Sales coaches Bob Morrell and Jeremy Blake of Reality Training suggest ways of winning new customers and increasing booking value and frequency. By Pippa Jacks
Focusing too much on trying to win new customers is a mistake many companies make, according to the sales experts at Reality Training.
Sales coaches Bob Morrell and Jeremy Blake told agents at Advantage Travel Partnership’s conference in Miami last month that the secret to “geometric business growth” combines 1) winning new customers, 2) increasing transactional value, and 3) increasing the frequency with which your existing customers book with you. Here are their top tips on doing so.
“Pre-suade” customers by using one or several of the following:
Educate them with expertise
Impress them with a detail or fact that they are unlikely to know, especially if they have been searching with a price-driven mindset: “I must just point out that if you go there in September the weather is likely to be terrible.”
Give them a powerful statistic
Specific numbers and stats are more persuasive than “loads” or “lots”; “It’s interesting that you’re looking at Cuba; I’ve already sent 17 other families there so far this year.” Look at your sales figures for interesting numbers.
Use video or third-party endorsement
Don’t lecture potential clients about your own experiences. Use video content or third parties to endorse why what you’re recommending is so great: “Check out this video that a mum of triplets made about the fantastic kids’ club.”
Deploy the law of reciprocity
Give them something first. If someone enquires about Tenerife, say: “Let me send you the top tips I have written from my experiences in Tenerife,” or “I know this barman who’ll give you a free cocktail on your first night.”
Improve your follow-up technique
Don’t call and say: “I was wondering if you’d had a chance to look at that quote I sent across?” Instead, call with something new to talk about, such as: “I’ve found out there’s a fantastic festival taking place while you’re there.” Give the impression that you’ve done nothing but work on their holiday since you last spoke.
Improve your answer-machine messages
Tell clients when you will call back, with a specific time. Even if they don’t pick up next time, they will know you keep your word. Then the third time, leave the ball in their court. Say: “I’m not going to call again, you’re obviously very busy, but if you are interested, give me a call.”
Use killer questions
Ask them questions that send them on a holiday mentally before they go physically. “What’s the single-most important thing we must get right for your wife-to-be?” “What would you like to remember most about your first retirement adventure?” When you ask a really good question, people look up to the left to imagine that scenario.
Consider the products you could sell as either bronze, silver or gold. Sales consultants can get “stuck in the bronze world” because bronze is all they would take themselves. “You’re making the decision for the customer before you’ve even started,” says Blake. Instead, create a culture of “down-selling” not “upselling”. Start by offering gold, and then come down to silver if necessary.
To sell gold instead of silver, the only bit you have to sell is the difference in price: “What we’re talking here is £747.23 between you having a great holiday and an amazing holiday.” Other helpful phrases include, “I can understand why you feel this is expensive, but it’s not. Let me explain why this is such good value.”
Get your existing customers to book more trips with you by giving them excuses to reach the “outcomes” they want. Outcomes could be: having fun with the grandkids; having quality time together; recuperating after an illness; learning a new skill; or the satisfaction of a bucket-list trip.
Go to them proactively with an irresistible time-sensitive offer. “I know you always go with me once a year to Tenerife, but there’s an opportunity here for you to have a great value city break, and if you can get a babysitter you’ll have some time for yourselves.”
If a prospective customer calls and asks you to match a price, don’t immediately jump on to your system to try to better it. Ask these five questions instead:
1 What stage are you at in your search
2 What’s led you to seek a comparison?
3 After price, what’s the most important to you: quality or service?
4 What haven’t you found elsewhere?
5 What’s your price range? …And what about for something special? And for something really incredible?