Selling is the art of closing the deal where the ‘deal’ in question is the exchange of certain goods or services in return for money.
We are not in the travel business. We are in the selling business. It just happens that what we sell is travel — travel destinations, travel products, travel services and even travel concepts. Whilst some lucky individuals are born sellers, most must learn the skill set and it is a set of skills that can most definitely be learned once one understands the concepts behind it and the psychology of why people buy in the first place. Like all things, practice makes perfect. So, here are our top selling tips. They are not the only ones. They may even differ from what other individuals or companies claim are the best or most effective tips,but they represent a good starting point so you could do worse than incorporate them into your own deliberations.
- Know your product/service
Know your product/service. You need to know your subject matter inside out and that means taking every opportunity to read up on your subject, whether that means brochures, books, magazines, travel articles, trade publications, tourist board marketing literature etc. The more you know, the more comprehensively you can address a client’s needs by answering all their questions and allaying any concerns that they might have. The ultimate product knowledge of course comes from visiting a destination or experiencing a product or service. There is never a substitute for the ‘real thing’ but comprehensive product knowledge comes a good second. Travel Centres recognises this fact by hosting weekly webinar sessions in conjunction with key preferred supplier partners.
- Know your client
People buy on emotion and later use logic to justify their purchase decision. Listen and learn. The single most important part of any potential transaction is the information gathering phase where you need to ask sufficient questions in order to build up a profile of who your client is and what they want.
- Never sell on price
‘Real’ selling is all about ‘features’ and ‘benefits’. You need to paint a compelling picture for the client.
- Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm and passion are infectious human emotions. The more genuinely enthusiastic and passionate you are about the product or service you’re selling, the greater the likelihood that the client will purchase.
- Don’t guess
If you don’t know the answer to some question, admit that you don’t. Clients respect honesty.
- People love to buy
People love to buy — but hate to be sold to! Sell what people want to buy and not what you want to sell!
- Pressure is an art
Practice F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) when addressing a clients’ objections or when, for example, articulating the argument in favour of using an agent over that of booking directly on the Internet — e.g. Trip Advisor rankings have been shown to be manipulated. Search engines direct users to certain sites based on browsing habits etc.
- Be truthful and never exaggerate
Don’t overuse descriptive adjectives. Complaints often occur as a direct result of over-selling rather than any inherent shortcoming in the product or service purchased. Under-promise but over deliver! Better to lose a sale if you’re not confident that the product/destination is suitable for your client, rather than rationalizing that a sale is better than no sale and risk compromising your reputation and integrity into the future.
- Don’t give too much away
Show a client enough to impress upon them that you know what you’re talking about and that you have the knowledge and expertise that they need and will benefit from but not so much that they will simply go off and book it themselves online. Don’t refer to specific companies or properties. Try to speak in generalities. Use FUD techniques to impress upon the client the pitfalls of doing it themselves.
- Don’t be afraid to close
Many people who are good ‘sellers’ are poor ‘closers’. If a client walks into your agency or calls you on the phone, you must work on the simple premise that they want to purchase something from you so don’t be afraid to capitalise on that assumption. Use strong closing statements like ‘How would you like to pay for that’ as opposed to weak ‘get off the hook’ ones like ‘Take these brochures and go off and have a think about it’! The ‘Pareto’ principle states that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. Make sure that you know who those 20% are.