After spending 2 days at Travel Weekly’s Cruise World 2011, and listening to successful travel agents and suppliers, I realized my path to crossing over 7 figures in sales is quite similar to other agents that have walked it. In this article, I share with you the 7 tips, each and every one of the 7 figure sales agents continually do in their businesses that I did in my business too.
The fastest path to going broke is believing you can serve all travelers. I have reinforced this message in almost everything thing I write or say, but it showed up as one of the most common factors to success when talking to other 7 figure sales travel agents. Pick a specialty and stick to it. A few examples of real life specialties that have lead to over 7 figures in sales include:
- * All inclusive vacations
- * Study abroad trips for professors and their college students
- * Cruise Groups
2) Know Your Product and Leverage Your Suppliers
When you know your product, two very important things happen:
A) Your confidence rises significantly and
B) Your ability to add significant value to your clients’ travel rises too.
A very wise person once said to me: “The rate you charge is a direct reflection of your perceived value.” Thus, if you are making less money than you think you should be making, it’s because you do not value your services enough. One of the best way to value your services is to know your product better. Invest in your education. And when you get that experience, use your suppliers. They are a wealth of resources and want to support you.
3) Ask for the Business
Without question, you must get you and your business out there. So many people get stuck behind the desk, but whether it’s online or offline or both, spend money, time and effort on marketing, relationship building and asking for the sale. This also includes reminding clients to refer their friends, family and colleagues to you.
4) Create Unique Experiences that Can’t Be Price Shopped
A common misconception is that clients are always looking for the best deal – ALL the time. This is definitely NOT the case. More often than not, clients are looking for the best value. When you create unique experiences for your clients, things they can’t find anywhere else out there, they can’t come to you with price shopping quotes. For example, one agent talked about creating a wine tasting cruise for her group. Most wine tasting cruises provide wine from one or two makers, while on the cruise. What she did was make sure guests would drink wines from the regions they were visiting, so they were able to experience a variety of wine makers, but the wine makers from the exact regions they were visiting. In addition, she included all shore excursions in her price, so the excursions were not extra. This is a very unique experience. When you create these, people can’t price shop.
5) Nourish Your Relationships
With the emergence of the internet and all the modes of communication possible, the way you make clients for life is to provide stellar customer service. This means, you must nourish your relationships BEFORE the sale, DURING the sale, AND AFTER the sale. There are lots of great tools to use to do this, but don’t forget physical contact like the phone and snail mail. One great tip I learned about for nourishing your relationships is Restaurant.com. Go on there and you can purchase $25, $50 and $100 gift cards, good at many, many, many nationwide restaurants, for mere cents on the dollar, when you purchase in bulk. For example, you can buy $100 gift cards for $7 each, when you purchase in bulk.
6) Embrace Change
There is a lot of cynicism around competition, social media, cruise lines reducing commission through NCFs, and the list could go on. The people that go broke are the ones that spend their time and energy focusing on these things. But the people that succeed are those that move forward and focus on solutions (not problems). It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have been in the business – change is part of life – so maybe it’s time to embrace social media or get your website upgraded or shift your focus and specialize.