Business is finally picking up and you’re starting to get a steady flow of travel clients. Now that is GREAT news! But you know what even better news is, to get travel clients and retain them for years to come.
The road to getting your first paying travel clients can be tough. And I should know, because I have a whole program designed around it. Join my FREE webinar, Road to Your First Paying Clients where I help you with the 5 shifts required to launch and operate a successful travel business. But we’ll talk more about that later.
Inside this week’s blog, I am going to give you some tips on how to get your first steady set of clients and keep them.
The road to getting and keeping your travel clients.
Here are 5 simple steps to getting your new clients and keeping them process
1. Identify who your customer is
- Business or Commercial Customers: If your travel business wishes to target other businesses or organizations to do business with, then the process is pretty straight-forward. Your prospective travel client will send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) and it’s sent to all prospective vendors. If you are one of the vendors, you already have an edge over all of those who didn’t get one. This document or set of documents tell you about what they are looking for. Do they want a one-time travel solution, or do they want someone whom they can partner with in the long-term? What are their expectations in all areas of business involved – finances, customer service, response timings, etc.? There are also sites to help you find RFPs proactively, from organizations that are open to all kinds of vendors. For e.g. The site www.findrfp.com helps you find government RFPs. There are also platforms like the Sabre Hotel RFP – an online marketplace that unites corporate travel buyers with hotels and chains for their corporate hotel programs.
- Individual (FIT or Free Independent Traveler) or Group Travel: If you target individuals and not organizations as your travel clients, they won’t release out RFPs for you. So how do you get their attention? It’s simple – through marketing yourself! As I always say, “Your #1 Job is To Market Your Business!” The more you put yourself out there, the more people will know that you can help them. If you are new to this blog, you may have missed something about obscurity of your travel business.
“Don’t find customers for your products. Find products for your customers.”Seth Godin
2. Plan Out Your Conversion Process
Now that you’ve identified where and how to attract new prospective clients you need to have plans in place on how to convert that person into a paying client. Once you’ve attracted them through marketing or found them through RFPs what will you do to compel them to buy? I don’t believe false promises or sneaking sales tactics.
My recommendation is to be yourself and provide amazing value. One of the best tools you can have as a part of your sales process is Discovery Calls where you actually take the opportunity to connect in real-time with your prospects.
Inside of our travel business, our process includes meeting with all prospective customers via a Discovery Call after they have submitted and paid for their Custom Travel Booking Request. This allows us to validate their travel requirements and capture any additional information required for us to create an amazing travel proposal for them. This process ensures a couple of things, first, we are able to hear first-hand what is important to consider in their travel experience and second allows us to make a personal connection with the person. This personal connection is instrumental in the closing process. Once we deliver the proposal, we can go over it them, get feedback and make the appropriate changes. This interaction makes closing so much easier and increases our closing rate because our client feels like we’ve built their travel together and we are a team in the process of creating the travel experience they want.
“Obsess about customers. Not competitors.”Jeff Bezos
3. Simplify Payment
Complicated payment submission or inflexible payments plans are a sure-fire way to drive customers away. There are so many tools to make collecting payments from your customers easy and effortless. One such feature is the ability to have your customer send pre-authorized payments for their trips once booked. This allows our customers to manage the payments of their trip through the customer portal and eliminates the need for phone calls or back and forth on payments. The easier you make it for customers to pay the more likely they are to select your travel business as their preferred provider.
“A satisfied customer is your best sales rep.”
4. Clear & Actionable Feedback Process
Now that you have acquired your travel client, you want to retain for the long haul. It is 9 times cheaper to sell to existing clients than to acquire a new one. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. You want to communicate to your travel clients that you are open to feedback. Not only are you open you want to impress upon them that you will take appropriate corrective action on issues identified. No great organization became what it is today by sticking to what it was 10 or even 20 years ago. You have to evolve and take your client’s help in the process.
“If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.”Jay Baer
5. Customer service
Norma Pratt if the CEO of Rodgers Travel – the oldest African American owned travel agency. Over the years she saw a rise and fall in her travel business. The business was threatened by new-age technology and businesses. But today, Norma thinks that people want more travel agents than before. They want to call someone when they have an issue. They want someone to help them when they face problems during their travel. Isn’t this why you here in the first place? To serve your travel clients! So, if you are going to do it, you should do it right!
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”Bill Gates
I believe, it comes down to two words – relationship building! Like all other relationships, even this will need a few “dates” to develop a level of trust. But once that trust builds, you have to ensure to make it last! You can learn more about this and other topics, in the modules of my program – Travel Passion to Profit$.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”Steve Jobs
This month we are celebrating “Love Your Business”. Because, I believe, only when you truly love what you do, you give it your best shot tirelessly!
If you want to know more about getting and keeping travel clients register for our FREE webinar, Road to Your First Paying Clients.