Run Your Business More Efficiently and Add Quality Players to Your Client ListJanuary 4, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor, Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to re-examine your business.
Fire Your Clients
First, look at your list of clients. Is there a certain group whose phone call or email you just hate to receive? These are the folks who look and never book, who ask you a million questions and then come back to you with a lower quote for their trip that they've found on the Internet. Cross them off your list. It's time to say good-bye.
Similarly, is there another group of clients who do spend money but treat your and your staff poorly when they call? Maybe they think it's your fault when their plane takes off late. Perhaps they're the ones who phone from the airport screaming once that their limo hasn't rolled up immediately to the curb to pick them up. (Note: These are the same clients who always end up standing in the wrong place no matter how clearly you've written it on their itinerary.) Fire them. Send them a 'Dear John' letter. People who think they can abuse you because they pay you money are not good for business and they are not worth the dent they put in your staff's morale.
Hire New Clients
Now that I've suggested that you trim your client list, where do you go to replace those that you've dismissed? Ask for referrals from those clients who are civil and who book the level of business that is worth your while. It's likely that their family members and colleagues have similar dispositions and pocketbooks to theirs. If these clients are those who book on the luxury level, be sure to dress the part of luxury yourself. Remember, people like to do business with people like themselves.
Examine Your Staff
Managers should take a good look at their staff, one by one. If you had the chance to hire this person again, would you do it? Perhaps their style has never aligned itself with yours (are they rushing to get off the phone with clients, is 'no' their answer to everything they're asked to do? Are they constantly seeking to get travel perks even though they haven't met their sales quota, ever?). If your brow crinkles when you think of them, consider replacing them.
Examine Your Manager
Front-line agents should do the same with their managers. Are you getting out of this job everything you were promised? Are you excited to go to work every day? If you feel you could just as easily be working in a plastics factory as the travel agency you're sitting in, it's time to move on. Good help is hard to find in the industry these days so you'll likely be snapped up right away by someone else if you have the right attitude and the proper sales skills.