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Beware of Negative SpinMarch 19, 2007 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
Do you have a one-minute sales pitch? This would be the
brief—yet exhilarating—self-description you use when you meet up with a
potential client. If you've joined a country club or an association to bolster
your client list through networking, it's imperative that you have your pitch
down pat so that it's ready the moment someone asks, "And what do you do
for a living?"
As an entrepreneur, you'll want to present yourself and your
business in a manner that is focused and effective, short and powerful. The trick
is to make it sound natural or else everyone at the club will start to avoid
you. People don't want to feel as if you only care about them to increase your
But what's wrong with saying something like, "I create
very special vacation experiences for a select group of clients and I'm able to
do it cost effectively because of the relationships I have in the industry. In
fact, I've just set up an itinerary for
where we'll stay in a private villa. We'll sample regional cuisine and wine for
a full week before jetting over to the
If I heard that from someone I'd be grabbing her card out of her hand and
inquiring when the plane was leaving!
Tailoring Your Message
A message like this, of course, could—and should—be tailored
to each specific situation. If you're with a parents' group, focus instead on
your ability to create itineraries that include special activities for
children. If you're at the spa, adjust your message to include your knowledge
of wellness vacations and the latest spa resorts. It's important to keep it
relevant. You should also be able to regale them about the high points of some
of the vacations you've planned for yourself. Keep these tales brief as well,
however. You want to rein them in, not bore them to pieces.
It's also key that your personal pitch not be a litany of
negative spin about your competitors. Few things turn off potential clients
more than hearing someone they don't even know getting bashed. If you decide to
take the route of intimating that your competitor is going out of business,
you'll look more than foolish when they're quite happily—and profitably—in
existence the following year and the year after that. You'll also look as if
you don't have enough positive things going on for yourself if your main
interest is in talking about everyone else.
Many of the most successful travel agents I know admit that
they are not just selling travel, they are actually selling themselves. These
top producers can deliver a message of confidence and knowledge to their
would-be clients in 60 seconds or less. So start practicing your sales pitch
now, and strive to cast yourself in the most positive light possible. And
remember: You're also selling dreams.
Ruthanne Terrero, CTC EDITORIAL DIRECTOR