LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- As part of out ongoing coverage of the newly re-branded Luxury Travel Exchange International, Travel Agent sat in on a seminar hosted by Anne Morgan-Scully, president of McCabe World Travel, and learned about such insider tips as cutting loose clients who "suck up your time," learning about your clients' bucket lists and more.
Engage Your Client
Perhaps the biggest piece of advice Morgan-Sully shared during her presentation was to engage your client. Do not just be an "order taker," she says. Rather, get to know your clients. Learn about what they love to do and learn about their family's passions as well.
"Say this to them: 'I am concerned that your time is so important and I'm not sure I can give you what you need unless I get to know you,'" Morgan-Scully says, "Say, "I can give you so much more if I know you. When can we get together and talk? Or perhaps I can sit down and talk with your wife.'"
Morgan-Scully shared a story about booking a man to London. She learned about the client's family. She learned that the son loved sail boats and the daughter loved riding horses. She arranged to have the daughter see Winston Churchill's private horse gardens and set up a sailing trip for the son that took him under the Tower Bridge.
"He is now a client for life," she says, "because he had no idea he was able to do any of that."
Learn About Your Clients' Bucket Lists
Morgan-Scully shared a story about a man who said it was his dream to go to New Zealand and Australia, but didn't think he could afford it and wanted to wait a few years before he took his dream trip. She then explained to him that this was the best time to go to take advantage of the economic downturn.
"I told him now is the time," she says. "This is where you can get a two-for-one cruise, free airfare, etc. When the economy gets stronger, you won't get this value anymore."
He wound up buying a 30-day cruise to Australia and New Zealand and got to take his dream vacation.
"If you open the conversation up, you will be surprised," she says. "He didn't know he could have that. That's our knowledge base. That's what you should be providing to clients."
Focus on Value
According to Morgan-Scully, value equals time. Value is not simply what you can get for a client for less money. Rather, value is taking advantage of your clients' time.
"What do I value? I value being with my family, I value reading books to my grandchildren," she says. "Thats comes down to time. So if you book the wrong hotel for someone or get something wrong, you are wasting their time. You are not providing value."
The Clients that Got Away
According to Morgan-Scully, advisors, like most people, tend to focus on what they did right. For example, Morgan-Scully says, you'll hear people telling you about all the money they won in Las Vegas, but will you ever hear them talk about the time it took or how much money they lost before they won? The same goes with your clients. Do you ever focus on the clients you lost?
"Who did you have in 2011 that booked with you that you didn't have this year?," Morgan-Scully says. "Did you even know they left you? Who do you have this year that you wont have next year? How many of you look at those numbers? Hardly any hands went up and I think because that's not in our DNA. We are business people first and we need to hold our business and development relationships. We need to have a business plan per client. Who are they? I want you to look at who are you losing and who you are not holding onto. Where did they go? I want you to open your mind to new possibilities, a new way of thinking."
Attracting the Right Customer
Morgan-Scully stressed the importance of making sure your client isn't wasting your time. There is no shame, she says, in cutting clients that are wasting your time or as Morgan-Scully puts it, "sucking the life out of you."
"You can't afford people who are sucking up your time," she says. "Get rid of them because they wont change, but you can change. You can say, 'I can't work with you anymore.' You have to be a leader in the dance you are having with your clients. It needs to work on both levels. Can you save some of those people? Sure. Tell them they are on probation."
Are You a lifestyle Planner?
Scully stresses the importance of "acting like you have your client's wallet."
"We are lifestyle planners and not order takers," she says. "Just like clients will have a financial planner, you are their lifestyle planner. It's members of their family, people around them, their fiends. You wont get their unless you start thinking this way: you are a lifestyle planner."
Are You Listening?
According to Morgan-Scully, "Ask the right questions and then shut up and listen. It's an art we aren't aware of. Sit back and listen."
She continues that if you don't stay connected with clients, someone else will. If you don't stay in touch with all those clients throughout the year, they probably aren't with you anymore, she says. Its up to you to build relationships with clients.
"It's really important to understand how to find the time to stay connected," she says. "Say something like, 'Hey, I thought about you this afternoon, I saw a product that's great for you. That's how you stay connected."
She recommended staying in touch with clients during milestone events such as birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, etc.
"They will never leave you when they know how much you care about them," she says. "This is about embracing and giving that client a warm hug. "
You Are Your Clients' Best Advantage
Never just sell a cruise, she says. Sell a cruise, a flight and an excursion.
"Like a tailor, we need to take their measure and take their fit," she says. "Every client must have a business plan."
Stay Connected with Your Clients
Does your clients feel your presence during their vacation?
Morgan-Scully strongly recommends staying in touch with your clients while their vacation is going on just in case something went wrong that you can fix immediately.
"Don't wait for your clients to return from their trip to find out their hotel room wasn't that great," she says. "Get them on the phone and if they aren't pleased with their room, fix it right then and there."
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates from our ongoing coverage of Luxury Travel Exchange International.