By asking unconventional questions, agents can help potential clients think in new and different ways that could ultimately end in a sale.
These and other “questionable” strategies were shared with travel sellers by Tim Wackel, The Sales Expert, during a session at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas.
A curious approach
Showing curiosity about a potential client, instead of pitching deals right away, can help travel sellers develop their business more effectively, Wackel advised.
“How much can we learn when we’re talking about ourselves?” he asked.
By approaching the sales process as an opportunity to gain information about a potential client, agents can better tailor trips when it comes time to propose a deal.
“There are times when you have to tap your breaks, shut up and ask questions,” Wackel said. “You’ve got to let your client be the most important person.”
An ‘endearing trait’
Agents and advisors are often deeply skilled in explaining the minutiae of the trips and packages they offer. But by approaching a sales situation with a focus on the client, and not your offerings, you can help develop a relationship over time.
“If you ask more questions, they’re going to think you’re smart,” Wackel said. “If I ask questions, it makes me seem like I don’t have all the answers – and that’s a very endearing trait.”
Wackel proposed a question that all travel sellers can use to engage potential clients without being pushy: “I sell travel, and there are a lot of options out there. How in the world does a person in a position like you choose?”
Developing a relationship
By making a client feel important, you increase the chance of developing a relationship.
“When you ask a question and there’s a pause, you’ve hit gold – they haven’t thought about it in that way before,” Wackel said.
He also proposed agents use the following questions to find out more about a client’s needs: “‘Tell me about your all-time favorite trip and what made it memorable.’”
The point, he explained, is to “get it through their lens.”
Don’t make assumptions
Keep in mind that even if you specialize in a certain type of travel, whether it’s luxury or multigenerational, you still don’t know exactly what a new customer may want.
“Remember that assumption is the mother of all mistakes,” said Wackel.
By asking a more diverse range of questions, you can draw out a client and get information that can help you design a personalized trip that leads to a sale.
“The quality of your business is directly related to the quality of your questions,” Wackel said. “Ask better questions and you’ll get better business.”
How to follow up
A memorable follow-up is also important. Since consumers are inundated with voice mail, emails and snail mail, Wackel suggested sending certified mail to make an unforgettable impression.
“When someone gets a piece of certified mail, they ask, ‘Who’s suing me?” he joked. But the envelope is sure to be opened, and if you personalize your message, the recipient is likely to reach out.
Keep on calling
Eighty percent of all new business sales are made on or after the fifth contact, Wackel said, citing statistics from the National Sales Business Association.
By returning to potential leads again and again, you increase the odds of landing a sale.
Use the repeated contact as an opportunity to get to know your potential client.
Have some fun
Don’t forget to have a little fun in the process, he added.
“People who are fun drive the most business, but I didn’t say people who drive the most business have the most fun.”