By Cat Zuniga
The business that you take is the business you are going to make. However, that doesn’t always mean it’s good – or that you should take it.
In previous articles I’ve written about finding your niche and how important it is to truly be a specialist in what you are selling. Now it’s time to dive into that a bit more.
There’s really not much of a difference between having a niche and being a specialist. Where people get confused is what you market — what you do, why you do, and how you do it.
Delivering dreams is what you do. Why you do it varies from person to person. And as for the “how,” if you say, “I help x do y, so they can z,” how you solve for z is what makes you a specialist.
You choose how good you want to be. Truly, travel professionals are the “human app,” the ultimate resource and go-to for any and all things travel-related, so long as they fall within your niche and expertise.
Here’s a quick quiz to see if I’ve made an impression: If you’re new to the industry and haven’t decided on a niche yet, how are you going to handle someone who comes in asking about booking a destination that you’re not familiar with? Bring in the experts!
Here’s how you can take advantage of those experts and the resources you have available to you – and provide the best service of all to your customers:
Develop relationships with your suppliers and vendors. The people that can best and most easily help you expand your knowledge of a particular resort or destination are representatives from those very things. Reach out to your business development managers and ask for resources, pick their brains, and request to go on familiarization trips to expand your knowledge on their particular product/destination.
Preferred Partners. The point of this whole topic is to not try to pretend to know everything, because you can’t and you don’t. Try teaming up with other business professionals (whether in your area, or not), and consider passing along these clients. Leveraging is a huge thing, and it’s absolutely something worth considering. When you spend three hours trying to research a new and unfamiliar destination, you’ve wasted time that could have been spent either quoting someone or booking someone in the destination you actually know like the back of your hand. So consider developing these partnerships, and ask for a referral fee of 10% — or whatever other amount you feel is appropriate — to help offset some expenses, gain a new client, and develop good relationships in the industry.
Not only have these two simple tips expanded my business, they have alleviated so much pressure to know every part of this world – something that is clearly not possible!
Don’t give your client time to cheat on you and research a destination for themselves, or go elsewhere. Keeping the span of time between communication as short as possible is crucial. You need to have a system in place, or individuals in place, so that you can get the process moving along and make your client happy. Show your clients you are in their corner, and you are ready and willing to help them.
The world is a vast playground with a million sandboxes and swingsets, and you can’t play in all of them. So pick a few destinations that you can master and understand inside and out.
As always, I encourage you to protect yourself and your clients by encouraging trip protection. It will save you the headache that comes from the nightmare of having to deal with an unhappy client, horrific situation, or lost commission. Our friends at BHTP protect your commission and take care of your clients. Not to mention, they are spectacular at doing so quickly!