Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a first client consultation and find that all parties are on the same page about pricing and expectations? But we all know that chances are, this will not happen, and that the first consultation will turn into two, three, and perhaps many more. Sometimes it will even come to a point that an email, message, or even his/her phone number on your caller ID triggers a bad taste in your mouth. So – how do we deal with this?
My best advice is to be honest and candid with your prospective clients, starting with the first communication. In my opinion, it is best to NOT start any conversations through email or message. This can provide an opening to misunderstandings. Just tell your prospective clients: LET’S TALK!
If you speak over the phone, you and the other party will have better communication. If you get the feeling that the other party believes you can perform miracles, explain to them your knowledge and expertise. Most importantly, tell them that your commission is small and already included in the price of the cruise or package, and that you will receive it ONLY and IF the client takes the vacation, and it will be paid to you AFTER they are back. That means that until then, you are working for FREE.
It is important to explain this. Many prospective clients have a misconception that TAs have access to huge discounts on trips, plus that they make a lot of money with every payment on a client’s trip. It doesn’t matter how clearly you express this in writing, or how many times you share this blog with them, you have no control over their interpretation. You do have more control during a conversation over the phone with no distractions or interruptions. Even if they can’t afford the vacation, they will remember how kind and honest you were, and how you took the time to explain this to them.
If you want to, tell them that some TAs charge a service fee for this reason. You can either state your fee, or tell them that you don’t believe in fees, or don’t want to charge them. Whatever you feel is better for you and your business.
Building bridges and getting people on your side is the best way to make a business grow!