This is the question I am always asked when I’m talking about attracting clients. The next sentence is usually something like: “I’m doing everything right, but I get so little response…” The answers to this conundrum lie in the following seven hard-hitting ales statements…
1. Get ‘the knowledge’
If you don’t have it you can’t sell it. It’s that simple. If you do have it then you can market it. The term ‘The Knowledge’ comes from the UK where black cab taxi drives take three years to study the roads of London. Once they have ‘The Knowledge’ they are deemed ready. Your London in this case is Mother Earth. How much time have you invested in learning about it?
2. Understand the hard core truth of sales
If you are a customer service fanatic, you may be weak at sales. Excellent at service, but lousy at sales. The Hard Core Truth is you have to close the sale; ask for the business. Follow up until you get your answer. No, we’re not talking about harassment, and no, we’re not talking about hounding or twisting arms. Those are phrases that customer service-focused agents respond with because they are not comfortable selling. After all, selling at the professional level should be a joy from both the customer and the travel agent’s point of view.
3. Improve your website
Your website is the hub of your sales and marketing plan. However, so many travel agency websites are terrible, ugly and non-functioning. A bad website will scare clients away, which could be one reason why you’re not generating sales.
4. Don’t make the social media mistake
Yes I know your corporate gurus are telling you that the world revolves around social media. That may be true for CNN, but it’s not true for you. A LIKE is not a customer; it’s a LIKE. If the truth be told 90 percent or more of your LIKES are not in a position to book with you. If you want to know the truth, email each LIKE and ask where they would like you to book them in the next few months. Silence… Yes, we’ve all heard about the travel agent who posted a special and received a group booking from it. It happens, but it would happen a lot more if you chased the business. The old adage of your main market being within a five-mile radius of our agency remains true, unless you work at an international level offering niche expertise not available anywhere else but from you.
5. Follow up and follow up and follow up
This is what you MUST do if you truly want to complete the circle of advertising, marketing and selling. Between phoning, emailing and holding an in-person presentation, you should follow up with every person you made contact with or sent a direct mail or direct email to. That’s it pure and simple: follow up and follow up again until you are actually speaking to a live person who is a potential customer.
6. Don’t fall for the referral myth
This one is always talked about, but hardly ever followed through. When was the last time you called each of your clients and asked for a referral? How long is it since you’ve sent a direct mailer or email to each client to ask for a referral? Where on your website or email is there a request for referrals?
7. Fine tune your marketing
If you do not understand imagery, balance, placement, fonts, colours and calls to action, then chances are you are not submitting attractive copy to whomever you are marketing to. What you are doing is sending out emails that are quickly deleted, or paper that’s thrown in the recycle bin. Improving this situation starts with ‘The Knowledge’ and then moves on to how you take that knowledge to your market.