It Starts With Relationships
From the beginning, it is important that you begin building a rapport with your client. People like to be listened to and they will buy from people that they like and trust. Try not to look at this as "how much money am I going to make" instead "how can I help this person have the best time ever on their vacation?" Remember that you are a professional providing expert advice and valuable services in the most friendly, efficient, and effective way.
Communication is key in getting to know people and what they like and want. Here are some tips for communicating with your clients:
Always speak clearly and evenly. Sometimes when you talk to fast and they don't understand what you said can be a turn off to a client. Sometimes talking too slow is just as bad.
Don't use travel jargon and acronyms such as “OBC” and “run of ship”. Always speak in laymen's terms to a client. Save the jargon for colleagues.
Be sure to understand your client’s needs, listen to their questions and answer them completely. Let the client finish their sentence or question before interjecting.
Be positive and upbeat. Get your client excited about their vacation by being excited about their vacation. Avoid any negativity in your tone whether it be about their destination, cruise or hotel. Give your honest opinion if you feel you need to but tone down the negativity. Remember, they may have been given this location by a friend or relative and are determined to go. Do your best to give advice if you advise against the location but do it with reasons that are helpful.
Lead the conversation by using questions. We suggest you start off by sending your client a client travel questionnaire even before the first conversation or before you really get into discussing their options.
Use your client’s name often in the conversation. When you do this, it makes people feel like you are hearing them and talking to them. It's not just a "spiel"
If you want repeat customers, remember to treat every customer like they are your best customer.
Qualifying Your Clients
The most important action to take in creating a satisfied client is knowing what they like and dislike, what their expectations are and what their budget is. Therefore, it is important to qualify them before even starting the process of research or you'll be spinning your wheels going back and forth. Here is a Questionnaire should be very helpful while to help you qualify your client. The bottom line here is to understand the needs and wants of your clients. It is far easier to sell something to a client that you know they want rather than selling them something that you "think" they might like or doesn't fit all their needs. Understanding the needs of your clients and satisfying those needs will help you build a strong customer base of happy clients.
Maintaining the information that you obtain from your clients through your conversations with them in a central place is key. We need something to refer back to if we need to recall a conversation or request from the client. That is why we have provide you with a CRM where you can track everything...including notes and special requests of your clients. We love using TESS because it is user-friendly, comprehensive and always as up to date as it can be! Plus they are always adding features. For those with the Advanced package, there are even great marketing tools that you can use that are less expensive than using another third-party software AND the best part is it's all integrated into one system. You can keep all kinds of important information in this system including passenger names, birth dates, citizenship, travel preferences, past passenger numbers, addresses, email addresses, alternate phone numbers, and much more.
Get Pricing And Pertinent Information From Vendor.
Once you've qualified a client and have no doubt you can be of assistance, you need to start doing research. It's best to start with our suppliers list. Search by Destination or Supplier for this. Use our Facebook group to get recommendations of who others use. Some suppliers are more specialized in certain areas. Others operate OUT of certain areas that are more logistically accessible to your clients. You'll start to get to know these suppliers as you begin to use them and ask questions.
This also means that you will want to use suppliers like Centrav or TripPro for air. They have contracted prices with airlines as well as published airfares. They even have hotels. It's always best to first do a broad search, then begin to narrow down based on the requests and needs fo yhour client. Some vendors are best reach by phone or by travel-agent-only website. Be sure to check the supplier page for each to be sure.
When phoning a vendor, you will need to give the reservation agent the credential information indicated on that vendor’s supplier page, your full name, our agency name (Elite Travel Concierge), our IATA # and sometimes, our phone number (561-447-8869). Remember, as a member you are using our credentials and there are no exceptions! Providing them with our name and phone will assure that you are properly credited with commission.
If you come across a special or promotion, whether you receive from us, Travel Leaders Network or from the vendor directly, be sure you make note of any specific promotional code listed in the advertisement. Be sure you read and understand the promotion before quoting to your client. If you have any questions as to options for finding the best rates, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Always be sure to get a complete pricing breakdown and record all of the details including price, taxes, gratuities, daily resort or housekeeping fees, port changes, government taxes, airfare, airfare taxes, insurance, excursions, tours, and pre- and post- add-ons. When using most of the suppliers, this information will be automatically documented in the quote. If it's not, ASK! If you called the vendor or used their agent-only site, make sure to write down all of this information and keep a copy of the vendor confirmation.
Remember, prices and availability change constantly. Be sure to place a hold on any product you intend to quote to a client to avoid problems when you call the vendor to apply payment for the client. Also let the client know that nothing is guaranteed until ticketed or booked. We cannot stress that enough!
Once you have properly qualified the client and done thorough research into pricing, amenities, and so on, a couple of possibilities should emerge as those best suited to your client’s needs.
Some suppliers have their own method of providing a client with a quote. We recommend HIGHLY that you always provide the vendors with YOUR email address and YOUR phone number so that any quote or correspondence that goes out from the vendor will come first to YOU and then you can forward to your client. That gives you a chance to review everything for accuracy first.
It's best to give your client your best two or three recommendations so as to avoid confusing them, diluting your recommendation, and making closing the sale harder than it needs to be.
Once you have identified those products best suited to your client’s needs, it is time to make a recommendation using the following tips:
Reconnect with the client. Be sure to call the client by name.
Go over all of the key facts without going into minute details.
Get you client in the habit of agreeing with you by asking yes/no questions to which the answer is obviously “yes” and which demonstrate the value of the product you are recommending. This will help avoid client objections.
Be excited about what you are telling them. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Create a sense of urgency. Emphasize limited availability. Impress upon them that the prices you have won’t last long. Stress how this is the very best answer to their needs. This is not pressuring them. You are simply conveying the truth about the nature of travel…there’s limited inventory and prices go up.
Give them a sense of owning their vacation by using positive phrases like “Your cabin in on the Main Deck” and “Your room overlooks the ocean.”
Be descriptive. Use phrases that entice. Talk about the feature of their vacation in an exciting way. Tell them about “the fresh sea air,” “the lavish midnight buffet,” “treating yourself to a day at the spa,” “the world renown beaches,” “the pulsing night life,” and any other remarkable features of the product you’re recommending to them.
Close The Sale
When you’re done pulling together the best options for your client and discussing the one they are leaning towards, you don’t want to lose the sale because you didn’t ask for it. You don’t want all of your hard work to go down the drain. And, you don’t want the client to miss out on a great trip that they would have really enjoyed. While we never recommend using the “hard sell” approach, we do urge you to ask for the sale. Once you see signs that the client is ready to buy, use a phrase such as “I can go ahead and book that for you now, which credit card would you like to use?” to ask for the sale. Avoid using “yes or no” questions.
Tips for Closing the Sale
Expect to make the sale since you’ve done the work to find a product that the client really wants.
Have a confident and slightly authoritative tone in your voice.
Be simple in your approach when you ask for payment.
Listen to your client. Don’t talk yourself out of the sale by not listening.
Remember that you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by asking for the sale.
Be prepared for objections and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale again once you’ve overcome them.
Overcome the 5 Reasons Client’s Don’t Buy – Revisit these if you can't close a sale
Wrong Sales Approach
Client was never asked for the sale
Dealing With Objections
Remember that an objection isn’t a rejection. It’s just a client’s way of letting you know that they need more information before their ready to make a buying decision. So, more often than not, it’s easy to use the objection to help close the sale.
There are many different type of objections but, most can be attributed to not completely qualifying the client. So, probe the objection. Completely understand it so that you can overcome it.
Objections can be used to your advantage since you’re getting valuable information about what your client really wants and values.
Once all other objections about the trip itself have been overcome, the final objection may be price. Here are a few tips for overcoming this objection:
Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Your client may think they have a better price from a competitor but, in fact, may have been quoted a different category, date, or package than you did.
Concentrate on selling value instead of price. Stress the value of your services, the value of the product, and features of both.
If you feel that a competitor is actually beating you on the same product, please contact us at email@example.com to see if we can assist. You should almost never be beaten by a competitor.
Remember to go the extra mile for your clients and not get frustrated because the client is being difficult. Just smother them with kindness, meet their needs, and exceed their expectations. You’ll have a loyal client that will appreciate you, recommend you, and buy from you.