There is a distinct line between “customer service” and being a doormat. Remember: you can’t be all things to all people. Nor should you try to be.
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 as much information as they can before they head out to book their own vacation on the internet.”
It is your business and you can run it any way you choose. If you insist on allowing people to “milk” you for information before fleeing for their keyboard, shame on you. Of course, you must share a little information prior to switching on “the meter.” The obvious and easy solution to this so-called dilemma is to have a fee for your professional services. And, if you have a fee, the best time to explain this is earlier rather than later. Nobody likes surprises. Not me. Not you. Nobody!
If your policy is to charge a “research fee,” after the first ten-minutes of back and forth communication, it’s your obligation to introduce your fee schedule. 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? Certainly not that of your prospect.
Remember that there will always be two types of people you will find yourself speaking with. (1) Those who you can help; and, (2) 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.
Of these four types, it is your responsibility to hunt down more of the type you can help – and who appreciate your contributions. (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, it should be easier to get paid for your services.
There is no “system” per se, but if you feel that your knowledge is valuable, then no apology is necessary when asking to be compensated. The problem arises when the individual agent either does not believe in their own value, 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 practicing proven marketing tactics. And make no mistake about it folks, you are in the marketing business first and the travel industry second.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. Send for details.