Dear Travel Agents/ Advisors,
People seem to be admired and respected when they are assertive. We all know there is a big difference between being assertive and being rude. I am sure we’ve all experienced both, and also that many of us have admired assertive people.
How can we be assertive, while not being rude, especially with our clients and prospective ones?
My advice, and also something I mentor travel agents/advisors about, is how to set boundaries. Imagine if you will, that everyone is in their terrible twos. People (like two-year-olds) will want to take from you as much as possible; not because they are bad people, but because they want to “see” if you will allow them to. So, like you would with a little 2-year-old, you will have to set boundaries without being rude (or spanking, LOL!)
For example, a client called while doing errands. For sure, she is distracted and I can hear all the noises in the background. I told her to please call me when it was a better time. She told me that it was a good time for her. I told her how much I valued OUR time (not mine, nor hers) and would appreciate her calling me back when she could be fully there for the call. Always – with a smile in my voice.
Another example: a client called asking if my price was better than she could get with another company. I asked her who referred her to my company, and she told me. I asked her if she trusted that person and she said she did. I asked her that if she needed someone to build a house for her whether she would line up people by price or by recommendation. I told her a good and reliable vacation was the same – it is not who is cheaper, but the best you can afford, especially through a good recommendation.
The most important thing is to speak assertively with a smile in your voice. Don’t be rude, don’t be demeaning, don’t be arrogant, don’t get into arguments. If the other person becomes defensive and raises their voice, lower yours. Speak with care and passion. Just be your true self.
People will be attracted to you by your caring assertiveness, which definitely gives you more power than all the knowledge in any subject.
Assertiveness is not a gene all people are born with. Most need practice. I love to roleplay certain scenarios and practice with travel agents as a mentor. Feel free to ask me.