At the heart of Chappelle’s series was the notion that travel advisors need to be laser-focused on selling, not marketing. He asserted that in the travel industry lexicon, marketing has become confused with selling.
Given that KNOT members include both novice and senior travel advisors, KNOT asked Chappelle which marketing pitfall each is prone to make, in his opinion.
Here's what Chappelle had to say.
Answer: The biggest pitfall is spending too much on marketing upfront and not knowing what to do with the leads when you get them.
Chapelle was quick to respond to this question; as he sees it, both new and seasoned advisors are spending too much money on marketing and not optimizing the leads that come in.
He pointed out that many advisors forget to cultivate their relationships with past clients.
“Most [advisors] tend to take their marketing budget and focus on attracting prospects into the pool. Once you get them in, you've sold them and there's a feeling that 'they're my customer now so I really don't have to do anything until they come back.' The advisor might send them a newsletter or some [touchpoint] like that.”
But according to Chappelle, that's a dangerous line of thinking. He quoted the survey results of a Royal Caribbean survey that showed nearly two-thirds of the cruise line's repeat passengers did not book with the same travel professional who booked their first trip.
It isn’t all bad news, though. Chappelle pointed out there’s a lot advisors can do to retain clients.
“[The client doesn’t often] leave because they're unhappy with your service or even the price,” he said. “They don't think you care about them. It's indifference. If you're not becoming friends with them, learning their travel habits and caring about them, then why should they care about you? That's why they leave.”
Chappelle doesn’t think of it as a pitfall, though; he sees opportunity.
As a word of advice to new advisors, Chapelle emphasized the importance of making a sale in the earliest of your career days.
“I'll tell you this – the faster you earn a sale, the more likely you are to stay in the business and become engaged with it. If you can get a sale within your first 30 or 60 days, you will have a greater chance of making it a career.”
His advice? Put in the hard work and don't get discouraged.
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