Postcards From the Road

I'm almost certain that by the time you're able to take that well-earned vacation, you're not really planning on thinking about work, but a top travel agent I recently met with told me that she always sends postcards to her clients when she travels, either to let them know that they should visit the particular destination she is in, or to remind them that they need to start planning their next vacation when she is back in her office.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC

Like so many practical ideas, this one seemed incredibly brilliant. Just the other day I realized that a real postcard with a stamp from a foreign land on it still holds a certain amount of magic for me. It happened when I received one from a writer whom I had assigned to cover a certain area of Ireland. The photo, of one of that country's amazing coastlines, was of course beautiful and I found myself stopping everything I was doing to stare at it and to imagine myself in that scene. The message on the back of the card was brief: The journalist thanked me for the assignment and told me when she'd be returning home to write the story.

How simple and yet how special was this communication? It certainly meant more than all of the e-mail clutter I receive every day, in fact, it reminded me of how thrilled I was when, as a child, I would receive a postcard from someone on vacation. It was so incredibly exciting to realize that the card had originated from somewhere far away and that I was now holding it in my hands.

Although your dispatch to your clients might not be one of the "wish you were here," variety, you can certainly take the opportunity to enchant them and to let them know that as a responsible advisor you are thinking of them. Furthermore, as a good salesperson, you should definitely take the opportunity to invoke in them the passion to travel, with your guidance, in the near future.

While you're clearly not about to take your entire client list and spend your afternoons on a bench along the Grand Canal pasting postage stamps on photos of Venice, I suggest you do carry along the addresses of a select number of strong candidates who might want to enjoy la dolce vita in the coming months. The other group of communiqué recipients should be those whom you want to impress with your travels; they're the clients who always look you straight in the eye when you're proposing a trip to them and ask, "But have you been there?" What better way to prove you're a world traveler than by spending a mere few euros on a card and a stamp?

Speaking of being practical, have you started planning your clients' Christmas holidays yet? If you have customers who must be in the same resort every year, it's imperative that you make that booking now. Travel agents I spoke with months ago told me that many of their clients called them right after January 1 to rebook their next holiday vacation. Don't put yourself in the position of having to scramble to find rooms at the last minute. Speak to your clients now about it. In fact, that's another reminder you can inscribe on that postcard you send from Venice!