Dear Travel Agent,
For many years, I have had the discussion with people in the travel industry as to whether or not a good travel agent needs to be a good sales person.
I have had the opportunity to interview and hire many travel agents for positions within my tour companies. I have to confess that a few times, being desperate, I have ended up hiring sales people with great experience in “sales.” Because I was very hands-on during their training period, I watched them relate to our clients, most of whom were travel agents themselves!
I saw a difference between the new sales people and the travel agents in my office. The sales people were interested in one thing: to make the quota and reach their target. The travel agents were more focused on service; making sure clients would remember their names, and a putting forth a distinct effort towards client retention and referral.
It amused me how the sales people would transfer calls to me or another manager when they felt the client’s needs went beyond their “duty” of selling. If a client had questions, it was time to transfer the call. “Time is money” was like the air a sales person breathes, and “next call” was stamped on their foreheads. Sure, if we had changed our business the next day to selling books, or shoes, or clothes I am confident they would have done an excellent job.
So, I ended up hiring only travel agents to work for me, even those who had just left school. Yes, training was sometimes hard. Some were shy or not very confident, but they all had one thing in common: a passion for travel. That definitely came across on every call, in addition to how much they cared for and about our clients.
I used to have a small mirror on each desk that said, “What you see is what they hear!”
I asked them to smile and to be present in their conversations, to show how much they cared, and they always ended up closing sales over their quotas, with the advantage of having repeat clients.
I know “Travel Agents Rock” because they really care!
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