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So The Story Goes

Written By: Scott Koepf, Senior Vice President of Sales, Avoya Travel



Each month we walk through the sales process one step or concept at a time. Last month we talked through a recommended best practice for the presentation step. We covered the suggested best practices for the process and the information to provide during this step but now we need to add the ‘aahhhh’ factor! 


Preparing for the Presentation and having the right material is very important. Having a written plan as to how you will make the Presentation is also imperative. However, as we sell a very exciting product, if we have the plans and processes right but don’t add in the emotion with personalization, it will likely not provide the results you want. Think about buying clothes on line. You can look at pictures and you can read an impressive list of materials and descriptions of craftsmanship but unless you can picture yourself wearing those clothes you probably won’t buy them. 


In selling travel, we certainly have a very visual product and thanks to the internet, our customers can find exhaustive lists of features and product details. Information is easy to obtain but putting that data into a personalized picture still takes you! This might be one of the most thrilling parts of the sales process when you take the facts and tie them into a story. A story that stars your client and fulfills the vision and specific desires that your client has for this vacation (remember you know those desires because of the questions you have asked before!). As the old adage goes: Facts Tell Stories Sell! Don’t provide the same information they can get elsewhere. Instead use your creativity to paint a picture featuring your client.  


The storytelling itself will need to be varied based on the personality type of your customer but each customer needs to see themselves enjoying the product you recommend. Each feature needs to be presented as a benefit. How will every aspect of what your recommended supplier provides specifically address the concerns or desires of your customer? How can you phrase that description in a visual and personal way? The greatest salespeople are simply great storytellers. It doesn’t mean telling stories like creating falsehoods, it means crafting an image that can’t be found online. Learning to paint word pictures, especially in the travel business, will help you close significantly more sales. 


In her book Small Messages/Big Impact, Terri Sjodin suggests that through storytelling you need to answer the following questions: 


How are you saving me time? 

How are you saving me money? 

How are you easing my stress? 

How will you create security for me? 

How will you make this fun? 

How will you make this easy? 


While each client may have other questions that just like these that they will never say out loud, you can be sure they need them answered before they decide to purchase from you. As they most likely won’t be directly asked of you it is important that the answers simply are a part of the overall story.  


The picture you paint is not just a pretty beach scene with them sitting in a lounge chair with a Pina Colada and a cabana boy fanning them. It needs to also include you. No, not as the Cabana boy, but as the agent who will bring this picture to life. Remember, the facts are important but people will buy with emotions and the best way to elicit the right feelings from your client is a well-crafted presentation or a story that starts and ends with  


…and they Vacationed Happily Ever After.