Travel Agents

Why agents shouldn’t be afraid to talk price upfront

Hannah Edensor

Agents have been called ‘the new black’ and, just last week, ‘lifestyle planners’ as opposed to travel agents. And now, the experts from Cruise360 have a new piece of advice.

“Don’t be fearful of talking about price upfront,” said Azamara Club Cruises President and CEO, Larry Pimental.

Pimental told agents at the recent Cruise360 conference that agents should be open about discussing the big costs with clients from the outset, but to always be ready to prove why a product or holiday is worth more.

“You interpret value, and that’s a powerful role,” Pimental said.

“You have the power to change someone’s life.”

But, he warned, if you can’t explain why something is worth more, then you’re in trouble.

“Always be ready to say, ‘This may be expensive but here’s why’,” he added.

“If you can’t answer the second part of that sentence, you’ll lose a client.”

Regent Seven Seas’ Vice President of Sales for ANZ, Lisa Pile, agreed with Pimental.

“As agents, you’re storytellers. You need to create a dream and sell that story,” Pile said.

“The average person doesn’t have that imagination – you need to create these dreams.

“People make decisions with their hearts not their heads,” she added.

“If someone were to ask me, ‘what did you spend on that private safari in Tanzania 10 years ago?’ I couldn’t tell you, but ask me about the experience and I can tell you all about that.”

Crystal’s Managing Director & Senior Vice President, Karen Christensen, told agents that you’ve got to deliver on your promise of quality where higher price tags are involved.

“The key to me is explaining the details of the expenditure,” she said.

“In customer service and value for money, you’ve got to be able to deliver.”

“Never underestimate someone’s budget unless they’ve specifically told you so,” Pile added.

Seabourn’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Chris Austin, said one of the best ways to sell clients on quality and be comfortable talking high prices from the get-go, is by using visuals.

“One of your most powerful assets today is video,” he told agents.

“By leveraging the kinds of videos we all create, you can clearly tell a story of an individual brand or destination.”

“We are the content matter experts,” Christensen added. “Use us to get your client across the line.”

Pimental had a final word of advice for agents, and it involved ‘luck’.

“There’s no such thing as luck when selling to a client. You must have knowledge.

“Clients want you to interpret a product and sell it to them.

“You need to get people emotionally involved, it’s more significant than you might think.”

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