In all honesty, making money in this business can be hard, but getting more clients isn’t always that difficult. Just hand out your card at a networking event and you are bound to get someone to bite. But rarely does that bite come in the form of a $20,000 Tauck Tour booking. More often than not, the new client will fish for free information, have a measly budget, waste a lot of your time and after all that, might even tell you they will be booking it themselves.
Finding clients that TRUST you, appreciate your services and bring you profitable business is not so run of the mill. In this article, I provide 10 tips for attracting the RIGHT kind of client.
1. Commit to marketing for the long term – as a travel entrepreneur, 50% of your time should be spent marketing and the other 50% should be spent working with clients. Many people are surprised by how much time I recommend you market. But when you don’t place such a huge emphasis on marketing, you end up executing a “shot-gun” marketing approach.
2. Establish yourself as an expert – my clients who are brave enough to pick a specialty and stick with it get the greatest and fastest results in upgrading their clients. Decide today that you are an expert and claim your expert status by giving good information, for FREE, as often as possible.
3. Farm – if you don’t want to pick a specialty, the next best thing you can do is to steal a well working tactic from realtors. The marketing approach that works best for them: Farming. In other words, select a geographically small, carefully selected target market and become the dominant player. And theres a really good thing about this strategy – very few people in the travel business are doing this – so you won’t have nearly as much competition as the realtors do.
4. Share Your Story – If you want trust, one of the best ways to start establishing trust is by opening up with your prospects first. Be willing to share your story. Get vulnerable. Go deep. Maybe you have survived cancer and planning travel helped you heal. Or perhaps you went through a humiliating divorce but eventually came out on top because you started your own travel business and found your independence. Share this with people. It is one of the most magnetic things you can do.
5. Create a marketing plan and stick to it – get your calendar out and commit to certain marketing activities on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis, quarterly basis and annual basis. Just get the calendar out and put items on it. This simple act can be so profound. Plan it out. For example, you could commit to the following:
- Daily – Facebook posts
- Weekly – send an Electronic Newsletter; Write 1 article and post to blog
- Monthly – Record 1 or 2 videos and post on YouTube as well as blog; Speak at 1 networking event
- Quarterly – Send a snail mail letter to your best clients
- Annually – Host a local charity event
6. Send a weekly electronic newsletter – I feel like a broken record preaching this, but so many people are not doing it. When done correctly, the electronic newsletter, sent weekly is the most powerful marketing too you have.
7. Joint Venture – Approach another business owner who already has an established clientele of the same people you want to be in front of. This is an important distinction – you want to approach a business owner who already has an established clientele, not someone who is also struggling. Open the conversation by telling them you want to help them. Here are some ideas of types of businesses you can approach:
- Restaurant owners
- Boutique clothing store owners
- Wine store owners
- Financial planners
Here are some ideas of how you can work with them:
- Offer to provide an article for their newsletter on a monthly basis
- Plan a joint function – i.e. like a wine tasting, and you can talk about traveling to the region from where the wine originates
- Co-host a webinar with them
- Offer a coupon they can give away with their sales
8. Send a warm letter on a quarterly basis – Your existing clients are the best place to start to get more business. Very rarely do people use snail mail anymore. Use this to your advantage and put a personal touch on it. Write a heart-felt letter to your clients, updating them on where you are in your business. Then ask them to help you grow your business through referrals. Hand address the envelopes to ensure it gets opened.
9. Pick up the phone and call people – You are in a relationship business and part of that means connecting with your clients even when they don’t need your services. Create a system where you commit to calling 5 clients a week. Your intent for the phone call should be to 1) ask them how they are doing; 2) double check that you have contact details correct and 3) plant the seed of a vacation idea … for example, you could say something like “John, I see you and Mary have an anniversary coming up in November. Have you ever considered surprising Mary with an anniversary trip to Italy? I would be happy to take care of everything…”
10. Volunteer – This is another way to nourish relationships. Get known in your community for something, whether it’s a charity event or being on the board of directors of the public library. Get out there and get known.
Go through this list and do as many as possible. Commit to these items. Make time in your day to get to it all because you will see results. Stick with it!