Use These Tips to Be More Empathetic and Positive
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been examining essential soft skills every successful travel professional must acquire or perfect. We’ve discussed great communication, effective listening, and effective time management. Today’s Hot Tip addresses empathy and positivity.
Be empathetic to connect with people.
Your relationship with your client is everything. When you are speaking with clients, are you making the effort to see through their eyes? This is known as being socially aware or having empathy, and it is vital to understanding your clients’ buying decisions and to building strong client relationships.
Prominent researcher and speaker Brené Brown, PhD once said: “Empathy doesn’t require that we have the exact same experiences as the person sharing their story with us.… Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or the circumstances.”
So, connecting with your clients means you do your best to understand their emotions, share their feelings and respond to them with sensitivity and compassion. This empathy then leads to trust. But this won’t happen unless you have a strong reputation for being credible and worthy of trust. Clients who do not perceive you as trustworthy and credible are not likely to buy your services…at least, not more than once.
How do you build that bedrock of trust with each client? Here are some practical tips on constructing that foundation, one brick at a time:
- Understand that the process begins with your first interaction with customers—in person, on the phone, or on social media—because you often make an impression within the first 30 seconds.
- Practice interpersonal communication skills, which will create an image of you as competent, confident, and credible. These skills involve verbal, written, and nonverbal behaviors, such as sincerely greeting customers, being enthusiastic and interested, listening actively, and responding to customers clearly, completely, and correctly.
- Continually educate yourself. Be sure you constantly are researching current travel trends, destinations, and best practices in serving your clients.
- Commit and deliver. Know your inventory and then customize the trip to the best of your ability. Be sure to follow through and do what you said you were going to do. Don’t cut corners because the customers you lose through this tactic—and the hundreds or thousands of dollars they take with them—can cripple your business.
- Always be your clients’ strongest advocate. Have your clients’ best interests at heart. This doesn’t mean you should look for the cheapest options. Rather, it means you continually are searching for the most added value for each client by exceeding your clients’ expectations EVERY time.
When you have made the effort to empathize with your clients and built their trust, you will be more effective in understanding their motivations to travel and, as a result, be able to help them make responsible and appropriate buying decisions.
Be a positive force.
In the midst of the crazy moments of your day when you feel like everything is falling down around you, it is important to use your positivity and re-center yourself so you’re able to help your clients. Oftentimes, positivity will increase your ability to deliver topnotch customer service by building on your empathy and trust. Being positive and having empathy in listening well will help you create some of the most memorable experiences for your clients. Ultimately, being positive sets the stage to building trust from a place of truthfulness and caring, which will lead to an increase in sales.
So, to round out our series on soft skills, we leave you with these 20 suggestions for improving your positivity:
- Don’t let trivial stuff ruin relationships.
- Condition your mind to be positive each day.
- Learn the art of selling yourself to other people.
- Have a good laugh.
- Express gratitude to others.
- Concentrate on what you can do; then, do it!
- Harness your negative experiences into energy for pursuing your purpose.
- Appreciate that strength grows out of struggle.
- Learn from everything and everyone.
- Commit to self-improvement.
- Express gratitude for your opportunities.
- Catch someone doing something right.
- Be open to feedback.
- Don’t accept what you do not desire.
- Don’t worry about what you cannot control.
- Completely focus on your definite major purpose
- Seek the cure for feeling sorry for yourself: service.
- Emulate those you admire.
- Cultivate the tone of your voice.
- Remember that whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
Now you know the five skills necessary to succeed. They take time and practice, but they are achievable.