Written By: Scott Koepf MCC, CTC, V.P. of Strategic Development – Cruise Planners
I can see you nodding your head in agreement that you do need some R & R. However, the R & R you are thinking of is not the same the abbreviation I am referring to. Instead, I want to inspire you with two different definitions which will come first if you really want the Rest & Relaxation you desire!
Since the inception of this series of articles I have asked you to dissect each aspect of the sales process and the service side of your business. By digging deep into every detail of your interaction with your customers the hope is twofold. First, that you may find areas of inconsistency or that need attention that can be approved upon. And Second, to suggest ways in which to make changes or add some approaches that will increase your sales and your customers satisfaction.
While that sounds relatively easy, it is in fact, quite difficult because it requires a breaking of old habits and solidified processes. So, the only way to really have the impact you want to increase your success is the first definition of R & R – Risk & Reward!
To make any change, even to take the time to review what you do and what you say is a risk. To self-analyze each step that you take with a client can bring to light deficiencies that you may have wanted to just ignore. To then change what you say or do with your customer during that step of the sales process is down right scary. However, it is taking that risk that is the only way you will get to the Reward!
You took a risk to get in this business and it may be easy to see what the potential rewards may be. If you do not think you have maximized your rewards of income and travel benefits based on your sales volume, then you need to continue to take more risks. And while we may think that by taking enough risks it will lead us to the reward of rest and relaxation there is another result that needs to come about first.
In other words, the success factor of the risks you take should be measured another way and when that is maximized then the Rest & Relaxation can follow. What is the ultimate indication of the rewards you can earn by taking risks in the sales process? R & R, of course! But this time it stands for Repeats & Referrals. I believe the best indication of your abilities as a Travel Advisor is not your sales volume or even your net profit, it is the amount of your customers that come back to you over and over again and how many of them tell everyone they know about the amazing travel advisor they work with – You!
The studies show that the repeat rate with travel agencies is actually quite low (20 – 30 % of customers will use the same travel advisor for their next trip). Imagine if you doubled or even tripled the average of your customers returning to you on an annual basis. Your marketing costs would decrease and your revenue would skyrocket plus you would be dealing with good loyal customers. And now imagine if each of those repeat customers were raving fans and told ten, twenty or more other potential clients about you. It is simple to see that all of your dreams about the potential rewards of this business will come true!
So instead of another suggestion to ask for referrals, which although is fine to do, I suggest you EARN them! The best referral is when it comes to you not because you asked for it but because you were so amazing at being a stellar travel advisor that your customers couldn’t help but refer you! So how do you earn R & R’s (Repeats & Referrals)? We go right back to the opening of this article and every article I have written in this wonderful publication. Look at each and every step, customer interaction and detail of the sales process and take the risk of making changes so that through the entire process you are creating wow moments and significant differentiation from what the customer may have been expecting. The best marketing you will ever do is by being an extraordinary sales person and travel advisor. Keep the following formula in mind to reach your full potential as there are no shortcuts:
Risk & Reward = Repeats & Referrals = Rest & Relaxation