ACE 101 Sales Tips


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Distributed at the ACE Cruise Convention - we are delighted to share our 101 Cruise Sales Tips with you

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ACE 101 Sales Tips

  1. 1. Your Convention Take Away 101 ways to keep Thinking Differently Proud Sponsor of the Conference Take Away
  2. 2. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away Headline Sponsors Thank you! Thank you for reading the ACE 101 Cruise Sales Tips – bringing together the ideas supplied by ACE in conjunction with a collection of experts, travel agents and training teams from cruise lines. Media Sponsors We do not expect you to follow all 101 Cruise Sales Tips; nor indeed do we even expect them all to be relevant to you; rather we hope that you will select your most appropriate and give them a try. Some may not work for you, others may help nudge up your total cruise sales, some may even bring you great success and turn you into a cruise selling maestro. Official Sponsors The truth is that if we are expecting those holidaymakers who have for many years chosen a hotel, a B&B, a resort, a city break, a coach holiday, an escorted tour or a lodge for their holiday to ‘think differently’ about how they spend their valuable holiday time then it is only right that we also ‘think differently’ about how we talk about, suggest and sell cruising. We know it is the ultimate holiday choice, and here are 101 tips to help get that message out to potential cruise customers of yours. There are no guarantees of success. You are the expert in what you sell, and who you sell too; but maybe with a little help from the cruise lines, from ACE and from these 101 tips we can work together to remind customers of the unbeatable value and holiday experience that cruising offers. In fact that is pretty much what ACE is here to do. Offer our support, inspiration and training so that between us, as one industry, we can continue to develop and grow the numbers of holidaymakers thinking differently and taking their first cruise. Together we are stronger. Andy Harmer Director, Association of Cruise Experts
  3. 3. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away Price and Value Sales Techniques 1 Value is really important. Explain exactly what is included in the price, and do not assume that they know already 11 Ask questions – open, closed and probing to get as much information as possible before even starting the search for a particular product 2 Why not do a price-comparison against a land-based holiday with your customer – cruising wins every time! 12 Listen carefully and take in the mood as well as the facts of what you are being told 3 Break cruise pricing down to a per day price – it illustrates that for very little cruising offers a great deal, particularly when compared with land-based 13 Understand the brands and products you are selling – the more you know the more you can sell holidays and hotels 4 Do not forget to offer the upgrades, for example in balconies or suites, by explaining the value, what is included and if need be by how much the upgrade 14 Refer to the customers own experiences to help them build a clearer picture works out per day 15 Listen and acknowledge their preconceptions and do not judge 5 Never assume that your customer is simply looking for the cheapest deal – they are actually looking for the ‘right holiday’ – they are not necessarily the Point out both rational and emotional benefits to attract everyone. same thing 16 Rational – “The cost per day is under £100”, and emotional “Think of the wonderful views from your balcony of Barcelona as the ship sets sail for Monte Print off the latest deals and display them in your agency on chairs, brochure Carlo” 6 racks, foreign exchange counters, tables, windows… and hand them to every customer to focus them on the exceptional value on offer 17 Be aware of your customer and what is important to them Do not automatically reach for the discount calculator to get a sale. Selling on 7 price is not a long term strategy – remember that cruising is the ultimate choice for a holiday in terms of the best quality, dining, service and destinations 18 Build rapport and show empathy – an agent who has a full understanding of their customer, keeps their customer 8 Set up a cruise loyalty club to ensure that clients return to you in the future 19 Use open and closed questions to get the best from your customer – and allow them plenty of time to speak Remember that all of your customers are different – and some respond to 9 certain messages (like value) whilst others might want to know much more about dining, or facilities or just the ports. So highlight the things that are 20 Use active listening to acknowledge the points your customer is making to keep them fully engaged. And you should recap on their needs and wants important to that customer before looking for a match by recapping on the details “So, you are interested in a 7 night holiday, that includes the Balearic Islands, departing from....” It is usually better to pay a little more than you planned and get what you 10 expect (or more), rather than paying less and being disappointed with what you get Get Ahead with
  4. 4. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away Focus on the Customer Focus on the cruise Find out what your customers have been doing on their recent holidays – if it Minimise the number of brochures and cruise lines you offer, because you 21 was a Borneo trek then their focus is probably destinations, and probably those off the beaten track. In this case find a cruise to match 31 should not confuse your customer with too much choice; and actually if you asked enough questions then the choices for the perfect match should be limited too Are your customers’ great fans of short-breaks? Then why not focus on mini-22 cruises to whet their appetite for a longer cruise holiday. There are plenty of short cruises available from where some of Europe’s finest cities are within a 32 Talk about the destinations, they are a key feature of booking a cruise short distance. And don’t just think of short cruises from the UK – there are others 33 Keep the three key decision choice comments in the front of your mind – destination, value and service23 Ask loads and loads of questions – the more you know about what your customer wants, the better able you are going to be able to match them with 34 Remember that evening entertainment could play a big role in deciding on the the right cruise right holiday. Cruise lines run shows and evening entertainment that is often not available in the UK, and the choice of entertainment could range from west-end Try to recognise the individual in each customer – what are they really looking style shows, to circus acts, comedians, singers, dancing, disco’s, TV shows, karaoke24 for – and you are on the right track. Personalise the sale and the conversation to them. Often people give the best clues about they really want if they are just acts and so on. Imagine the cost of seeing this on land?! chatting! Dining is similar to some of the finest restaurants in the world – but without the Very often these people are travel ‘savvy’ – often they want new ideas, new 35 huge price tag. And celebrity chef restaurants are a great attraction by ‘foodies’. Bring these to life by showing the customer menu’s or by simply explaining the25 destinations and new experiences – they usually want more for less – and they usually want it faster and invariably with a smile choice available Do some research into the children’s facilities on cruise ships – kids clubs,26 If you do not keep in touch with the customer – someone else will 36 baby-sitting, child friendly excursions and so on. For families it is so important that the children are well looked after27 Get excited with the customer and convey that cruising is an ‘experience’ not an ordinary holiday 37 Give them a good understanding of the actual experience28 Talk cruise at every opportunity – it costs nothing to find out if they are interested “Have you ever considered a cruise?” 38 Sell up! By selling up you are educating your customer about the experiences that are included in the price Ex-UK cruising is big business for a reason – no airport queues or hassle, take Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – what information would you like to know29 as much luggage as you want, and the immediacy of driving to a UK port and starting your holiday straight away. So why not publicise the ex-UK sailings that 39 about a cruise holiday before deciding to book, how would you like the information presented, and what kind of questions would you expect to be asked are available, and offer the short cruises to tempt non-cruisers onto ships 40 Work with cruise lines to offer your customers ship visit places – arrange a small30 A great sales person builds rapport with absolute ease – take a genuine interest in the customer first and the sale will come quicker than you think mini-bus to the port, and ensure that you follow up after the visit
  5. 5. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away Setting the scene Talking Cruising Why not ask past-cruise customers of yours to send you photographs of their If a customer asks for a land-based holiday then quote them and then ask them41 cruise holidays, and set up a free page on a photo-sharing website (like Flickr) so that you can show all of your customers the kinds of experiences they would 51 if they would like a second quote that may offer them better value for money. You do not even have to tell them it is a cruise at first… have on a cruise Get involved with the National Cruise Week Afternoon Tea Challenge – 42 Listen to people’s own experiences – looking for the cues to move forward 52 it is an easy way to benefit from nationwide cruise publicity, and will be a great fun event to get everyone talking about cruise Use some stunning imagery of destinations on your shop walls, or in the windows, as a great talking point to get cruising as the topic of conversation.43 They may want to know where the image is of, and you can tell them about the Check out the big events that are coming up (cruise and non-cruise) and see if destination and how you can visit the place as part of a cruise. They may not even know that many of the destinations you could be using can be visited on a 53 you can use them as an excuse to talk about cruise. This could be a ship launch, a big sporting event, or a public holiday. For example, many used the Royal cruise holiday Wedding in 2011 to talk about honeymoons and cruising! Remember that you never get a second chance for first impressions. They Use a customer who has recently cruised to speak at a cruise event that you44 matter. Dress (and dress the shop you are in) to impress and inspire. The customer is likely to buy YOU way before they decide to buy the cruise 54 are holding, illustrated by their own images (and even video). We like to know what other people think (explains the rise in review websites), so use this to your advantage Promote cruise in your window but do not mention the word cruise45 – for example visit 4 Canary Islands, kids clubs, all meals, great evening Never miss an opportunity to talk to your local media about cruise news and entertainment, two swimming pools…. 55 cruise products – and this includes local radio, newspapers, free-sheets and many more. Aim to be the local spokesperson for cruise!46 Be a specialist – people want to buy from people who are credible Mention cruise to everyone who comes into your branch or calls you. They may47 Think about ready-made groups to give you a large number of potential guests. Dance groups, bridge clubs, win societies, drama groups, wildlife clubs 56 not have considered it, and may take your advice. They are likely to give you some feedback (good or bad) so use that feedback to better focus on what you offer and so on. Cruising is a perfect match them. You will get cruise bookings in this way – so keep at it Three generations travel – so remember that you could need to talk about Develop a small working / focus group of customers who book with you – take48 the facilities that appeal to young children, parents and grandparents. Of course cruising is the perfect answer to their holiday needs – so talk about how 57 them for dinner as a group and find out what the feelings are over cruise, up- coming destinations, likes and dislikes; and use it to improve what you offer the activities, entertainment, facilities and choice of destinations makes it a great multi-generational holiday Develop a ‘refer a friend’ scheme which rewards both the person introducing a 58 new customer to you, and rewards the friend. The reward could be a bottle of49 Think about those holiday makers who are ideal to switch to cruise: city-breakers, coach travellers, those that like the Med and Caribbean, those who champagne, an overnight pre-hotel, some high street shopping vouchers, years supply of chocolate.... want to go on a World Tour and so on... cruising is perfect for them – they just do not know it yet If you are quoting a customer for a holiday then why not quote for a cruise50 too, even if not asked for it
  6. 6. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away Ensure that you have enough platforms of communication that will appeal to59 all of your customers, whether through social media, email, print or even SMS Reaching out text and telephone Organise a ‘spa day’ for your top customers (particularly those with a high per60 Advertise in local doctors surgeries, dental waiting rooms, community centres, 69 person spend); invite along some cruise lines so that the conversation turns to cruising, and remind them of the pampering facilities on most cruise ships sports and leisure facilities. Ports and Destinations 70 Food is a great aspect of cruising that would appeal to a lot of your customers. Why not organise a customer dining experience for some of your ‘foodies’ or a cookery class to highlight some of the classes many cruise line feature on-board Learn about the destinations and ports of call available – particularly in our61 most popular cruising destination, the Med – and understand transfer times and what there is to see in the popular ports. It is a great way to highlight the 71 Why not contact a local radio station or newspaper to see if they would like to run a regular feature on travel using a local expert (you!). It is great publicity for positive aspects of itineraries, and demonstrates your expertise your agency and it will give you a great platform to talk cruise Have a quick reference guide to which European rivers are home to which Allocate some of your time to help a local charity. It will help raise the profile of62 cities and places of interest. Know your Rhine from your Danube so that you can talk with confidence about the opportunities that river cruising offer 72 your agency by showing that you care about the local community. Not everything we do should be about selling more – we need to be seen to care (which of course we do) Sell the destinations – this comes back time and time again as a fundamental Join local business networking groups or a local forum. Successful business is all63 reason for people cruising. Yes the ship is important – but sell the ports of call too, and the number of places they will visit (and still unpack only once) 73 about networking and buying from people we know – if you are not at these groups then you could be missing out Remember that for some guests the holiday can start before the cruise sets sail Look out for other businesses in your area to work with – all retailers need new64 – so look at pre-cruise stays, even in the UK. Visit Kent for example has great ideas before departing on a voyage from Dover 74 customer introductions so talk to other businesses about joint mailings, social media activity, events and other activity to create a platform for you and your partners. Good matches might be car outlets, garden centres, hotels, restaurants,65 Bring the destination experience to life by personalising it to your customer “You love wildlife watching, so this Alaska cruise...” spas, cultural groups and many others too. Why not find out what their dream destination is, chances are a cruise goes 75 Speak to a local college or university to see if they have students who would help out on marketing projects66 there either as a port of call, daytime excursion, or even accessible on a pre- or post- cruise tour – and it is probably more affordable than they think Set up a small amount of groups with cruise lines that you feel support you and Remember that some destinations are either only served by cruise ships, or 76 fit in with your client base. This way you can personalise and tailor a product to your agency making it exclusive.67 are by far and away the easiest way to see a destination. Think Antarctica, Think Differently Alaska, Chilean fjords, Borneo... with If your customers are really interested in exploring some of these wonderful68 ports and destinations then head to the Tourist Board websites to show them some of the inspiring places they can visit
  7. 7. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away There are plenty of reasonably priced experts that are available to help you with Objections and Extras 89 some ideas and inspiration – take a look at the ACE Travel Partners who have already committed to helping grow the cruise sector77 Have a copy of the PSA Safety at Sea Fact Sheet handy in case you need to counter any questions about overall safety Technology78 Bust those myths – remember that cruising is incredible value, and offers the best in quality, dining, service and choice. Nothing even comes close, so if you Todays’ technology will help you to find the right cruise, and using a professional find the right cruise they should have no objection 90 search tool will rapidly assist your product knowledge by searching all cruise lines in one go. The knowledge is there at your fingertips – and is there to help you Do not write off a cancelled booking – there may be an opportunity to turn79 it around by finding out exactly what the objection is, and responding to it. Can you simply change date? Duration? Be creative! Your clients want variety and something new, so next time they ask for a 7, 10, 11 or 14 night holiday then think cruise. That 10 night holiday could easily be a 7 night cruise with some land-based hotel stays either side. Package it80 Use language that attracts your listener, no jargon – jargon simply confuses 91 together to make a holiday that suits your customer – maybe a city break to start and puts doubt into their mind for those customers that are culture vultures, or a beach stay for those who want to fly and flop; and some of the modern technology providers software will let you81 Clarify to solidify your understanding package it easily at the click of a mouse! Don’t forget to offer excellent customer service by offering those important Use the best technology systems to help you create packages that no-one else is82 extra’s –overnight stays, pre-hotels, excursions, parking… 92 offering to give you a huge competitive advantage over other agents. By putting together flights, hotels and cruises into one special holiday you will have something bespoke to advertise and offer, and you will be standing out from the crowd83 Ask for help to do the best job – use the best tools available to you Listen to the music as well as the words to help you build the whole picture. Let 93 When creating your own package try to think of some special touches that will really give you the edge. Think of including some theatre tickets in Rome, a dinner84 people talk – the more you know the better you are to match in Barcelona, an island tour in Majorca, a spa retreat in Venice… something to make the package really get stand-out Using ACE and other resources And packaging with river cruises is easy too. Look at trains from London to avoid the hassle of airports, look at ferry journeys from the UK to Amsterdam, and85 Wear your ACE badge, and announce your ACE accreditation with pride – it may be the reassurance that your customer needs to prove to themselves that 94 even coach transfers to some European cities. Then let your imagination run-wild with what else you can offer – lunch at the Arc de Triumph, opera tickets in Vienna, a they are booking with the right people cycle tour of Amsterdam… there are so many options! Come along to an ACE Showcase where you will get the chance to get up to Use free blogging websites, like Tumblr and Wordpress to talk about your latest86 speed with a number of cruise lines and what they offer. Cruise is fast changing, so keep as up to date as possible 95 cruise, and encourage your customers to do the same (moderated of course!). Link to photo sharing sites, and even Twitter and Facebook pages. Whilst these can be time consuming they are also free to set up, and can be fun. They can certainly87 Many cruise lines now offer incredible online training resources, ship visits, and other learning support. Seize it! be inspirational and may just encourage a customer to try a cruise, and to book with you Attend the ACE Cruise Convention – it is the biggest networking and88 information event of the whole year, and you could just pick up some really valuable information or advice
  8. 8. ACE Selling Cruise Conference | 1&2 May 2012 | Take Away If you are going into social media for the first time, then do not try to do too Proud sponsors of the Ace Cruise Convention 2012 much at once. Start, for example, with a simple Facebook page for your agency 96 and keep it updated and engaging with images, stories and cruise news. Too many businesses try to be on too many social media sites and so can’t update them. It is better to have fewer sites that are well updated rather than too many sites that are rarely updated 97 Social media is about networking and relationships – it is not a forum for special offer after special offer. This will only serve to switch people off. THInK DIFFERENT THInK SMALLER,WARMER Take time to study your database looking at past and current guests. Where have they travelled, on what budget? What are their interests? Who travels with 98 them? Do they have a special occasion approaching? All of the answers to these questions will allow you to more accurately target them with a cruise holiday 99 that is absolutely right for them There is some great email technology available through such companies as Mail Chimp and Call Pro CRM that will make emailing your customers easy – THInK FRED. OLSEN a vital part of your strategy Smaller ships sailing from ports around the UK The ACE website is packed full of training, information, resources and ideas. to destinations worldwide 100 This new home that launched on May 3rd 2012 is your first stop for cruise learning and inspiration. But do also look at our Facebook page and other social networks where cruising comes together YOU ARE ESSENTIAL! People buy from people, and it is your experience, 101 your expertise, your personality and your enthusiasm for cruise that will make every difference in the world. But you are not alone. You have the support and the encouragement of the entire cruise industry with you, supporting you and working with you so that together we can ensure that cruising remains the most dynamic, exciting and engaging sectors in the travel industry. Thank you for everything that you do.ACE would like to thank the contributors and contributing companies who helped create thisdocument:Holland America Line Port of Dover And travel agent contributors:Seabourn Project Cruise Sarah Bolton, Travel CounsellorsDebbee Dale Development Conrad Alison Roberts, Travel the World 2Royal Caribbean International Brian Horden Elaine Hennessey, Co-op WorcestershireTraveltekCruise and Maritime Ann Brine, AMD Marketing Claire Riches, Travel Waves Marketing Marc Fitchett, Travel Counsellors 01473 742 424
  9. 9. Tunisia is full of surprises, delights and the most amazing contrastsProud Sponsors of the ACE Cruise Convention 2012 The Jewel of the Mediterranean