One of the drawbacks of my profession is that I am frequently consulted when things go wrong. When companies, such as yours, realise that they have a problem, which may have resulted in a client complaint or grievance and disciplinary procedures. The next thought process is that “our people need training” to ensure our customers are satisfied and our working relationships are more positive. But is that the logical next step? I believe not. You can’t always throw a training solution at an organisational or management deficiency. Let me tell you why.
Many years ago I was the manager of a travel agency in the Home Counties and we had a friendly postman whom I shall call Fred. Fred used to book with us and one year had made a booking to Moscow – a rather less common destination in the days I am speaking of, but Fred was an adventurous kind of chap.
I was quietly nursing a drink at a recent travel function when I was approached by a young lady, also bearing a drink, and wearing a determined expression on her face. I didn’t recognise her and was slightly taken aback when she said, “Ah. I know you! You’re Richard English” I had to admit that I was, indeed, he, and apologised for the fact that I didn’t recall where we had previously met.
By Peter Marsh
Every enquiry is important but they all fall into one of two types, be they walk-ins, telephone callers or e-mailers:-
Lookers; possible customers, shopping around maybe but also they could be wasting your time.
Bookers; who definitely want something – you just have to find out what.
Each are potentially valuable, but what are the extra ideas that could convince them to book with you?.
Amongst the economic doom and gloom, there have been some positive and encouraging signs for the travel industry in recent weeks. According to an ABTA survey, 68% of people are prepared to increase their holiday budget or spend the same as last year to ensure they have something to look forward to. Almost half believe the break from routine and credit crunch pressures is a vital escape to maintain sanity! ABTA predicts that the average spend in 2009 will be £632.04 per person.
by Mike Greenacre, managing director, The Co-Operative Travel Group and member of the Institute of Travel & Tourism
I thought long and hard about what focus I should bring to this article - APD, Financial Protection etc...
But, like Dermot Blastland, I wanted to keep the pressure on to really focus on the incredibly important issue of climate change.
In my last feature I wrote about the importance of a good sales investigation and discussed some of the questioning techniques you should use when you are trying to uncover a customer’s real wants and needs. And once you have found out what your customer actually wants, then it is a simple enough matter to take a look at the products you have available to you and to get back to your customer and sell the product that most closely meets with your customer’s needs. Or at least it should be.
A saying I like is: “How you do anything is how you do everything”. Our life is a whole. We cannot expect to do well in one part of our lives if we are dissatisfied in another.
Over the last couple of years or so we have been looking at the business of selling to customers of what we called “The Sales Conversation”. Just to remind you, a sales conversation is not the same as an ordinary conversation. Unlike an ordinary conversation which can go in any direction and has no real purpose, a sales conversation has an objective – that of making a sale – and it has a structure.
When a customer walks into an agency, phones a homeworker or emails you there is normally a desire to purchase a holiday, cruise or other travel product. What is happening with the ones that get away? Were they serious? Did we offer the right thing? Somewhere along the line there isn't a meeting of minds. We haven't understood what is motivating that particular client.
There is a rather well known tale of two sisters and one orange. Both sisters wanted the orange and were squabbling over who would get it. What could they do?
At the time of writing, the news is not good. Some of our industry’s well established companies have announced staff cut backs and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) stating that training cuts will damage the UK workforce.
No doubt your company gives you excellent support both in terms of product and leads. Even so there is so much more you can do to make your business successful.
In my previous article I looked at personal attitude. Equally important, however, is your attitude to your business and your readiness to "think outside the box" so that you may not only survive but also thrive.