The rise of online travel businesses and airline direct bookings means that street front travel agents must become savvier in their sales and service approach to convert more people.
As we mystery shop travel agents all over the country we see some negative sales tactics that appear either desperate or out of date.
Many consultants use the line “without a travel agent you are on your own” and whilst the meaning is powerful, their delivery often has a negative tone.
More often than not it is simply a response to something the client has said, rather than an element of sales spiel, but regardless, it is an empty threat, because clients have more than enough resources to go it alone.
When we ask travel agents what they ask customers first, the usual response is that consultations start with a few qualifying questions.
Besides the necessary questions of when, where, how long, they ask picture creation questions like ‘have you been there before?’ and ‘what type of holiday are you hoping for?’
Whilst these questions have their place and are crucial in conversion, travel agents need to consider two pre questions to set them up for even greater success.
The first question will help you decide whether or not you will do the quote on the spot or whether you will send them away and give them the price and product details later.
In today’s fast paced world where one can get quotes instantly online, clients are often left wondering why they can’t get the same speed when visiting or calling an agent. Simply by asking “How much time have you got today?” you begin to build a relationship and get an indication as to their desire to get an on the spot price and product option.
Generally speaking, if the consultant does send the client away without the quote, they have the intention of investing time and energy into researching the best price and product. Sometimes, as much as they might deny it, the reality is that they simply want to delay the work.
If the client truly comes first, then this question helps overcome procrastination, improves the flow of communication and involves the client in the crucial early planning stages.
The second question helps you to be proactive and will reduce the likelihood of clients referring to products and prices they have seen online or in the press as an afterthought. The idea is to discover what research they have already done so that you can take it into consideration when doing their initial quote.
Disbelievers may suggest that asking the question “What research have you done?” may encourage shopping around, but the harsh reality is that almost 70% of people are already considering more than one option.
Taking this proactive approach increases the speed in which an enquiry becomes a booking, as you are better placed to offer the client exactly what they want and can reduce the time spent going back and forth with adjustments.
Being a successful consultant in today’s travel market means exceptional service is paramount, and requires you to be one step ahead of your competition.
Use these two introductory questions to set you up for success before you even start to gather information about their needs and wants. Essentially, it is about getting on the same page as your client, and that may mean you need to shake a few old habits in the process.
For more hints and tips check out our website.