“We’re not selling travel right now… we’ve turned into Insurance agents… that’s ALL we’re talking about!” – Karen D., CTC
Karen is a seasoned travel advisor who is witnessing some booked business go bust and some eager shoppers go silent. The traveling public are fear-filled, and their desperately needed vacations are being put on-hold.
Some will consult their trusted travel advisor. Some will wish they had one.
In their 1980’s hit single, The Clash asks, “Should I stay or should I go now?”. I suspect some travelers will go and some travelers will stay (home). Karen, like countless others, are losing money just having these discussions, let alone processing cancellations, refunds, and chatting with suppliers and insurance companies.
Upon arrival, crisis can bring disaster and opportunity to business owners. Can lemonade be made during these gruesome times of uncertainty? It is another moment of truth or consequence for advisors right now. How are you dealing with confused clients asking if your opinion if they should stay or should they go?
Your response will determine where your business will travel in the future. Owners can choose to stay in the game and to be a beacon of care, comfort and confidence. Or, owners can choose to panic and perpetuate the fear.
Whichever your choice, the client will know. Here are my leadership tips when sales tank and it’s not your fault. My premise is that if you do nothing it will be your fault.
1. Don’t wait for the call. Work the phones NOW. A preemptive service call campaign showcases an anticipation skillset – a mark of a strong, influential leader.
2. Don’t be uninformed. Over-prepare. Download all you can from suppliers and experts. Know everything about your clients and prospects. Here is an opportunity to validate your very existence. Prove that you are far from obsolete. Tenacity during challenging times is the mark of a strong, influential leader.
3. Don’t be judgmental. Now is the most critical time to exercise empathy. Your listening skills will be put to the test. Your responses will be scrutinized. A talent for mirroring (which enables you to get in-step with a consumer’s fears and desires) is the mark of a strong, influential leader.
4. Don’t let them see you sweat. I know that you are. They can’t. Feeling the time-squeeze of working harder and earning less is a sweat-worthy state for any owner. Know that a consumer hears right through you. They will feel your disappointment, frustration or anger albeit unintended. They’ll think it’s personal, not business. Remaining steadfast professional is a mark of a strong, influential leader.
5. Stay in service mode versus sales mode for as long as it takes. The tide will turn when it turns. You can help start a ripple effect of confidence. You may not think you are selling as you serve, but you are. Remember my preaching on generating abundant repeat and referral sales: It’s up to you to deliver loyalty-grade service always and forever if you expect it in return.
I am not underestimating just how overwhelming these times are for you. I am encouraging you to lean in rather than hide out. Strong, influential leaders possess the skills to navigate through the stormiest of seas and keep their followers safe and sound.
Karen is correct. Today your mission is to insure your very future as a trusted travel advisor. Go be an agent of assurance. People follow the leader. Be one NOW. Business will rebound bigger than ever before.
Stuart Cohen, Chief Motivation Officer at StuartLloydCohen.com
If you can think big, Stuart will help you do big! An accomplished 28-year travel industry executive turned serial solopreneur, Stuart is a creator of brands and an energizing motivational speaker. He motivates & maximizes personal performance in leadership, entrepreneurship, salesmanship & wellness.