Written By: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
The latest statistics state that you only have between seven and 27 seconds to make a first impression in business. For both travel agency owners and front-line travel advisors, that is not a lot of time to share what you do or your passion for travel in order to gain new clients or form supplier partner relationships.
So, when seconds count—whether in meeting potential customers or supplier partners—to truly make an impact quickly, you must be able to clearly articulate what you do and the value you provide. Make it a positive experience, and a first impression will lead to creating long-lasting relationships for you and your travel agency. Here are a few of my tips to help you perfect your elevator pitch:
1. It’s all about passion. Your elevator pitch should include why you enjoy your career. Take a step back and think about what makes you happy, what motivates you and why you’re in the business. When people you meet ask what you do, shy away from just saying, “I’m a travel agent,” which really doesn’t say anything. Instead, describe how you make people feel.
How you describe what you do should express passion and the reason you got in the travel industry in the first place. The tone in which you describe what you do is also extremely important. Have an elevator pitch that makes people want to talk with you, because you sound genuine and have a love for what you do. People don’t want to book travel with advisors who appear clinical or disinterested. They want to hear the passion in your voice!
2. It’s all about outcome. Don’t focus on yourself but instead concentrate on what you can do for your clients. Make it about them. “I’m a travel agent, and I love to travel” is not as strong as “I help people make life-long memories” or “I’m a Memory Maker CEO and love to help my clients fuel their souls with travel.” Take time to know what’s important to your clients. Then, ensure you’re addressing these needs in your elevator pitch by emphasizing the value that you bring.
3. It’s all about practice. It takes a while to perfect a short, under-30-second elevator pitch. Practice, practice, practice. Remember, you’ll be introducing yourself and giving an elevator pitch in a variety of ways—by phone, in writing, in person, etc.How you speak will come across differently than how you write, so think about non-verbal inflections.
No matter the communication method, you don’t want to come across like a robot; thinking through it and rehearsing will help you zone in on the message you’re trying to convey. Some even suggest having a mirror in front of you as a reminder to smile and sound happy. And if you’re on the phone, standing up helps to project your passion. It may sound silly, but I’ve tried it, and it works!
It’s one thing to have a killer elevator pitch, but it’s just a bunch of words unless you do something with it. You’ve got to believe it and act upon it. Your elevator pitch comes down to knowing and delivering your value. This value includes taking care of your clients before, during and after their travel experience, as well as adding those small “surprise and delight” moments and keeping in touch.
If you can truly answer the questions, “Why would people want to book travel with me?” and “What am I doing to enhance their experience?” in a succinct and believable way, then your elevator pitch should help start building those life-long relationships with clients and valuable partnerships with suppliers. What you do to nurture those relationships is in your control—it all starts and ends with you!