How Travel Agents Can Bounce Back From Rejection and Win Clients

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President–Content/Editorial Director
Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President–Content/Editorial Director

I was in a restaurant on Spring Street in SoHo the other day, when I noticed a young woman on the sidewalk dressed in a bright pink shirt, jeans and blue sneakers, waving at people as they walked by. She was grinning and being as perky as possible, trying to get them to stop so she could hand them a piece of paper. However, it immediately became quite clear that she was totally striking out. People ignored her or shook their heads as they walked past. The zest seeped out of her and she began slouching and staring at the sidewalk. Her chagrin was palpable.

How often do new travel advisors find themselves in the position of trying to engage with new customers, but no one’s having anything to do with it? Here are some tips to overcome this sense of defeat when you’re trying to attract new customers or selling to existing ones and no one’s biting.

Rejection shouldn’t control how you feel about yourself. Don’t give others the power to determine your self-worth. You have that power.

Understand what failure is. As a travel advisor, you’re an entrepreneur and good entrepreneurs use failure to learn. If you have been unsuccessful in some truly obvious way, do examine what happened straight on and correct your approach. For example, that young woman in SoHo hadn’t read the crowd she wanted to engage with. In downtown Manhattan, black is the new black, not pink and blue. Her outfit didn’t relate to the people she wanted to attract. Also, handing out flyers might work at the mall, but not on the streets of New York, where we’re geared to get where we need to go ASAP, without intrusion.

You might also face rejection from a client you felt was a hot prospect. They wanted to go on a vacation, and — guess what? — you had plenty of trips to offer to them! But, in the end, they wandered away and took all the love in the room with them.

My guess is you didn’t engage with them deeply enough.

A good real estate agent can match up homes that have the number of rooms a client has requested, but a better one will ask why a prospective buyer might want to live in a particular town, and then ensure the homes they’re shown speak to those needs.

A good interior designer doesn’t just come up with drawings of nice rooms; they probe to find out what a client’s passions are and celebrate these special interests by incorporating them into the overall design plans.

If, perhaps, on some days you feel like that young woman on the sidewalk in SoHo, don’t slouch and let yourself get depressed. Craft a new strategy and rebuild your confidence by focusing on another aspect of your business that day. Create some fabulous promotional materials that make you proud, connect with a colleague to compare market knowledge, or do something else that soothes and nurtures your entrepreneurial soul. You’ll soon feel re-energized and ready to hit the marketplace once more.