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Stop Pitching, Start Solving

September 18, 2012 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent


Virtuoso Week in Las Vegas
Virtuoso Week in Las Vegas drew a record 4,000 attendees.


When you reach out to clients, do you tell them you’re calling “to check in with them?” Tim Wackel, a sales speaker and trainer, says a survey shows that clients don’t like that. “They feel as if you’re their probation officer,” he told a packed room at a seminar during last month’s Virtuoso Week at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

That’s just one of the mistakes sales people make when they contact customers, which falls in line with not setting an objective for such calls, says Wackel. “Do you plan a call to your client or do you just smile and dial?”

Another pitfall? Talking too much when approaching a client. “Why do we talk too much and bore people?” asks Wackel. “We understand our own stuff,” he says.

If your desire is to be a rock star as a travel advisor, assess what it is that you think makes a great rock star. “If you don’t know, it won’t happen,” he says. “You don’t drift into greatness.”

There are many attributes that make a super successful sales person, including a long list that includes those who are curious, attentive, friendly, hard-working, empathetic, consistent, trustworthy, sincere, prepared, enthusiastic and reliable. But the most common trait of all for those who are successful in sales are those who are fun all of the time. “They are the ones who tend to get the most business,” says Wackel.

At the same time, there’s another common habit that separates the high producers from everyone else and that’s hard work.

Persistence is another important attribute; Wackel says research shows that 80 percent of new business opportunities come on or after five attempts, but that 46 percent of sales reps give up after the first attempt; 22 percent give up after the second attempt, meaning they never have a chance to close a deal.

If you’re using standard ways to communicate with customers during those attempts to reach out, consider that everyone else is using the same methods: E-mail, phone, letter, and a face-to-face meeting. Wackel has been successful by sending a certified letter to a potential client.

“Ninety-eight percent of clients whose business we got said it showed them that we really wanted the business; it helped us stand out,” he says. Other notable ways of delivering a communique could be Fedex, UPS or a courier if the client is in the same town as you are. “But be sure what you’re sending them is worthwhile, don’t say that you’re ‘checking in with them,’ ” says Wackel.

If you don’t want to go that route, a handwritten note will make an impact, he advises. “Send three or four notes a week to either a client, a prospect or a colleague. At the end of the year you’ll have sent at least 130 notes.”

Be sure to take care of mind and body so you’ll be at the top of your game was Wackel’s final piece of advice. He says to follow the 30/20/10 rule.

“Spend 30 minutes a day exercising, 20 minutes a day reading something you can learn from to feed your mind and 10 minutes a day ‘journaling’ so you can evaluate yourself and clarify your direction in life.”

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About the Author

Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero is the Vice President/Editorial Director of the Questex Hospitality + Travel Group, which includes Luxury Travel Advisor, The Informed Traveler, Travel Agent...

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By Ruthanne Terrero | September 18, 2012
Agents at Virtuoso Week get sales tips from an expert.