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Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Top tips from a travel sales coach

Independent agents were given a crash course in how to clinch a sale at this year's Global Travel Conference in Orlando.

Travel sales coach Simon Cox, a former actor, director and Trailfinders sales manager, used synergies in his acting career to guide agents through different types of customer, although admitted these were just 'primary colours'.

The six types are as follows:

The Queen - nobody tells the Queen what to do, he or she knows best. This person requires a 'personal secretary' to provide all the facts but agents shouldn't be too pushy.
The Nervous Traveller - gets quite anxious about the strangest things, perhaps baggage or the departure terminal. Here, agents need to act like a parent, using all their patience.
The Honest Jane - straight up, direct, the most easiest of customers to deal with. This customer type often becomes a mate.
The Reluctant Traveller - this could be a 15-year-old son who doesn't want to be visiting churches in Rome. Here, agents must become therapists, ascertaining the root of the reluctance and finding a compromise.
The Deal chaser - the customer who always wants a deal (although that deal is relative). This requires agents to assume the role of Arthur Daley.
The Dreamer - the customer who perhaps might be dreaming of more than they can afford. They might require agents to outline the limitations.

Advising agents what questions to ask when dealing with a customer, Cox suggested:

Talk me through your plans
What kind of pace do you want the holiday to go at?
Have you been anywhere like this destination before?
If yes, what did you like about it?
If no, what are you expecting?
What types of experiences are you looking for?
What types of hotels do you usually stay in?

He advised agents to set time limits for customers to respond to quotes and to complete bookings.

Agents should highlight the reasons for their choice and make clients aware of any urgency, for example if if there are only a few hotel rooms or airline seats left.

They should highlight the elements they have found for the customer on their bucket list and demonstrate the personalised benefits.

Costs should be communicated confidently followed by the question: "How does all sound to you?"

"If the customer gives objections, don't panic. Just clarify what these are, explore alternatives, and present again," said Cox.

If the customer goes on to book with another agent or direct, agents were told to 'be humble'.

"Accept defeat gracefully, you've got nothing to lose," said Cox. "Simply ask them what you could have done differently to secure the booking and learn from that, with the hope of getting a sale the next time."

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