I was speaking to a colleague about a new sales person he had just
employed. The sales person was complaining the company did not have
a presentation brochure. If only the company would produce a professional
presentation, the sales person assured his boss, the sales would come flying
through the door. My friend wanted to know what I thought, and I told him.
told him to better train his new sales person.
said before that sales and marketing knowledge will surpass product knowledge
in a few short years in the travel industry. The best travel consultants of
tomorrow, the ones earning six figure commissions, will be professional sales
They will know the travel industry for sure, but they will know more about
professional marketing and sales.
art of selling is not about your products, your history, the places you have
been or the people you know. You could have an exhaustive brochure on every
aspect of your company, you can be the absolute expert on a dozen destinations,
cruise lines and Disney, and still miss the sale by a mile. It happens all the
time. In fact, it is very typical for a sales person to spend their time during
a sales opportunity attempting to educate their prospect on every aspect of
their products, their services or the history of the company.
an encounter with a potential client is not the time to prove how much you know
about the travel industry. Instead, it’s an opportunity to find out what your
client really needs.
into a sales presentation is a sure-fire way to lose a client. Doing so misses
the point. Your job is to form a relationship based on your perception of your
Your earliest conversation is an opportunity to find
out what you don’t know about the client. Meet their needs and you have a
client. Recite a dozen facts that hold little interest to him and the client
will begin to look at their watch. Your client is interested in your history,
your experience, your company, only to the extent those things benefit him. You
cannot know what will benefit your client until you know what your client
the key: Quit telling and start listening. Quit selling. Hold a conversation.
Form a relationship.
your expertise is important – but you have to fully understand what the
client’s needs are before you can begin to apply your knowledge. If you fail to
show a real interest in your client, you will sound like you are trying to sell
something. Authentic sales requires a real skill set – the ability to craft
your presentation not out of a can, but in response to the needs of your
friend’s sales person did not need to know any more about the company than he already
knew. He did not need a new presentation brochure. Good sales collateral is
important, but it’s ancillary. A professional sales person will get up,
get out the door and spend all of his time learning about the client. Then, and
only then, can the appropriate sales presentation be crafted.
you are a bit reticent to be deemed a sales person, get over it. The best of
you know you are in sales, and product knowledge is a passion – so is client
knowledge- that’s the hard part – and, it’s the only part about which
your clients really care
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.