GET YOUR SHIPS TOGETHER AND SELL MORE NAUTICAL VACATIONS! AN IMAGE IS WORTH A 1,000 CLICKS!THE FASTESTGROWING? ADVENTURE PLUS FOR ALL The O&M The EDGE THE Frontline THE BDM
JULY 2011 In this issueDo you have your ships together? Hope so. GET YOUR SHIPS TOGETHER! – Nautical niches. This month’s Selling Travel has a special THE O&M – What do you say when you hear this? article on nautical vacations that explores more then the deep water cruising phenom. TRAVEL WRITING WEBINAR‐ The write way to sell travel. There are more revenues to be had in THE FRONTLINE – Can you DAZZLE your clients? several other hulls on the water! Check it out. THE EDGE – Don’t do it cheap! Invest in yourself. I’m also talking about the use of images to WHY ARE ALL NICHE MARKETS GROWING FAST? generate some clicks, putting on a Travel THE EXTREME BDM – What can you share? Writing webinar to help you boost your sales and introducing more tips and tools for RECOVERY SELLING‐ Guest Article by Steve Gillick, CTM. owners, managers, frontline, home based and you BDMs too. CLOSING THE SALE – The Assumptive Close. ADVENTURE FOR ALL – Your Gay clients too! Great guest article from Steve Gillick, Recovery Selling, who has just returned AN IMAGE IS WORTH A THOUSAND CLICKS! from Japan. WORDART – Tips & techniques. You can now view Selling Travel right from FROM THE BOOK – Idea #161 Movies and Travel. my website – so if you get lost in translation somewhere in the clicks, head over to SMP. MANGA MANAGEMENT – Business Toon‐Ups for ALL! PRODUCTS & SERVICES – SMP support resources. If you need help with anything you see in Selling Travel I am as close as your email or BACKPAGE COMMENT – Something to think about. Skype button. Best regards, Steve Crowhurst, CTM Publisher www.smtraining.com firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: smptraining1 T: 250‐752‐0106 Selling Travel is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. Selling Travel can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in anyway monetized. Using any images or content from Selling Travel must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com” SMP Training Co. 568 Country Club Drive, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada V9K 1G1
CT MAGAZINE IS FREE TO TRAVEL AGENTS ‐ YOU CAN FIND IT RIGHT HERE AT www.canadiantraveller.net And guess what? I write a monthly sales column for CT and feature articles on how to sell destinations – PLUS I get to deliver the CT Webinars that are FREE to YOU every last Thursday of each month!All this and pages of top quality destination information too. Read CT and check for webinars Here.
As you know, deep water cruising is that niche that is no longer a niche. It is now one hundred percent mainstream. That means everyone is selling it and anyone can buy it. When it relates to cruising the word niche will apply to the many offshoots such as adventure cruises, My love for the sea dates back to my small boat cruises and so on. Your job at study of those old explorers in whose this point on the page is to start thinking wake I sailed when I was 18. The map shows my voyages around the globe. The about which nautical niche you would mug shot was taken on the Oriana when I like to take on. There are about 18 of held the illustrious position of SPA – those nautical niches to consider. Swimming Pool Attendant! Otherwise known as a “doddle”. Before we get into those niche markets, lets review selling the current deep water cruise product. There are tens of ships and To win your piece of the cruise pie you must continue to sell as many thousands of beds waiting in hundreds of deep water cruises as you can ‐ focusing on the upscale market to staterooms for you to sell. When you do the generate decent commissions. To thrash yourself selling discounted math and calculate the potential sales for cruises and two‐for‐ones is not really where you want to be. It is true, each travel agency you’ll be surprised at how some agencies are doing well in this low priced segment – you just low the number is – especially when there have to sell harder, faster and sooner. are agencies selling thousands of cruises each year and cruise lines taking thousands Choose Your Three: of direct bookings. This leaves little for the You can never be all things to all clients. It just doesn’t make sense. average agency or home‐based agent to You’ll need to make some choices and here we use the Power of close. Three to help you decide. Choose three cruise lines – high end, mid and low. Then choose three cruise itineraries, three categories… you A recent study released by Amadeus get the picture. What you will end up with is a niche within the cruise suggested that large travel agencies sell a market. Your next step is to study, truly study and learn everything minimum of 300 cabins a year, medium‐ possible about your three chosen cruise lines and categories. Now sized travel agencies sell between 50 – 299 you can market yourself as an expert. You’ll have your ships cabins a year and small travel agencies sell together! between 1 – 49 cabins a year. You could try to sell every cruise line, category and itinerary however What does this mean? Well for the home this stretches your marketing dollar, your time and energy to the based agent and the small travel agency you limit. Getting your ships together allows you to focus, target, follow have an uphill battle to out‐market those up and close without all the stress. larger agencies and the cruise lines themselves. Naturally you must go for your Assuming you have your piece of the cruise pie but want to explore piece of the cruise pie, however let’s see if other nautical vacation opportunities here are a few ideas for you to there’s more opportunity for you in one or consider. Each one can be as lucrative as you wish – the key point more of the other nautical offerings. here is that few of your competitors know about these niches.
Here are the other nautical vacations you could think about selling: What you choose from this list will depend upon your personal interest and experience. q Adventure This list includes deep water q Barges & Canal Boats cruising as it should be part of q Canoeing your Cruise Sails Plan. Each q Deep Water one of these nautical vacations q DIY Yachts can result in a high revenue q Freighters generating niche if you focus, study and claim it as your own. q Kayaks q Lake Boats Rafting a Nepalese river is not q Luxury Cruises The image above was shot February 1968 off Japan a cheap weekend. Sailing on q Motor Launch after a storm. Remember to use your own images for working boats will cost your “been there, sailed that” credibility. q Private Yacht clients $5,000 and up per q Rafting person. Adventure sailings q River Cruises with such companies as GAP, One thing you’ll want to do is this: ask your cruise q Schooners National Geographic, Quark clients how long they intend to cruise on the ‘big q Small Boat can go from $10,000 to ships’ and take a reading on their ideas for going q Steamboat $20,000. Is there opportunity here for you to marry your to a next level of nautical vacation. Remember you q Themed Cruises are trying to expand your nautical vacation own passion with a nautical q Working Vessels niche? product line. A typical move for a big ship cruiser is to try river cruising where the experience is much more Themed cruises such as those focused on dancing could be a personal. For those bucket list cruisers who really terrific niche if you have a client base to match it. The working do want to challenge their mortal coil, find them a vessels that sail ocean, lake and river are not cheap and the grade 4 rapid on a world renowned stretch of passengers go where the cargo is required. Freighter travel, white knuckle white water. given up by most travel agencies is alive and well and expensive too… chances are there’s not one agency in your Kayaking with Inui in the Arctic might be fun. For area selling this. If you have clients who think and live the knowledge loving client, book them on cruises adventure and don’t really care about that bottle of wine where guest speakers such as author Anthony each night or the Baked Alaska, then you might be closer to a Dalton talk about their lives and those they write niche that is exciting and tied to historically to the days when about. those that broke from tradition signed on those tramp steamers not knowing where they were going. Different times Don’t be shy about striking of course… however the escapism that goes with freighters out and going for it. Trying and working vessels is one‐hundred percent real. something different. That is your job. To find your How about pushing those gorgeous motor launches that ‘rent’ clients new and exciting for half a million bucks for the week? Now that’s a product places to visit and to you could sell. All you need is one group to fill the ship and to experience what the world split that fare of $500K – works out to $5K per person. of travel offers.
WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU HEAR THIS: “USING TRAVEL AGENTS IS EXPENSIVE!”?I am hearing this comment from the Then there’s the evening news where the anchor reels off bit consumer, the news on TV and also from and pieces from ‘brand new surveys’ that clearly state suppliers. When YOU hear it and read it you everyone is staying home this year. Well of course the anchor must have a come back ready to fire off in knows nothing, just reading and putting that well trained inflection in their voice to highlight the negative points. They the general direction of the source. don’t bother to research or check the statistics on world wide cruise activity, or where those Baby Boomers are travelling to – A recent trade magazine quoted a supplier so they just parrot the survey. They also don’t care about stating that travel agents are expensive (as a instigating a loss of revenues for the travel agency community. sales outlet) yet they do a good job. You show These surveys typically interview 1,000 to 1,500 people not a me any industry that wouldn’t jump at the true representation of what multi millions of Baby Boomers chance to have thousands of sales outlets that and retirees are doing when it comes to travel. actually cost the supplier nothing to operate, that promote a supplier’s product in advance of any commission and invest 50%‐75% of any MAKE YOUR VALUEcommission in running that ‘sales outlet’ and that includes advertising, emailing and KNOWN EACH DAYpromoting those supplier’s products AND EVERY DAY!boosting their brands. Then there’s those consumers who preach travel agents are too expensive, it can all be done online. So what will you do or Remember when the airlines cut commissions to say the next time you hear or read these comments? Try this: 5% then zero. A group of travel agents decided to calculate the outcome to one offending airline if Suppliers: Call the chief, the boss the prez! Ask him or her if all agents stopped selling that airline for 90 days. they want to continue receiving your business. Remember, you Well you know the answer. With no revenues own your own business and you have choices too. For home‐from travel agents and with billions of yet to be based ask your host agency to speak directly with the supplier. redeemed frequent flyer points… the airline involved would have been out of business. There Television / Radio: Call in or send an e‐mail and challenge their would be no way for them to install ATMs or hire statements and back up your statements with facts that people staff or open offices in every State, Province or are travelling. Get yourself interviewed and go for gold. small town or village quick enough to sustain the cash flow. So… the value of using a travel agent Consumers: Best not to challenge directly, but to respond with from a supplier’s point of view – HIGH! A 5% to statements and promotions as to why travel agents are well 10% sales commission or cost‐of‐sale to the worth that fee. supplier… CHEAP! Social Media: Get the buzz buzzing. Send it viral. Put a call out Remember a certain cruise line that actually – is anyone travelling overseas? advertised ‘don’t use travel agents – book direct’? How about the Australian travel At the same time, be sure to keep selling your value and what insurance company that did the same thing? you do for your clients AND the dangers of not using your Well they didn’t do too well after that. services.
FOR ALL TRAVEL AGENTS LOVE TO TRAVEL AND LONG TO WRITE? Find out how you can profit from your travel experience, how you can attract new customers, more groups, publicity and even offers of travel! Over 75 minutes of tips, tools and techniques that will point you in the WRITE direction. MAKE TRAVEL WRITING YOUR NEW BUSINESS GENERATOR FOR 2011HERE’S SOME OF THE TOPICS: SATURDAY JULY 30thq How Writing Can Boost Your Travel Agency Sales q Simple Blogging, E-Books & Press Releases q Creating Chatter & Buzz Through Twitter TIME: 10 A.M. PACIFIC q How To Create An Agency E-Magazine DURATION: 75 MINUTES q What To Write, When And To Whom INCLUDES: WORKBOOK + q Travel & Writing - A Dual Career 30 MINUTES FOLLOW UP q Selling Your Niche Articlesq What Editors Want FEE: CAD $45 + Taxes q Involve Your Agency Team! WEBINAR LEADER: STEVE CROWHURST, CTM, AUTHOR, COLUMNIST, SPEAKER Audio will be VOIP – you can listen through your headset or speakers.
The FRONTLINE! Where it all happens. Where the sales are made. Where the excitement is. Where DAZZLE is the name of the game! ARE YOU DELIVERING DAZZLE! IS YOUR SERVICE SO BRIGHT YOUR CLIENTS HAVE TO WEAR SHADES? WELL “WOW! THAT WAS GOOD FOR YOU! FOR THOSE SOME DAZZLING READERS WHO WANT TO UP SERVICE I JUST THEIR DAZZLE… READ ON. RECEIVED!” Delivering service that DAZZLES requires a couple of things to be in place. First it should be understood that there are two customers that need to be well serviced and they are the ‘internal customer’ that would be you and your fellow agency team members and then there is the ‘external customer’ and they would be your clients. If the internal customer is not happy – then there will not be too much DAZZLE happening on the frontline. So, you need to DAZZLE both your team mates and those other customers who pay the fees, bills and put that food on your table. Selling The Invisible client heads to the airport. How they are treated at Many times you will hear the words tangible and the check‐in, and by the Flight Attendant when intangible applied to what you sell. The definition of an boarding the flight, the take off and the in‐flight intangible is this: “that which cannot be assessed, felt, service etc., everything you sold, has now become measured, or moved because it has no physical substance” tangible to the traveller. And there’s more! The and there are more definitions that this one – however hotel you suggested – the lobby, the welcome, their this one suits the purpose of the article. There is a point room, the first sleep… what you sold, just became when travel becomes tangible and there is a point when tangible. You get the picture. The DAZZLE in what service itself becomes tangible too and both, in fact, can you do happens when what your client experiences be felt and measured. The definition, when applied to the exactly what you told and sold. frontline sale refers to the sales process when you are talking about the trip to the customer. This step in the Of course you have no control over the weather, or sales process is called ‘Selling The Invisible’. the level of service your client will receive along their journey. In actual fact, it takes hundreds of The components of the trip you just presented and sold, people to be on their game at each and every become very real and extremely tangible as soon as your interaction with your clients if your clients are to return DAZZLED with the vacation you arranged.
It takes hundreds of people to be on their game at each and every interaction with your clients if your clients are to return DAZZLED with the vacation you arranged. Service does not come in various widths, sizes and degrees. Service at it’s best, is simply 100%. That’s it. Excellence is not 110%. Excellence is 100%. Excellence is not ‘going the extra mile’ – that extra mile is included in the 100%. 2. Your focus must always be on the suppliers and products To truly DAZZLE a customer with your service, all you have that make up your agency’s marketing plan. No use being an to do is deliver what you are supposed to deliver and what expert on anything other than what your agency is selling your client is expecting – YOUR BEST. That ‘best’ must then and making money on. Of course in your spare time you can be at the level of Excellence or 100%. become a specialist in anything you choose if there is an opportunity for you to strike out and do nothing but sell your Now it’s true to say that most customers (that’s you and me specialty. too!) are used to poor service and middle of the road 3. Reading business books written by the worlds best service. Anything above reasonable service is a bonus. companies is your next step. Once again too few if any WOW! Your clients would feel like a Million Dollars if they frontline counsellors actually read business books – do this received service at the DAZZLE level. and you’ll be even further ahead of your competition. Off to the book store you go and be prepared to invest in yourself. Books are not cheap. There are service books by Nordstrom – one is called “Fabled Service”. Then my favourite, “The Ten Demandments” by Kelly Mooney. All the books by Harry Beckwith are a must read. Start with these. Read them, share what you learn with your manager, ask to be coached to be best. 4. The next step in your plan is to be ‘well informed’. Sounds simple – and it is. When you are well informed, this means you are on the cutting edge of local to world events. It means you watch the morning and evening news online or on TV. You catch the major headlines, you know the world As the graph depicts, if you cannot find it in you to deliver weather this week. You can anticipate. You can factor in. You service excellence, then best you either stay home or learn your craft. No use turning up to offer Yawn Level service is are just on the ball, top of your game. You know what’s going on in the world you sell. there? So if you plan on DAZZLING your clients you’ll need a plan and a pair of shades to get there. Here we go: 5. You’ll watch travel programs online or on television – from Rick Steves to National Geographic. You’ll be subscribed to all RSS news feeds that will deliver the news you need into THE DAZZLE PLAN your inbox. You’ll arrive at the agency early each morning so you can relax with a coffee and review those news feeds. By 1. Everyone talks about product knowledge however few 9am – you would be informed, well read, in the know, up to frontline counsellors if any have actually gone the speed, on your game and ready to deliver service at the only distance to truly study their preferred suppliers. If you acceptable level – 100% and DAZZLING!. do this, you will rise head and shoulders above the competition. To be the best means you have read the main brochures from cover to cover. You know the Don’t forget, when you can deliver DAZZLE your fees content, the main features, the minimum age, the go up. Clients will pay you more to receive your insurance coverage, deposit requirements and which DAZZLING service because up until they met you – hotels are closest to that special café. they’ve been paying fifty‐bucks for poor service!
DON’T DO IT ON THE CHEAP! BUILDING A BUSINESS YOU CAN BE PROUD OF MEANS INVESTING IN YOURSELF AND THE TOOLS THAT WILL HELP YOU MAKE A MILLION BUCKS. The life‐cycle of a new home based agent is not that long it seems. Some stay in the business only a few months, others struggle for a few years before giving up and leaving I’m looking for real‐time challenges that stop you from the industry. Quite often the response to my being the best you can be. Be sure to include your email question “Why?” is something between – and website links. Thanks! “There’s no money in this business…” to “I can’t generate any sales.” Digging further I find that there has been little investment in If you have no other options re developing a website then I’ll sales training, they are using old or borrowed point you in the direction of www.weebly.com – it’s a DIY program with excellent tools and if you need help or wish the software, no digital tools, a lack of marketing Weebly team to create your website – for a few hundred bucks know‐how and a website that to put it you’ll get a pro site. politely, sucks! For my home‐based followers then – here’s how “we” can correct this To the statement “There’s no money in this business…” problem and re‐focus, re‐build and re‐energize Well of course we know different. There’s plenty of money to a career in the best industry in the entire be made in the travel business – it just doesn’t come walking in world! these days. Not only that, there are thousands of well travelled long term travel agents in the trade that a new home‐based Okay. First things first. A website is expected today. agent must try to out market. That’s going to be tough unless It’s not a luxury. A quality website is considered the new HBA has travelled to more than 30 countries and has a traditional marketing – it’s no longer a new fangled specialty, a niche market that few if any agents offer. thang. It’s in the box. Got to have one and when you have it, it has to work for you. So that means “I can’t generate any sales…” excellent imagery, great writing, superb headings As with any business that thrives on sales and travel is a sales and titles. You know what it’s supposed to look like. industry, it’s a numbers game pure and simple. The more people you talk to, email to, market to, the better the response If you are using a template provided by your will be and the more sales you will make. Popping off a couple hosting agency / group then you’ll need to tap into of e‐mails each day will not do it. Chatting with people you the web master’s knowledge and stand firm until already know, won’t do it. You need to invest in a marketing your website looks like a professional job. There are campaign and perhaps also buy into a local mailing list. A good rules to creating a website and the first rule is to old traditional ad in the local rag can also go a long way – decide what you want your website to do for YOU. however a one shot event will not get the job done. A repeat Based on your response, your web master can help ad will go a lot further in building recognition for you. you create the site you need and want. There’s also a lot more you can do – here’s a few ideas:
If you want to meet more people than you are right now, you’ll have step outside that ole comfort zone and strut your stuff to an audience of say 20 to 50 people. Some new HBAs make the mistake of going to senior homes to entertain the dear souls who are there. The trouble is these seniors are not travelling. You can still visit seniors homes and chat with them and you do that for a different reason. This is not a selling situation. You must sell yourself as a speaker, a presenter and you must pay for a professional publicity shot of yourself versus having a buddy shoot a picture of you on their cell phone! Not good. Next, invest a few hundred dollars in the best venue for your event. A hotel can offer whatever you want and need. A library can too and for much less. There are other venues such as museums and art galleries too. When you use these Good evening everyone… are types of venues you can use wording such as The ART of Travel. If you have an adventure niche you would go with: you ready for a trip of a The ART of Adventure Travel. lifetime? Learning to Present Not everyone can stand up in front of a room full of people and speak. So if you can do this, you will be ahead of the local game as so many travel agents seem to shy away from the public speaking business‐building activity. Presentation Tools You may need to purchase your own LCD projector ‐ plan on spending $500 + but not too much more. You will need If you want to sell a million dollars of travel you’ll a laptop and as you know, a mini 10” laptop can be bought need to sell high‐end products. No use working in for under $300. the two for one cruise market, or low cost air travel. You’ll need to seek out the products that sell for fifty PowerPoint grand and up. That would be luxury cruises. High This program can be purchased as a stand alone software end safaris. Hotels that sell for $10,000 a night. or if you buy MS Office it will be included along with MS Imagine you are selling this type of travel product Word and Outlook. The thing about PowerPoint is that so and imagine your customer list and who they are. many people know how NOT to use it. So, here’s where Now look in the mirror. Do YOU look like a million you’ll need to invest in some training and learn how to bucks? Hair, clothes, style… are you in the game or create a fantastic PowerPoint that will capture your what? If you need a makeover – invest in yourself. audience’s attention. Git ‘er done and come out selling. Presentation Style What is one‐million in sales anyway? Try 33 At this stage you have all the tools you need to deliver a trips valued at $30,000, OR two world cruise terrific presentation. Your presentation style is all important. Once again invest in training that can improve cabins at $500,000, OR… thirty three hundred your presentation skills. Be humourous not funny. Be well air bookings at $300 each!! Stick with the informed not boastful. Deliver quality information and high‐end, live long, travel, spend your learn how to ask for deposits. commissions!
THERE ARE OVER 350 NICHE MARKET ACTIVITIES IN THE TRAVEL & TOURISM INDUSTRY, NOT TO MENTION EACH AND EVERY COUNTRY, BEACH, LIFESTYLE AND MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BEING A NICHE. MY QUESTION IS: HOW CAN THERE BE SO MANY FASTEST GROWING NICHES? SOME FACTS AND FIGURES AS TO WHY MIGHT HELP ‐ MIND YOU A NICHE MOVING FROM 2 SALES TO 15 WOULD LOOK IMPRESSIVE IN ANY LANGUAGE. LET’S GET PAST THE FLUFFY COMMENTS AND GO WITH THE TRAVEL PASSION THAT CAN REALLY DRIVE YOUR SALES. Let’s go with weddings and honeymoons. According to most trade press… Medical Tourism is one of Divorces are down – it’s no longer 1 in 2. the fastest growing niches. Just caught a glimpse about Minority Marriages are up and still happening and yes Travel also being fast growing. Cruising is always growing, at there’s a whole bunch of young people working least in the number of new builds… and Eco‐Tourism, Green their way towards getting married. So the Tourism, Sustainable Tourism (so many labels for this one) also client base is there for many many years to growing, and fast too. So what’s a travel agency owner to do come. The niche within such a niche could be when trying to plan the next step for increasing revenues? So the wedding destination. Most North American many niches, so little time! Here’s a couple of ideas. agencies are flogging the Caribbean, European agencies have all those historical sites to focus #1: Forget all you read about every conceivable tourism ‘this on, then there’s the extreme version as in & that’ being the fastest growing. Concentrate on what you Bungy Weddings, Snorkelling I Dos and then know and love. Now, if you don’t actually have a travel passion, there’s the Ice Hotel or that old motel up in be it a place, a route, a travel style, destination or activity then Inuvik or perhaps try a cultural wedding in hold on – we’ll get to your challenge in a moment. For those that Japan. Kyoto perhaps and a room costing ten do – that’s all you need to build your niche. Mind you, you really thousand dollars a night! Now that’s a niche! must know your niche well. If there’s a thousand things to know about your niche – then you must know them all. It’s much more fun to sell your own travel passion than an unsubstantiated fastest #2: For my no‐niche readers ‐ it’s hard to imagine that growing. Build your own niche and enjoy! anyone in the travel business not having a particular travel passion. If it’s true that you don’t, and you feel you need a niche, “My niche is panning then it will be a cold hearted business decision – and that’s okay. for gold tours! I even It simply means studying which niche is actually the fastest sell small gold nuggets growing and then deciding if you can actually sell it. if my customers don’t strike it rich! There’s riches in them thar #3: The Niche Within The Niche is where you might want to niches within the look. That’s right. There are riches in the niches within the niches, that’s for sure!” niches and yet few agents look further than the original niche.
On this page we enhance the sales relationship between supplier BDMs and the travel agent. Outcome: faster, quicker, larger, higher revenue sales!SO WHAT DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH YOUR AGENCY ACCOUNTS AND WHAT DATA DO YOU HAVE THAT YOUR AGENCY ACCOUNTS CAN ASK FOR? Here’s the difference between making a sales call and making a call for sales. Your job is to help your agency accounts sell more of your products and services. To make sure that happens you’ll need to advise your agency clients about a few facts and figures that they can use to make informed marketing decisions. So what do you have that you can pass along and obviously with the blessing of your Director of Sales? Their Figures Compared to Others These statistics are always a heads‐up and jolt in the revenue wallet if the agency you are calling on is lagging behind the rest of the agency community. It could be they are not interested in selling ‘that’ particular product or destination or it could be they don’t know how, and yet again, it could be they just were not aware of the sales going on around them. The fact you mention it could be the wake up call they needed and you might just have helped them prevent a loss of business if their clients are actually migrating to the competition to buy what their agency isn’t offering. Boosting Their Sales Through Data When you have the statistics in your hands it’s an easy step to show your agency account how to boost their sales of this specific The Sales Plan product that everyone else is selling. The first thing to disclose is It’s been mentioned many times in the past, the seasonality of the bookings. Here you caution your account as that as a BDM you should be able to work side to when the bookings happen and when they taper off. Then, by side with your agency owners and build looking at the calendar you can advise “Now is a great time to yourself, as in your company, into their sales advertise…” and encourage the owner / manager to invest and if plan. This is an art form as many owners would you have a co‐op plan in place, now would be the time to put that be suspicious of your intentions. Some however on the table. will jump at the chance to have your expertise on their side and so these are the agency If the ‘season’ is over, then you would counsel your account to owners and managers you work with first. hold off – then you help them plan for next time – blocking time and money for when they should launch their ad campaign. With that done – you can move onto other products and destinations Remember the BDM Mantra: that they can sell now, today, this week. This Data to Dollars “If I can’t sell it to them… technique is a sales booster for you and your account. they won’t sell it for me!”
GUEST ARTICLE by: Steve Gillick, CTM President & COO, CITC. email@example.com It wasn’t the radiation scare, the concern about eating raw With the recent nuclear calamity in Fukushima, seafood, the myth about the cost of hotels or taxis or any there is concern with travellers about how the potential language barrier that was deterring this traveller from situation will affect them in terms of the air visiting Japan. It was the crowds. “I understand it is so crowded they breathe, the water they drink and the food there all the time and I don’t think I could handle that”, she said. they eat. These concerns are usually not “Obviously Japan is not for me”. something the traveller will hide from the travel agent—we call them ‘articulated concerns”. But Myth‐conceptions about a destination can be a major roadblock it is the ‘unarticulated” that cause the damage. for the traveller who would love to visit a particular destination but has, in fact, handcuffed themselves against even considering The number one unarticulated concern for all travel to that place. Myths can also pose as roadblocks to the travellers? What are the bathrooms like? travel agent who just doesn’t understand the traveller’s Followed closely by, where will I sleep? So a reluctance to even consider the suggested destination. The old travel agent, in selling Japan to the first time sales adage is “give them what they want”. If a client lists all the visitor, has to keep some of these issues in benefits that Japan would provide but then turns off when you mind. If the client does not raise them, then it’s say “Aha! Japan seems like the place for you to travel this year”, up to you. then you need to re‐think your fact‐gathering strategy and probe a bit more. So let’s get started. Nuclear Concern: Fukushima, where the nuclear As far as radiation exposure is concerned, current reports indicate that reactor melted, is 238 Km (148 miles) north east of radiation levels are no greater than travellers would find anywhere else in Tokyo. Travellers could not visit Fukushima if they the world. There are some ‘hot spots” identified in various areas (eg wanted to as there is a 30 km safety zone around Adachi‐ku—which is north of downtown Tokyo) but even in these areas of the site. Most travellers will be flying into Narita concern the rule of thumb is to wash your food and take showers after airport, just outside of Tokyo, or into the new being outside for long periods. This tends to negate any effects of radiation international facilities at Haneda Airport, which is dust. Again, we are talking about areas where tourists don’t normally even closer to downtown Tokyo. Most tourist congregate. activities are in the Tokyo area with day or overnight trips to sites such as Hakone (hot Lesson #2: World situations can change at a moments notice. This may springs), Nikko (the elaborate shrine and affect visa requirements or health issues or safety concerns. Travel mausoleum of Ieyasu, the founder of the powerful agents should be aware of what is happening, and check travel advisories Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th Century). and updates on health and also visit other ‘travel intelligence’ sites. This Travellers usually include Kyoto and Nara on their is part of the expertise and preparation you bring to the sales equation. itinerary and some go as far west as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All these destinations are south and west of Tokyo. “…having just returned Lesson #1: In selling Japan (or any destination, for that matter), know your geography! from my ninth trip in Remember when the SARS epidemic hit Toronto June 2011, I can attest and all of Canada was painted with the SARS do‐ to the fact that the food not‐travel brush. Travel agents were incensed that all of Canada was being treated as if SARS is delicious, the sake is was everywhere. A reminder that agents should wonderful…” not commit the same injustice to other countries.
Airport Concern: The common myth is that it costs at Bathroom Concern: “Do I have to use a squat toilet”? A good travel least $250.00 to get from Narita Airport to downtown agent could respond by using the Jerry Seinfeld approach and ask: Tokyo. In fact, you might spend that much if you opted “Do you want to use a squat toilet”? Assuming the response is “No”, for a private car transfer. You can take a train to then you can re‐assure your clients that western‐style toilets are just downtown Tokyo for about $20.00 but for first time about everywhere throughout Japan. You can also note that unlike travellers with luggage to manage, the best option is to North American cities, public washrooms are free and in abundance take a $30.00 Airport Limousine bus directly to your throughout all cities (in stores, train stations, and on the street) and hotel. The time, with traffic is anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 that bathroom cleanliness is the norm. In fact Japanese toilet seats are hours. Haneda airport is even closer. A Limousine bus padded, some are heated, most have built in wash‐and‐dry functions will set you back about $10.00 on a one way trip to and some even play sounds of nature when in use. your Tokyo hotel. Lesson #4: Know Thy Client’s hidden (unarticulated) concerns. If you Lesson #3: Know thy transfer options! Remember already know that travellers may fret over the bathroom situation, that when you sell a destination, you are also selling then be upfront and address it for them—either verbally or with a confidence in YOUR ability to respond to all the FAQ or fact sheet that you have prepared in advance. Destination questions your client may have. Be proactive and specialists are those who not only understand what a destination think of a list of FAQ’s that you could be asked. holds for their clients, but they understand what their clients want to know about that destination. The “It’s‐too‐crowded” Concern: Now we are back to the Food Concern: So your client doesn’t like seafood. That is original concern. A client has travel concerns deserves a few not all they eat in Japan. Beef and chicken and noodles and more probing questions. Do they have demophobia (fear of tofu and salads can be found on any menu. Even Western crowds) or claustrophobia (fear of being enclosed in small dishes (and French and German and Italian etc) are in spaces) or are they simply under the impression that walking on abundance as well as good old ‘pub grub’. Of course for streets in major Japanese cities is like trying to squeeze through those who want to sample sushi and sashimi at its best, the stand‐up section at a rock concert—where you can’t move there is no place like Japan where the freshness and quality unless the 10 people in front of you move first? of the raw seafood (as well as cooked, grilled and fried seafood) is melt‐in‐your‐mouth unbelievable. Tokyo (as a case in point) is simply not that crowded. Yes there are 13 million people in the city—but it’s a big city. Yes there are Lesson #6: Sales is a process where you determine your times (we call it rush hour) where there are lots of people on the client’s needs. Find out why they want to travel, what they streets and in the subway system and you will definitely feel want to do in the evenings, what kind of food they enjoy crowded. And yes there are major festivals at some of the eating. It may even surprise you to find some ‘foodies’ in temples (eg at Asakusa) where you will have to wade through your database—those who watch the Food Network and crowds. But this is no more dramatic than wandering through are ideal candidates for your culinary niche market trip to the CNE or the PNE or Calgary Stampede. Every major city has Japan. A good database management (CRM) system will rush hours. You avoid them at home—and you can do the same help you keep track of your foodies (as well as your when travelling. adventure types for hiking in the Mt. Fuji area or visiting the snow monkeys or tackling a rope suspension bridge). Lesson #5: A successful sale relies on your ability to deal with so‐called ‘objections’. In order to uncover those concerns, you need to ask probing questions—some open ended, some closed, some direct, and the more you sell the same destination (along with the experience you gather from your own travels to that destination) you will develop a list of possible objections that you can keep in mind, and these will help you ease your client’s concerns. CONCLUSION: The sales process can be a great platform for you to establish your expertise as a destination specialist. Every tidbit you learn about a country, every post‐trip report from a client, every webinar you attend and every article you read, becomes part of the treasure trove of great ideas that help define you as Read morean experienced and reliable professional. It is, after all, what you do with your education and how you apply it to service your clients that counts. Japan is an amazing country that has gone through a lot in the Steve Gillickpast few months. But having just returned from my ninth trip in June 2011, I can attest to the fact that the HEREfood is delicious, the sake is wonderful, the trains are running, the western toilets are flushing and at no time, day or night, were we pinned to the walls of a subway car due to excessive crowding. Stay on top of the destinations you sell and your clients will thank you for it in their travel evaluations and referrals.
THE ASSUMPTIVE CLOSE I’ve never really understood the fact that so many travel agents are reluctant to practice selling techniques. Mention role plays or simulations and suddenly there’s a cloud of dust, with over the shoulder comments coming from those hoofing it out the door, such as, “I have to catch an early flight…” So in the end, few travel agents ever truly learn how to close a sale. Here then is an attempt to explain the science of closing and we start with the Assumptive Close.The Assumptive Close is based on you acting as if the Principle Behind This Technique customer has already decided to buy. This is how so If you act as if something were true, the customer may many super sales people in the past and present well believe you. manage to produce the sales and revenue that they do. How it works If I act as if something is true, then other people around They assume, more so believe, that the reason the me have two choices. They can either assume I am lying or customer visited the agency or called in by phone was I am telling the truth. Generally, we assume people are to book that trip of a lifetime – not to just chat about telling the truth unless we have a reason to distrust them. the brochure. We have beliefs in the overall trustworthiness of others. How would you act and what questions would you ask Assumption is a part of creating a self‐fulfilling prophecy, if “this customer” was going? Well of course your body where your belief in something leads to it coming true. Not language would be forward and your face would be magically, but through the conscious and subconscious beaming and your eyes would be glowing and you actions in which you consequently engage. Thinking “I really need and deserve that vacation!” leads to fulfilment. would overall be 100% interested and engaged. You can even make that statement to your customer “You The Technique Behind the Assumptive Close: really deserve this trip don’t you…” and they’ll confirm Assuming the customer is booking you move the back, “Yes I do…” At this point you can use the Either or conversation from chit‐chat about the destination or Close: “Shall I reserve tour A or tour B for you, which one product to how many people are going, how many did you like the most?” seats, ocean view preferences, which deck, date of the tour… in other words you are locking in specifics. Now you practice until you can use this technique and apply it in all situations. “What will your friends say when they know you are travelling to Australia?” BUT THERE’S MORE… “I hope you have a nice camera to record this trip…” “How many seats should I reserve for you…?”
So that’s one technique. There are over 30 different FACE‐2‐FACE: Closing face‐to‐face is your best generic closes and it could be argued that not all opportunity to actually win the business. Your client would work when selling travel. That said, selling is will, or should follow your lead, meaning you are, or selling and closing is closing. The art of closing a sale should be controlling the sales process. To help you has been with us for centuries. Travel agents of days you’ll have every visual clue working in your favour. past used each and every one of those thirty That means you are watching the clients body techniques. Moving from one to the other, combining language, picking up on messages their facial this one with that one until the resulting outcome was expressions and eye movements are sending, and their money on the table. verbal responses too. If you present well, articulate the value of your offer etc., then answer the clients Somewhere along the highway someone said “Hey questions, you should be able to move to the point business is so good we don’t have sell!” Then there where you ask for the sale. “I believe we’ve covered was a loud cheer followed by a resounding crash a few everything you should know… and you’ve selected this years later as the economy fell off the mantle. Trouble tour… excellent, how will you be paying…?” This is the was – few could remember how to sell and even less Assumptive Close. mustered the courage to try. E‐MAIL: Some believe that the words in the email do If you are new to the trade and have a sales the selling. This is true to a point – and that point starts background make sure you keep that skill sharpened right after the client is attracted to the layout of your everyday. The closing technique changes somewhat email. If the email is jumbled and just rows of text that based on the selling situation and location. Face‐to‐ are tough to read… you’ve lost the client. So, make face with all visual clues available is the best. On the good use of bulleted statements. Use short and concise telephone – your voice and words are what the sentences and leave the flowery verbiage to someone customer is responding to. Email will make use of your else. You stick to a clear and concise presentation with ability to ‘paint a picture’ and through your words, a call to action: “ If this matches what you were looking attachments, design and layout of your email – will for please call me, or click here where you will be able encourage the reader into action. to purchase your tour online…” The client retains the power here. They can click away, delete at their will. PHONE: Selling over the telephone is based on your tone of voice and then the words you use. Once the client “feels” wanted, that you care and they like how you sound – you will gain their interest. This happens in a matter of seconds. Now that you have the client listening to your voice, it is your words, questions etc., that will move this interaction to a close. The only clues you have are your clients voice, intonation and the questions they ask. You’ll need to focus on each of these sound / audio based clues and determine your next string of words to keep moving the sale forward. Let’s review examples of the Assumptive You will be listening for their words and phrases where they might say, “ I hear you”, “Sounds good…” or, “ I Close in three different scenarios – face see what you mean…” or, “That feels good…” Here’s to face, in an email and on the telephone: how you can move forward to the close. Continued…
Continued… No matter how your customer processes their information there are a few more fundamentals that every person selling travel should know about and include in their dialogue with the customer. 1. Never ask for permission: If you hear yourself asking, “Would you like me to book that for you…?” use one of your feet to kick the other shin! Never ASK in this way – the customer will, most of the time, find a reason to linger, respond with a no, a not yet, a perhaps – or TUNE INTO HOW YOUR CLIENTS suggest they must first visit their Auntie in another country before committing. PROCESS INFORMATION 2. Always make the assumption they are Your client will often reveal how they process information and all it buying this one or that one and present takes on your part is to listen. your question this way: “Out of the two tours, which one shall I reserve for you?” AUDIO: An audio based client will say something like this: “Sounds Yes, you are still asking, however the good…” “I hear what you’re saying…” focus is now on one of the two tours – When you hear audio based responses you know your client is audio and nothing else. based when it comes to processing information – therefore you respond with: “Wait til you hear this…” “This is going to sound even Everyone has heard of the “Fries with that?” better…” “The price will ring true for you too…” question when at the counter of a McDonalds. If the question was asked this way: “Would you like fries…?” there might be VISUAL: The visual customer will utter words like this: “Looks good…” a 50/50 split re Yes and No responses. A more “I see what you mean…” direct “Fries with that?” will gain more “yes” The visual client can be spurred into buying through imagery. This responses simply by removing the words means you open the brochure to show images and with your finger “would you”. on the sunset you say, “Look at this, can you picture yourself there?” Continue on using visual based language. “This price looks about right Listen to how you engage your clients, study doesn’t it?” “ Take a look at this itinerary… what do you think…? their responses and the sales you close based on the words you use. FEELINGS: The customer who is kinaesthetic or feelings based will offer: “Feels good…” “Ah yes...” The client that is feelings based needs those same feelings responded CHECK BACK NEXT MONTH FOR to. When you hear the ‘feels good to me’ comment you respond with, ANOTHER CLOSING TECHNIQUE “You are going to relax and enjoy this vacation – I promise – how would you feel laying on that beach?” When you want to guide your customer and lead them happily to a closing situation you may want to study the art of NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. Here’s a book from my library that is excellent and there are many other books on the subject too. Search online for more information. A study of NLP basics will reveal hidden gems that you can use from better understanding their speech pattern, to their body language, you’ll be able to read their eyes and overall be better able to control the conversation. There are levels of NLP and we’re talking about the very basic level. At the higher levels, NLP is used by police negotiators in stand‐off situations. In a business environment corporate negotiators use NLP in various situations around a board room table to win, or lose, attain, give up… whatever the outcome is that they want. NLP is a fantastic sales tool – used wisely, it can help you grow your sales.
Adventure is where you find it, as you want it and at any level that your customer can enjoy. That means there’s a tour, a destination, an adventure for all ages and all customer profiles. When you are promoting an adventure niche, you should not only push those soft safaris, but also close to home adventures too. The extreme versions such as climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking in Nepal and if you are into it, the extreme expedition are also products that you as an Adventure Agent can sell. Most travel agents consider adventure travel to be ‘over there’ in a different country far far away. The type of customer who fits the adventure profile would normally be thought of as young, strong and very macho. That’s close – but not the truth. Here’s how you can increase your sales of adventure travel products. Photo: That’s me being a bloody fool (taking my gloves off for the picture) sitting at a picnic table in Canada’s NWT… the ice behind me is the Beaufort Sea. The mercury was down to minus ‘a lot’! Enough to freeze said un‐gloved hands! From my experience, there is in fact an adventure for all. I’ve seen, as you probably have too, people in their 70’s and 80’s who can bound up a cliff face with no problem and out walk the youngsters. There are family groups that include children and teenagers who also I’m sure you are aware of the movie “The Bucket List” and the overall like the outdoors and can handle it. implications it had on the travel trade. It was quickly taken on by so many of your customers as they created their bucket list – the list of One customer segment attracted to adventure places and things they wanted to do before kicking the bucket. product that is not generally focused on is the gay and lesbian client. If you do your research What you are about to undertake then is called BTD Marketing…. you will find that this customer segment is as Before They Die Marketing! What you will be promoting is that one last tough and as resilient as any other when it gasp at something awesome, chilling, nerve racking, over‐powering comes to adventure travel. and almost surreal. What could this be? To get to the ‘what’ you must ask your clients directly – like this: “So Steve, tell me, what would you So with that in mind, the fact that almost like to see, or do in terms of adventure before you die?” You could anyone on your mailing list is a prospect for an soften this a little if you cannot say the word die. Try ‘leaving the adventure trip – it’s now time to market. Never mortal coil..” – if that’s too Monty Pythonish… use the term Bucket believe that Mr. & Mrs. Cruise Client will want List. “So Steve, what big, got‐to‐do‐it‐adventure do you have on your to cruise every year. There is a time when all Bucket List..?” that fluffy travel needs to be purged from the system and ‘real travel’ needs to be If you are new to the adventure market, try, as mentioned, to create experienced. Also, when it comes to marketing a local product. Most countries can offer rivers, mountains, desert, your adventure product, you’d be tapping into forests… even herds of animals from wildebeest to caribou migrating almost everyone’s need to do something – look for that local adventure. Whitewater, trekking, walking… start adventurous, “BEFORE WE DIE”. somewhere and build up to K2! Adventure For All.
When you plan on using images to attract attention to your promotion make sure you go for the best photos or graphics you can find. The image you want might just be waiting for you somewhere on your supplier’s website. Also check out the websites of tourism boards and don’t forget to use your own images for that been there shot this promotion. With thousands of images shot every year by tourist boards and POWERPOINT is an excellent tool for suppliers there can be no excuse for using poor imagery to showing full screen images. Simply promote your business. Same thing with graphics. There are so many insert one image per slide and then travel graphics available either free or for a small fee. There’s also save the presentation as PPS or software you can purchase for about fifty‐bucks that contain thousands of PowerPoint Show. Set the settings as images. Make sure you tap into these resources and secure the best image playing full screen at a kiosk and for whatever it is you are promoting. you’re done. Save and send. When your client clicks on the attachment The OOH and AHHH of it all… – your PPS will open full screen. That’s the response you want to your images. Those sounds mean your Imagine if your customer has a 24” promotion just made contact with the customers travel gene. That “I gotta computer screen or using their flat go there!” response is usually preceded by the Ooh and the Ahh outburst. panel TV for viewing your promo. Then comes the click, the call or the visit. With PowerPoint you can also add When you choose your imagery, test it out and show a few people on the text, you can even narrate your street as they walk by your agency – or if you are home‐based, head to a slides or add music – so there’s the shopping centre and do a test there. You’ll need a promotional intro such image and supporting text and audio as: “Hi… we’re doing a response test to travel scenes… can I ask you to look and all of that is generating an image at an image and respond with what the images makes you think of…? Or that is worth a thousand clicks – words to that affect. Then you flash the image at them and check their especially if you ask each recipient eyes and facial reactions. to pass it along to their friends. You will get some WOWs and some of those oohs and ahhs… and then you You can also use Flickr and similar can ask, “If this arrived in your email – would you be inclined to click for photo‐based sites to upload your more information?” best FAM or vacation photos that truly show the area. Then you can You can target who you send which image to or you can go across the send the link out for your clients. Be board and monitor for overall response. One important thing to think sure arrange the images so that they about is the ‘delivery system’ you’ll use. You can email the image, post it flow, and keep the number to online and send a link, or you could use PowerPoint. With PowerPoint you around 7 or so… add a call to click can actually create a full multi media event for your clients to watch. and get ready to sell! Once completed you can also upload your PowerPoint to SlideShare and Brainshark for world wide viewing. Hey ya never know! Business can come from anywhere these days.