Sell Me Something, Please!

I've heard experts say that in the sales process, people really want to be sold, they just don't want to be overly conscious that it's happening. I found that difficult to comprehend until just the other day. I was driving through my town and saw that a new veterinarian's office had opened. I was thrilled. I like the vet I use now, but his office is a bit far from my house and his boarding facilities are okay, not great. This vet's office was just blocks away from my home and by all accounts, appeared to be rather state of the art. I was so excited, I could barely take the time to park the car before jumping out and running into the office so I could hear about how this place was going to make my life, and my pets' lives, much easier.

Ruthanne Terrero

The woman behind the desk seemed nice enough, and so I relayed my excitement about the new office opening and quickly inquired about boarding, explaining that I travel a lot. She in turn silently took out a piece of paper and methodically wrote down all of the rules that I would have to follow for getting my cats into this facility. By the time she got down to the bottom of the list, I felt as if I were enrolling my cats into college. To be honest, I wasn't sure if she even wanted strange animals coming through the door, which I think was going to be a problem for her, this being a veterinarian's office and all. I thanked her for the information and she nodded. After I left, I realized I hadn't even asked her about the boarding facilities, which probably were pretty nice. But there was no way I was going back in there. I actually felt pretty let down, if you want to know the truth.

It got me thinking, how difficult would it have been for her to sway me to become a client? Admittedly, that's not what doctor's offices typically do, but she had opened a new facility on Long Island, where there are already quite a few vets. I was a ready-to-be-sold client. I was very open about being willing to switch from the vet I was currently using. I made it clear that I spend a lot of money annually on exams, boarding and inoculations for my pets and am willing to pay even more to a veterinary practice that is more special in any way, shape or form than the one I am using now. Heck, the fact that we were neighbors was going to be enough for me. I desperately wanted to be sold and yet this woman hadn't made the slightest effort to secure my business.

From the Agent's Angle

Similarly, travel agents must be careful that they're not missing the opportunity to sell their services to potential customers. Odds are, if someone you meet shows an interest in the fact that you are a travel consultant, they are really trying to find out what you can offer them. Everyone travels these days, and they're all searching to find out what the next travel professional can provide for them in the way of services and expertise.

If you think about it from the travel agent's perspective, asking a prospective client about why they are no longer using their previous travel agent (or online booking agency) is a smart practice because it provides a launching point on which to hang the benefits and features that you offer. If I had been asked about why I wanted to leave the vet I currently use, the new vet could have easily told me why her services were better.

And, if you really want to do it right, you'll avoid doing what my almost-new veterinarian did, which is listing a litany of the do's-and-don'ts of our relationship before we've even had a proper hello.

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Editorial Director rterrero@questex.com