recognize this in a prospect, do them (and yourself) a favor and simply say, “Based on your expectations of me, you will be better served elsewhere.” Often, they will backpedal and pay. Those that leave are most likely not customers you want anyway.
I like to think we are similar to the chef who has trained for years in learning how different ingredients and techniques come together to produce a phenomenal dish. However, the guest typically doesn’t see all the preparation that goes into producing a great meal. They may not understand why the price is so much higher than a similar dish out of a can. This is one reason the waiter will explain in detail the quality ingredients and preparation involved to create the end result.
In the travel business, it doesn’t matter if you are a large retailer like Vacations to Go or a brand-new independent contractor, as agents/advisers, we can offer the same products for practically the same price as everyone else. What will set you apart is not being an order taker, but your ability to draw on your experience and knowledge to serve your customers through selling.
Dan Chappelle is the leading authority on sales performance in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling book “Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is available on Amazon and Audible. To learn more about his High-Performance Sales System and onsite training programs. visit www.WealthyTravelAgent.com.
© 2020 Dan Chappelle / CCI, Inc.