So let me start by offering a reality check:
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made of the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
So how does this translate into your travel business?
Allow me to highlight a scenario:
1st contact: You meet a potential prospect for the first time. Perhaps you are at your local Chamber of Commerce meeting, you sponsored a Booth at a local fair in your community, or perhaps this prospect found you online. Or, it could be a referral from a loyal client. The point is that you made contact with someone whom you never met before. In your initial conversation, you speak about what you do and your prospect expresses an interest in how you can help them with their next vacation.
2nd contact: You speak to your prospect and deliver a quote on a vacation experience that is perfect for what they asked for and in alignment with their budget. After you deliver what you believe is a convincing presentation (either in person or on the phone), your prospect advises you that they need to “think about it” or “talk to their significant other” or they still want to “look around.”
Reality check: Travel Professionals typically get frustrated at this point because you likely spent many hours researching or looking up information to “wow” your prospect. Does this sound familiar? Remember, just because you present an option that appears to be exactly what they want it doesn’t always equal a sale.
This is where most people STOP the sales process or don’t pay attention to additional steps in the sales cycle. Getting a NO from your client can be a blow to your ego and for those of you who are new to the business it may cause you to question whether you are “cut out” for this, right?
Ok – so how do we fix this? How do we move forward in our business and not let a little “no” consume us or shatter our sales confidence?
1. Be aware. Remind yourself that on average the sale occurs on the fifth – twelfth time. Don’t beat yourself up if your prospect does not say yes right away.
2. Be Consistent. Consistency builds confidence, my friends, – in business and in life. Consistently stay in touch with your prospect in a way that is authentic and not “sales” driven. Too often I hear Travel Professionals say “I am going to email my clients and tell them about the latest “x” sale that “x” supplier is offering.” And when I ask the Travel Professional when was the last time they emailed their client (or called them) they say it was when the last sale or promotion was running for “x” Supplier. The moral of the story: don’t reach out to your prospects and clients every time you want to “sell” them something.
So now that we know the above, how can we move towards the sale? Simple. Keep in touch them:
3rd contact: A “virtual” hello! Make sure you are connecting with your prospects online. Here are a few examples:
A. Get your prospects and clients to opt-in to your weekly ezine (like this one that you get from Meredith!). They will read your high-content blog and learn great tips for travel. (By the way, this strategy is taught to you in the MMSTB).
B. “Friend” them on Facebook and “like or comment” a cute picture and/or comment on a post they made so you can stay top of mind. You should also ask them to “like” your Fan Page as well.
C. If it is a professional contact – connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a personal message.
4th Contact: Send a personal note! We love Send Out Cards (SOC) at GIFTE. This is a wonderful way for us to show our gratitude to Travel Professionals in our community as well as for Suppliers who support us. We use SOCs as part of our “keep in touch campaigns” as we believe in the power of “real” mail – like the kind that actually gets delivered to your mailbox! Here are a few examples of how to use SOCs or any card mailing system:
A. Send holiday cards
B. Send birthday and anniversary cards
C. Send “nice to meet” you cards after a live event
D. Send a “thinking of you” card
Side bar: if you want to learn more about SOCs – please email us at email@example.com
5th Contact: Pick up the phone!
Do you feel like your phone weighs 5000 pounds sometimes? You are not alone. However, how do you feel when a friend or someone you know calls you to simply say “hello” and to check in? Pretty nice, right? Make your prospects or clients feel special and call them to touch base. If you are feeling “stuck” in your business, in general, and are staring at your email inbox or phone waiting for an inquiry to come in – then my biggest recommendation I can offer you is to pick up the phone and make a minimum of 5 calls a week. Call your past clients, call a family member, call a neighbor – just make 5 calls simply to say hello! Don’t call because you are promoting anything….if you call to simply ask how they are doing, chances are the person you called will turn the conversation back to you and before you know it you’ll be talking travel!
So now that we know the reality of how many times to get in touch with a prospect or client before a sale is made, allow me to share a few additional tips to help you while you are in the middle of presenting the vacation option with the intention of making the sale.
Tip #1: Ask for the sale and ask often!
A common sales epidemic among Travel Professionals is that they forget to actually ASK for the sale. Even the most seasoned Travel Professional will often ASSUME that if they present the most amazing vacation option that is in alignment with their clients budget, that their prospect will spontaneous BUY. NOT TRUE. So, did you ASK? You can say, “Mrs. ‘X’, it would be my pleasure to move forward with this vacation for you, would you like to go ahead and make your deposit so I can secure this trip for you?” Or, simply say, “How would you like to handle payment?” There are many ways to ask – those are just two examples.
BONUS: If your prospect or client says “no” and/or gives you an objection – don’t be afraid to say “that is too bad that you don’t want to move forward at this time….may I kindly ask why?” Asking your client “why” is a critical part of the process as this will help you uncover the real objection for not moving forward. The sooner you uncover the objection, the sooner you can overcome it and make the sale.
Tip #2: Your client or prospect should be doing the talking!
Often times we talk too much….and in many cases our inability to stop talking may actually cause our prospects to NOT buy! So the next time you are speaking to someone with the intention to get the deposit or to make the sale – ensure you are the one asking the questions and that they are the one doing most of the talking. For example you can say:
1. “What did you think of that cruise option Mrs. ‘X’?”
2. “What part of the vacation option excited you the most?”
3. “Are you comfortable with that price point?”
Tip #3: If all else fails, make sure you end the conversation with a non-travel related question to ensure you are building a strong rapport.
Remember, not all conversations will lead to a sale. So if you are hitting a wall or being met with some serious hesitation from your prospect or client – relax the conversation and shift your topic to something personal about your prospect or client. You always want to be building and enhancing your relationships with your clients, right? It really comes down to relationships and if your prospect and client won’t commit to anything with you – then chances are it is not the actual vacation or the price…..dare I say…..it might be YOU. Perhaps they don’t feel entirely comfortable enough with you. The best way to combat that is to build a stronger rapport. Just slow down, ask them questions about their life in a meaningful and thoughtful way and then make sure you consistently follow up and stay in touch in a way that is pleasantly persistent.
Track your closing ratios. Every time you get an inquiry, track it somewhere and then if this inquiry converts into a SALE, then make sure it is ALL documented. Determine how many times you quoted someone vs. how many times they buy. That is your ratio. Even sales superstars don’t have 100% close ratios! The average is 20%!!! Sounds low, right? Sales are NOT easy – if they were, then more businesses would be successful. Understanding how often your clients buy or why they are not buying from you is an important piece of information. Knowing this can help you build your marketing strategies in the first place and help overcome your prospects or clients objections faster!
I hope you found this information helpful! If you want to stay in touch with me, please find me on LinkedIn:
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