I have posted before that travelers use agents/advisors for the same reason patients use doctors. I think that this is kind of common sense.
But there is an important point that I want to make: there are good doctors, and not so good doctors. For example, a patient goes to a doctor with horrible headaches. Once the professional learns about the symptoms, he/she prescribes strong pain killers (side effects included) and hopefully the pain will be cured.
Another patient goes to different doctor with the same symptoms. After the professional spends some time asking questions about the patient’s daily routine, workout habits, etc., it becomes clear that the pain is coming from sitting on a bad chair every day for 10 hours of work. After recommending changing the chair and standing up every 30 minutes, with no meds (and no side effects) the symptoms were addressed, and the cure will be permanent.
Why am I telling you this?
A TA should deal with a client or prospective one using the same methods as the second doctor. Don’t just “fill out the form.” Engage with your client. Learn more about their lifestyle by asking about hobbies, entertainment, food, and work. Don’t interview – just tell them that in order to make their vacation perfect you would like to know them a bit better. If you need to, tell them about the “good doctor” like I explained above.
While you are talking to them, be 100% present. DO NOT MULTITASK (you wouldn’t like your doctor to do that, right?) That way, even if they give you a small budget to work with, the fact that you now know more about them, such as restaurant preferences, entertainment, etc. you can tell them that in your expert opinion, they might be better off on a more expensive cruise, for example. You would rather know that they have a vacation that suits their expectations, rather than being miserable and calling you every day to complain.
That is not only being a “good doctor” but knowing that you will close every sale and earn respect from every client – kind of like going to the casino and knowing you will hit every jackpot!
Cheers to you!