You know you have arrived when the Harvard Business Review uses you as a case study for sales success. And that’s just what has happened to travel agents!
In an article titled “B2B Salespeople Need To Act More Like Travel Agents,” authors Nicholas Toman, Brent Adamson and Cristina Gomez note that “Having more information doesn’t always make it easier to decide. Consider what’s happened with travel: With the explosion of internet travel sites in the 2000s, consumers took charge of their own travel, and travel agencies hemorrhaged business. Fast forward to today. According to the travel and leisure marketing firm MMGY, the use of travel agents increased by 50% from 2014 to 2015. Why? Because consumers, overwhelmed by information and inundated with choices, are again turning to travel agents to take the work out of travel planning.”
Now that’s what we like to hear!
“A similar sequence has happened with B2B buying,” the article goes on to say. “Just as with travel, a wealth of easily available information has made it possible for buyers to do much of the work themselves. By 2012, our research shows, nearly 60% of a typical B2B purchasing decision — researching solutions, ranking options, benchmarking pricing, and so on — was happening before the buyer even had a conversation with a supplier. But just because customers can research their purchase doesn’t necessarily mean the process is going smoothly. As we describe in our recent HBR article, “The New Sales Imperative,” the torrents of information, expanding array of options, and growing size and diversity of purchasing groups are leading to a kind of purchase paralysis: Customers are taking longer than ever to make purchases, and abandoning them more often.”
Yes, we know.
“At the same time, second guessing and post-purchase regret are on the rise, while loyalty is falling. As purchasing becomes ever more complex, it’s becoming harder and harder — and buyers are now looking for sellers who can make the process easy once again.”
Yes, travel agents are here for you, consumers! Even the Harvard Business School is taking note.