Congratulations – your Client has come to you with the most amazing request for an upcoming trip and it’s up to you to come up with an incredible holiday itinerary for them! If you’re not prepared and have not mastered the skills, you could see this as pretty daunting and could potentially lose out on a forever Client. Don’t Panic - We’re here to help guide you into this next step with ease and show you how to be a Superstar Agent each and every time!
Qualifying your Clients is not only the most integral step in selling travel but it is an important skill to perfect which takes lots of time and efforts to get into your groove! It can be a HUGE time-saver and also help you sift through the ‘tire kickers’ with those initial conversations.
So let’s dive right in and get started!
As Travel Agents, we LOVE sharing our stories, photos and experiences; all of which add to the conversation and increase confidence with your Clients. Although these are all very essential in the relationship building process, we also need to be mindful not to get too carried away with doing all of the talking and allowing yourself to hear what they are saying and what they are looking for with their upcoming trip.
It is absolutely imperative that when you have your Client sitting with you or chatting over the phone that you give your full attention and listen intently to what information they are sharing with you. From here you can begin to build a fantastic itinerary which fits them perfectly as it includes all of their needs and wants as they have described to you!
TIP: Listen and take notes
Once you’ve heard the Client describe in detail what they are looking for in their new adventure, it’s your turn to ask them specific questions to better qualify their trip.
There will always be some standard questions that you know and use with each appointment but it’s the additional special questions that will set you apart from the others. These questions will drive your inquiry to customize a perfect itinerary which your Clients will love and most likely go for rather than a standard list of suggestions that you share with everyone. Everyone is different so cookie cutters will not be sufficient and may result in you losing your client as you did not present them with options that fit their criteria.
TIP: Where have they travelled? What kind of holiday (beach, adventure, honeymoon etc.) Rough Budget (which is always hard to ask, but if they have travelled and knowing where they have been can sometimes get that answer without asking)
This is the part where you have to roll up your sleeves and really become an investigator to list what your Clients are looking for! It’s amazing how what people say is not always what they mean, so it is up to you to read between the lines and ask the right questions to find the perfect holiday match ups! It’s a great habit to get into by repeating back to the Client at the end of your conversation what you have heard and how you have interpreted that to mean. If there are any misunderstandings, this is a great way to get those straightened out before you get to work. Also, envisioning the holiday out loud with your Client and showcasing what that is going to look like will get your Clients talking and expressing more freely their visions and expectations on the holidays. This is a great way to pinpoint more closely the experience they are looking for!
TIP: Having your clients visualize is the best selling point
When presenting your information to your Client, always put the value at the forefront of your discussions before the price. You really want your Clients to be taken on a journey through your itinerary and see what their holiday will entail; this will allow them to fully embrace what you are offering rather than hear a price right off the hop and only focus on that. If you present your itinerary in a fabulous and intentional way, you can expect that most of your Clients will go ahead with booking the trip. Those that don’t, see first-hand how professional and knowledgeable you are and may come to you for their next holiday or recommend you to others.
Your Clients should never be surprised with a price as this should be something that is always a part of your qualifying questions within your initial meeting. It may increase slightly from their original budget or you may provide a Standard and Deluxe package for price variances, but it should never be giving your Clients “Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget” differences.
TIP: Upselling can be easier than you think. If a 4 star is $1400 and 5 star $1600 for 7 days; divide by 7 days works out to $28.57 a day pp. Clients tend to go with the 5 star and never look back.
If at any time during the qualifying process you are asked a question that you are uncertain about, it is best to be completely up front and honest with your Clients. It is better to let them know that you will find out right away and get back to them with the correct answers instead of taking your best guess, being wrong and then losing the trust of your Client forever.
When going through your itineraries with your Clients, always go in with complete transparency and setting those expectations in advance so there are never any surprises or misunderstandings before their trip. Go through all of the Terms and Conditions for all suppliers with them clearly as well as defining exactly what they should expect when arriving at the airport, hotel/resort, destination, and/or cruise ship. Your Clients should know exactly when you are sending their travel documents, what they need to prepare for before they leave and what is going to happen when they get there. This is where we as Travel Agents can really shine and share our value/experience with our Clients when preparing their upcoming trips!
TIP: 24 hour rule: If you are unsure of the answer let them know that you will get back to them within 24 hours.