Contributed By: The Travel Institute
If you feel that your closing techniques may be a little weak, don’t worry! You can brush up on closing and other sales skills through some education. Here are just a few of the practical tips that reside within The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate program.
To begin with, the term close is a bit misleading because it suggests finality or an ending. Selling occurs in a cycle. That is, after you’ve successfully led a customer to a buying decision, or closed the sale, the customer ideally should return so the process can continue. To avoid the connotation of finality, sometimes this step is described as motivating to action or obtaining an agreement.
The key to successfully closing a sale is timing and strategy. There are no easy ways to know when it’s the right time to attempt to close. But keep an eye out for your customer’s buying signals, or verbal and nonverbal signs, that indicate your customer is ready to make the purchase. Watch for these signs to help you decide when to attempt to close. If you miss your opportunity and oversell, you risk getting back the product you’ve already managed to sell.
Knowing how to close a sale can be as difficult as knowing when to make the attempt. It may not be as difficult as you think, however, if you have been leading your customer successfully to a purchase decision throughout the entire sales process. Every time you ask questions like “How does that sound?” or “Will that work for you?” and gain your customer’s agreement, you have moved the customer closer to the close of the sale. This strategy is called trial closing, and it is an effective way for you to test the waters and see how close your customer is to a purchase decision.
If you have managed to get your customer’s agreement throughout the process and have sensed strong buying signals, you must now try to gain the customer’s commitment to a purchase decision. There are many closing strategies, and it is difficult to recommend one over another. After all, we each develop our own personal selling style, and unique situations require unique approaches to closing the sale. To provide some food for thought, however, here are some tried and true strategies adopted by successful travel consultants.
The Direct Close: ask the customer directly for the sale.
Example: “Would you like me to book that for you?”
The Choice Close: offer the customer a choice between two options.
Example: “Would you prefer an oceanfront or an ocean-view room?”
The Assumptive Close: assume the decision has been made because of strong buying signals.
Example: “Will you be paying by credit card or check?”
The Urgency Close: offer to make reservation now while space is still available.
Example: “This cruise is selling fast. Can I make your reservation now, so we don’t lose the
An important — but often overlooked — step is recapping what terms you and the client have agreed upon. Although you may be repeating most of the same information, the client will be reassured that all details are arranged and that all concerns have been addressed. You should have a conversation like this:
“Mr. Smith, let’s go through this and be sure we have all our information together. Your limo will pick you up on Monday, January 28th, at 5:45 a.m. at your house and take you to Boston Logan Airport. Your American Airlines flight 3124 will depart at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time and will arrive at DFW Airport at 11:15 a.m. Central Time. You will have a two-hour layover in the Dallas airport, and your American Airlines flight 4567 to Cancun will depart at 2:10 p.m. Central Time. You will arrive at Cancun International Airport at 3:45 p.m. Your pre-paid transfer will be waiting for you outside the airport once you go through customs.
The name of the company and driver will be on your documents. You are staying at the Cancun Palms Hotel. You are checking in on Monday, January 28th and will have a beach-view room. Your checkout date is February 2nd. You will take the 8:00 a.m. hotel shuttle to the Cancun airport. Your American Airlines flight 8796 will depart at 11:02 a.m. and arrive at DFW Airport at 1:56 p.m. Central Time. You will have a layover of approximately 3½ hours. Your American Airlines flight will depart at 5:30 p.m. and arrive in Boston Logan Airport at 10:36 p.m. Eastern Time. You will catch a cab to return home.”
We hope you enjoyed these tips. They were taken from the Customer-Focused Selling module in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate program. For a more in-depth look at all the steps in the sales process, we encourage you to enroll in the CTA program.