7 Steps to Becoming Indispensable to Your Clients
by  and  rew Sheivachman
7 Steps to Becoming Indispensable to Your Clients

Travel agents need to think differently about their role—and what their clients want—to compete successfully in today’s technology-driven world.

Tapping into clients’ desires, acting as true advisors and focusing on what human beings can do—and machines can’t—are among actions agents can take to transform themselves into “indispensable” resources, according to Nolan Burris of Future Proof Travel Solutions

Burris presented these and other tips in an address—From Agent to Advisor to ‘Indispensable’—at this year’s cruise3sixty conference in Vancouver. Following, in his own words, are selected highlights.

#1. Tap into clients’ desires
If you ask the average person, most don’t think they need a travel agent. You need to understand the difference between needs and desires; these are two very different emotional states. People desire a cruise, and in the days when nobody thinks they need a travel agent, we should celebrate that. You need to make them desire you [and your advice] as much as they desire to go on a cruise.

#2. Return to advising
If you go back 100 years, people did not call themselves travel agents; they called themselves travel advisors. Way back then, 100% of the revenue they generated came from professional consulting fees. Commissions did not exist yet, so it was all about selling themselves as an advisor. Being an advisor is the oldest thing in this industry, since people are asking for advice and not just information.

#3. Titles matter
Titles still have a role to play because a title is what you tell your customers you are. If you see yourself as a travel agent, clients are probably going to think of you as a travel agent. Try to call yourself a travel consultant, because that’s what you really are. You guide people just like consultants did 100 years ago. Booking has become the domain of machines, but that’s not what clients come to you for. Advisors will still be sitting here in 20 years, while agents will be replaced by an iPhone app.

#4. Connect with emotions
How do we move into the future? We focus on humanity––the thing machines can’t do and will never be able to take away from us. Advice and opinion are not the same thing. Advice requires a human being connecting emotionally with another human being to find the right fit for that person. Only humans can do that.

#5. Question your clients
Rule No. 1 of consulting is never to think consumers know what they want. If you believe them based on that artificial reality [of Internet research], you’re rolling the dice that they’ll get something they really want. The machines always believe [your clients], because they are driven by advertising—where it’s the right thing to buy because the advertising tells them to buy.

#6. Go luxury: charge fees
Anything that is rare is perceived as more valuable and people are willing to pay more it. For those of you who are considering charging fees, now may be the time. No one is sitting around the table saying, ‘Let’s take an $899 cruise;’ that’s not how it works. They’re talking about emotional stuff [instead]. Advisors who tap into that emotion, put their focus where it belongs.

#7. Start with emotions
Start with the human aspects of emotion, experience and desires. Those are what create the indispensable atmosphere that bonds people to you emotionally. To an advisor, a cruise is a [client’s] dream; to a machine, it’s just data.”

  0
  0
Tip of the Day

 

Best place to buy leather gloves in Rome? Best pupusas in San Salvador? Where to rent bicycles in Hoi An? This is the "gold" you offer your clients. Send them the links that will connect them to the destination and to travel bliss.
Steve Gillick
Daily Top List

Best Things To Do In Hamburg

1. Gastwerk Hotel

2. Miniatur Wunderland

3. Brachmann's Galeron restaurant

4. Atles Madchen brewhouse

5. Flohschanze market

Source: The Guardian

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Six Reasons To Visit Central And Eastern Europe
Six Reasons To Visit Central And Eastern Europe

It’s safe; it offers great value; and best of all, it’s beautiful and unique and fun.

Warren Buffett Mulls Buying An Airline
Warren Buffett Mulls Buying An Airline

The chatter on Wall Street has turned into a fascinating prospect: that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Group will buy an airline outright.

Delta And Travelport Address The Pain Of System Outages
Delta And Travelport Address The Pain Of System Outages

After Delta—an airline that prides itself on its flight completion factor—endured a meltdown in August that inflicted pain for days, it decided it wasn’t taking the tyranny of technology lying down.

Aloha State Roundup: What’s New In Hawaii
Aloha State Roundup: What’s New In Hawaii

Stay up to date on the happenings in everyone’s favorite tropical paradise.

American, United Begin Selling Basic Economy Fares
American, United Begin Selling Basic Economy Fares

‘It is the responsibility of the travel agent or ticket provider to properly disclose the conditions of a Basic Economy fare to the traveler.’ 

New Travel Ban Executive Order Could Clarify Confusion
New Travel Ban Executive Order Could Clarify Confusion

Responding to lawsuits and protests, the Trump Administration is expected to clarify travel restrictions for those holding green cards and visas.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: TRAFALGAR