Debra Dickerson, whose annual sales top $4.5 million, touts a “client first, commission last” approach to business, which allows her to give her clients straight talk without candy-coating an itinerary. According to Susan Lawson Rios, sales manager at Cruise Specialists, this allows Dickerson to level with her clients about travel products that are not a good fit for them.
“I’ve overheard her more than once say, ‘It may sound great, but I can guarantee you’re not going to be happy there. Rather, have you thought about this?’” Rios says. “Debra is a sales consultant but a straight talker who never candy-coats...she treats each client as if they are her own family.”
Last year, Dickerson’s client decided they wanted to visit Iran and Iraq, prompting her to “spend nights and weekends vetting operators on the ground in those countries. The results? A safe and exciting trip for her client.”
Dedication like this has rewarded Dickerson with shining referrals for her work, with one client recently booking a 2016 Silversea world cruise for $156,000 and another couple who made five bookings the past four months totaling $50,000 in sales.
As a member of Virtuoso’s VAST program for adventure and specialty travel advisors, Dickerson plans itineraries in exotic destinations and overland excursions for world cruise clients. Prior to joining Cruise Specialists, Debra was a travel manager in service to her country. One of her responsibilities was escorting families of Navy personnel from the mainland to Hawaii to welcome the ships back after months of duty in the Western Pacific.