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Published on Sunday, March 17, 2019

How to increase sales and earn trust from your clients

Simon Cox is a freelance sales coach and trainer who started his professional career as an actor before turning to directing for the stage. He then spent the best part of 10 years as a top seller and then sales manager for Trailfinders. Here, he shares his top tips on how to increase your conversion rates and win the trust of potential clients.

"In generic sales coaching you will often hear about 'pain points' the 'prospect' has. In travel sales I prefer to use different terminology. For 'prospect' I would substitute 'client' and for 'pain point', I would use the word 'problem'. So, assuming the client contacts you in the first instance, let's also assume they need help in solving a problem. I believe this is a good place to start to build a relationship that could last many years and ideally generations.

So how do you, as a travel professional, increase your chances of solving your clients problem? First things first: you need to hear and, crucially, understand what their problem is. In doing so you will not only stand a better chance of finding the right solution, but also help yourself in prioritising your workload. Let's face it, not everyone will book straight away and you can't help everyone that comes through the door. Ask them what the problem is and give them the time to express themselves. Have patience, take notes, and listen. In my acting days I would have used the term want. What does your client want? Ask them: how can I help, what can I do for you, how can I assist you? Do this as soon as possible and they will tell you.

Once you find out what they want, the next big hurdle to overcome is trust. Why should your client trust you? You need to demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart. Get to know them, find out about their life, what makes them tick, what takes them on holiday, what they're expecting to see and do. Explain to them that this knowledge will help you to understand about them and the travelling party, what they all want and like, and so help you find the perfect holiday for them all.

Keep in regular touch, even if you're snowed under. A holding message let's them know you're still working on their plans and you've not forgotten them.

When you are ready to present do this on the phone or in person where possible. This is your chance to demonstrate you've listened to your clients problem and highlight the value you have provided and what they will get for their money.

Always let them be the decision maker. Tell them: "I've quoted you on the ocean view room because that's what you seemed to prefer, but there are other options if we want to keep the budget in check."

Be mindful about the price. Until you give them the price they will want something from you. Once you've given it, you need feedback from them.

Make sure you let them know that you really do care about them and their experiences. The Internet can't do this, you can. When you are presenting an itinerary refer back to your initial notes, and highlight where you have added value to their holiday. This could be as simple as choosing a later departure flight so that the children don't have to get up at 1 o'clock in the morning to catch the 5 am departure.

Feedback, both positive or negative is a positive sign. It gives you a chance to explore further, fix anything they don't like. If you don't do this live and just fire off an email you may never know what they think and indeed they may take their feedback elsewhere for someone else to solve the problem.

Don't hide behind email. Our lives are dominated by digital communications. Get talking. If they email you, don't spend 10-20 minutes composing a reply. Pick up the phone and call them. A call will get you further in the information required, and build a more sound relationship for the future.

If they like it, ask if they want to book, or at least ask when are they looking to get it booked up. I'm always amazed at how many times I've heard the client say 'that sounds great', and the agent replies 'nice, I'll just pop that across in an email then'. Don't let the opportunity slip away.

Above all, keep it consistent. If you practice good practice, keep practicing consistently." 


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