Written By: Jesse Morris, Owner – We Book Travel LLC
“I found a great deal online, how much do you charge?”
“I saw a deal that will give me an extra $50 on board credit, can you match that?”
“Why shouldn’t I just book it myself?”
What Type of Travel Advisor you are? Ah yes! All questions we as travel advisors LOVE to hear, right? Right? Anyone? It’s questions like these that give us headaches, at least it does for me. How do we tackle this? What response will make the client understand and decide to select us and not someone else to book their trip?
The answer lies in understanding what type of travel advisor you are. What is your business model? Are you a low-price leader who makes up the difference in volume? Are you a high touch, high service provider? Are you fee based or commission only? Have you defined this for yourself?
The only wrong answer is to have no answer at all. When people ask online how to handle people who ask about price matching, I see a lot of responses with “bless and release” in them. I would argue that is not a good idea. Your first step should be to ask yourself if you have clearly defined who you are and why your clients should do business with you. There will always be clients who want to try to extract as much out of you as possible. People are told from a very young age that if you do not ask, you will not receive. This does not mean they will automatically run to another service provider over $50.
It also does not mean that the advisor who is a low-price leader is wrong. Walmart makes a very good business out of being the lowest price in town. Tons of businesses price match. Tons of businesses do not. You have to define what you are and prepare yourself when someone decides to question your value as a business. If you know an objection exists and you are not prepared to address it, it is your fault when you lose the client over it.
I find that addressing the elephant in the room ahead of objections not only buys me credibility but also prevents me from getting the question at all.
“Before we get started talking about your trip, let me tell you a little bit about my agency and what you should expect.” Then explain your value proposition. What makes you different, why people choose you and what value they can expect from your relationship. Online providers do not form a relationship with their customers. Online providers do not spend time getting to know their customers and then make customized recommendations. Your experiences make you unique and that experience can help someone avoid pitfalls. This is assuming that is your business model. You have to design a plan that fits your business and style.
What happens when you have clearly defined yourself as a value provider who will not always be the lowest price but will have the best service and then they still ask you to match that extra on board credit? It is very hard to turn away business, especially while we are still getting affected by Covid. Some people just fold to the pressure and give what the client asked for out of fear of losing a client. Rather than giving in or just saying you cannot do that, answer the more important question. What do you give them that is worth the extra cost or the reduced amenity? If you cannot answer that, they most certainly can’t either. You still will not win them all and that is totally okay. But you will win more often that you would have otherwise. This is sales. Sales begins at the first objection. Overcoming objections effectively can make the difference between a good commission and a great one, a good year and a great one and a career instead of just a side gig.
What is your value proposition? Share your approach on What Type of Travel Advisor you are at [email protected]. Until next time, stay safe and healthy!