Nothing Happens If the Client Doesn’t Trust You
Continuing our discussion on keeping your resolution to focus on your business, we want to emphasize the importance of developing strong relationships with your clients. This is important for all travel professionals, but particularly for agents who are just starting out. Your relationship with your client is everything. And there can be no relationship unless you have a strong reputation for being worthy of your client’s trust.
Trust building refers to your ability to develop a comfortable relationship with your customers, marked by trust and credibility. 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 start building that bedrock foundation of trust with each client? Here are some tips on constructing that foundation—one brick at a time—taken from a couple of our resources, the TRIPKitSM and the CTA® program:
- Understand that the process begins with your first interaction with customers—in person, on the phone, or on social media—because they will form an impression of you 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, maintaining a neat appearance in your dress and in your office, and responding to customers clearly, completely, and correctly.
- Continuously educate yourself. Be sure you constantly are researching and educating yourself on travel trends, destinations, best practices in serving your clients, and so on.
- Commit and deliver. Know your inventory and then customize the trip to the best of your ability. Then be sure to follow through and do what you said you were going to do. Don’t cut corners. This may work in the short-run and save you some dollars immediately. However, the customers you lose—and the hundreds or thousands of dollars they take with them—can cripple your business.
- Be accountable. If you make a mistake, own up to it and make it your personal mission to fix it promptly and completely. Instead of losing the client’s trust, this will go a long way toward securing it in the current transaction and in future ones.
- Promote and preserve your perceived image. You must never give any appearance of unprofessionalism, impropriety, or laziness. Watch everything you post on social media. Unfriend or unfollow people who post questionable comments or images. Always dress appropriately, whether you are attending a function or posting a picture on Facebook. Make sure everything you do positively represents your brand.
- Always be your client’s strongest advocate. Have your clients’ best interests at heart. This does not mean you should look for the cheapest options for your clients. Rather, it means you continually are searching for the most added value for each client. Remember that value-added service is defined as service that exceeds your clients’ expectations and enhances the perceived value of doing business with you or the company you represent.
So, exceed expectations, build trust, and serve your clients. For more tips on building relationships, register for tomorrow’s free webinar, Building Relationships 101, at 2:00 pm EST.
And remember that an educated travel professional saves travelers time and money and provides peace of mind for agents and clients alike. So, if you need to start building a solid foundation on the critical areas all travel professionals must have to be successful, be sure to look into The Travel Institute’s New Year New Career campaign with its focus on new agent training and specialization.