How Are YOU Qualifying Your Clients’ Needs?   

Understanding clients’ needs is central to success. If you don’t get to know every need and every wish for your clients’ vacation, how are you supposed to provide a WOW experience?

Having a fluid qualifying conversation with clients sets you up for success. To get you started, here are some tips, along with 20 qualifying questions you may want to ask your clients.

After you’ve gotten a feel for the type of customer with whom you’re dealing and have started to establish a relationship link, you will need to identify the customer’s specific travel needs. Some people refer to this stage as qualifying. It is important to remember, however, that
qualifying your client means more than conducting a quick question-and-answer session.

Successful salespeople know how to formulate clear, concise, and well-chosen questions and use these questions to provide opportunities for their customers to reveal more information about themselves. Consequently, more of the consultant’s time is spent listening rather than talking. Moreover, successful travel consultants are aware of how their verbal and nonverbal behaviors can help customers feel comfortable talking about their travel needs.

It’s easy to take this need-identification step in the sales process for granted. After all, how can you sell a travel product unless you figure out what your clients need, right? However, many consultants start offering product recommendations as soon as they’ve discovered answers to the basic “W” questions: who, what, when, where, and why. A thorough analysis of the customer’s needs usually requires a little more probing or asking questions to delve deeper for more information.

Here are some sample questions experienced travel counselors have used to qualify their clients. You may have a few favorites to add.

1. How many people are going on this trip?
2. What is the approximate age of each person?
3. When are you planning to go?
4. Are you flexible?
5. Where are you planning on going … any ideas?
6. Where was the last trip you took? (only if this is a first-time client)
7. What did you like about your trip to St. Lucia? (repeat client)
8. How would you describe the perfect trip?
9. Have you been doing some research? What have you found? (This will help in formulating the budget and selecting a product)
10. Are you looking to fly coach, business, or first class? (This will help in determining budget and availability)
11. How was your hotel? What did you like about it? What did you not like?
12. Do you want a room with a king-size bed or two queens? Do you have any special requests regarding the room or its features?
13. The last time, you liked the xxx river cruise. Do you want to stay within the same brand of companies?
14. What are you hoping to get out of this trip?
15. Are there any specific places you want to visit or sights you want to see?
16. What are your interests and hobbies? Do you like museums, history, or culture?
17. Would you prefer a restful trip, an active one, or a combination?
18. What kind of food do you like to eat? Do you enjoy trying the local cuisine?
19. Are you looking for activities for your children?
20. What is your budget?

No matter which questions you use, your goal is to find out what your client expects to get out of the travel experience and then strive to meet all those expectations.

This week’s Hot Tip Tuesday was based on material in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate course. To learn more about the CTA program, check out the CTA Certification Program webinar on March 7.

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