I struggled to decide if I was going to tackle the topic of sales today or not. Why? Because in the world of content marketing, rule number one is to give your audience what they want.
And… most travel advisors believe themselves to be great sellers. It’s the one constant in my consultation calls. Agents will say…I don’t have an issue with selling. I KNOW how to sell. What I struggle with is getting leads.
A concept I know to be true is that the most successful businesses sell their audience what they want but give them what they need.
And in reality…judging from listening between the lines, and hearing about the challenges my clients face, many of them struggle with the sales process but don’t even realize it. They THINK they have it down when in reality, they are missing some critical pieces that are getting in the way of them converting at a much higher level.
1. Have a strong CTA – Call to action
Duh, you are probably thinking as you read that headline but hear me out. So many agents don’t even recognize that they are doing this. And I mean….so many. They’ll do all the work of putting the quote together. It can take them days. They tweak it this way. They add an extra piece here and then a bonus feature there. By the end of all the nipping and tucking, they sit back, have a look at their creation and think…Damn girlfriend…that looks good!
They send it out.
And then sit back and wait. And wait……and wait.
I have to assume the thought process is the quote is just so good, it should stand on its own. As in Drop the Mic. Or at best, they’ll finish the quote with a sign-off that goes something like this…
“If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I look forward to working with you.”
“Here is your quote. Let me know what you think.” 😳
”I look forward to working with you?” A bit redundant. Ummm..I sure hope so. Have you seen me? I’m amazing. Of course, you’d want to work with me. Never mind the fact that that is the only way you’ll get paid so to say you are looking forward to it…Gotcha Captain Obvious.
But I’m not shitting you..that’s how so many agents sign off on their quotes. Many never bother to follow up again. Not all…Lots of advisors…especially successful advisors understand the importance of following up but this thought piece isn’t about the follow-up process.
2. Use video instead of email to deliver the quote
What do most new clients do when they receive a quote from you? This might be a bit of a mind blow. And it may even hurt.
But here it is. NO matter how much your client likes you…they are taking the quote and they are going to pick it apart and shop it around. It’s human nature. If it’s their first time working with you, they won’t be able to help themselves from taking a quick peek at Expedia or some other OTA (Online Travel Agent).
Once you’ve established a relationship and have a repeat client, they are more likely to trust you but a first-time client…forgetaboutit.
Sending an email is way too passive. So what should you do instead?
Video. Start using video. It’s such a great way to present the quote. I’ve spoken about using Loom before. Some things are worth repeating. Loom is a free tool. Loom allows you to record your screen along with a little cut-away image of you in the corner – like those YouTube tutorial videos I’m sure you’ve watched.
We’ve known for years that the world is moving towards video. But this past year was a game-changer in terms of how we will deal with our clients from here on in.
80-year-old grammas, who had never used a computer before suddenly feel completely at home with Facetime. They had no other choice. Video is the new preferred mode of communication in the travel industry.
The secondary benefit of presenting the quote over video is that you can record the call and then rewatch it later. This allows you to pick up tips on how you could have been more effective. Not to mention that you can pick up cues from the client that you may have missed the first time.
3. Highlight to them how you’ve addressed each of their needs
In your initial discovery call, you’ll have teased out all the things that your clients want out of their vacation. You’ll know the style of hotel they prefer. You’ll be reminded of the fact that Gertrude struggles to walk for long periods and that Fred, loves to learn new things while on holiday. He even has a garden filled with medicinal plants that he tends to.
So when you walk your client through the proposal…Don’t assume that they’ll notice all the attention you’ve given to these points.
You’ll want to spell it out.
Say things like….
On day 2, I’ve added a city tour of the old quarter of Beijing. It’s fantastic because you’ll be seeing the Hutongs by rickshaw. Gertrude, this allows you to see the ancient section and how it may have looked when it was Peking. There won’t be a lot of walking required that day.
And Fred, on Day 5, you’ll notice I’ve added a stop at an apothecary shop in the heart of the city of Xian. The shop owner is world-renowned for his ability to heal through herbs. I thought this is right up your alley given your love of horticulture.
Sure, you can hope that Fred and Gertrude will have read your proposal from cover to cover but I’m tellin’ ya…Even when the proposal has been customized specifically, clients hardly have the patience to read documents.
4. Use the Mirror, mirror on the wall approach
Is it just me or does every social media post from a scorned relationship talk about their narcissistic ex and offer up tips and tricks to spot a narcissist in the future. Just me? 😳 Anyhoo…
I chuckled only because…aren’t we all part narcissist? I mean really? Okay..maybe not the Dalai Lama but the rest of us…?
That’s why we are told to write sales copy that speaks to our readers. We run ads with the intent to write with the WIIFM (What’s in it for Me) context in mind.
A great salesperson understands the fine art of mirroring because they know that people gravitate to those who are most like them. This means…
- If they speak slowly – you speak slowly. If they have a quiet tone, don’t freak them out by shouting despite how excited you are.
- If they use phrases like…THAT SOUNDS FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!! Then you bring out your inner teenager and you rephrase your response using similar words….”I KNOW RIGHT?!?”
- While you’ll want to be careful of full-on parroting, (a little bit goes a long way) repeat back the words they use.
For example, your client might say…
”Carol and I are really looking for the type of vacation where we can decompress. We have so much going on in our normal lives…we just want to unplug.”
Jot down those words. And then work them into your script when you go through the itinerary with them. It would sound something like this.
“Brian, you’ll notice that I’ve built in quite a bit of leisure time so that the two of you can decompress and unplug. I understand how stressful your regular routine can be.”
5. Sell the hole, not the drill
In other words, sell the outcome and benefits and not the features. Booking a hotel that is rated 5-star and includes complimentary butler service is a feature. It’s the drill.
What is better is if you sell the feeling of not having to worry about packing and unpacking the suitcase. Talk about how stress-free it will be to have everything taken care of. Remind Brian and Carol that the benefit of complimentary butler service is that they can just sit back, and let someone else handle the worries.
6. Paint a picture in words
A great salesperson understands the importance of building their vocabulary. I learned this early on from the industry icon, Paul Goldstein. This man is legendary. At the time, his specialty was selling game drives in Africa. Paul was also the owner of a tented camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara and a camera lens almost as large as the game park itself.
He had a talent for using words so delicious that you could almost feel the grass touching your cheek as you crouched down in the savanna completely still, watching a mother lion clean her cub with the lick of her sandpaper tongue.
This is how Paul describes a recent trip he took to the Arctic Ocean. Tell me this doesn’t make you want to hand over your black Amex.
7. Anticipate objections and meet them head-on
Objections in the sales transaction are part of the process. I’ve written an entire article on how to overcome the top 5 most common objections we face when selling travel, so I won’t repeat myself. But I will reiterate, don’t be afraid of objections. Objections are indications that the client is interested. The more objections, the more interested they are, so take them as a good sign.
A great salesperson anticipates objections and addresses them early on in the process. There is nothing to hide from. Most clients appreciate transparency. It helps foster trust.
Working these 7 tactics into any sales presentation will lead to a much higher conversion rate.
Let me ask, if you had to add an 8th tactic, what would it be? Please don’t be shy and leave it in the comment section below.