THE HIGHLIGHTS: If you only remember 6 things after reading this… ?
1. Know your “WHY?” – your purpose, the unique “contribution and impact you want to make in the industry and to the world.”
2. Be Selective – Find the right kind of trade “buyers” for your business (tour operators, travel agents, travel designers, and online platforms) to market to.
3. Listen, Learn & Act – Just “winning” a client is only the beginning of the journey – it’s about ongoing relationships and continual improvement.
4. Make it easy to sell you – Your marketing and sales activities are a perfect opportunity to listen to your market and find out what problems they need you to fix and how you can both innovate and be continually improving
5. Build the relationship – Make it Win-Win
6. Data is Queen – To really improve your sales and marketing you need to ensure that you are collecting, analyzing and utilizing your sales and marketing in the best possible way – both quantitative and qualitative.
Also to remind you before we start of the Becky Harris world of terminology… for the B2B travel industry world, I use Marketing to mean finding new clients and Sales to mean developing more sales and profits from existing client contacts.
#3. Listen – Solve problems don’t push products – Be “customer-centric”
Don’t forget that your marketing and sales activities are a perfect opportunity to listen to your market, find out what issues and trends they are currently facing and work out how your company is going to help solve those problems for them. You need to use your marketing communications to engage (potential) customers into real, or “digital” conversations and LISTEN. Uncover what problems they have and then solve them – perfectly.
At SquirrelFish we coach travel suppliers ahead of a travel show, road show office visit or just a pre-arranged online meeting to do much more listening than talking.
Get the buyer to talk first. Ask lots of open questions like, “so tell me about your company, how it is different and what type of customers you have” and “what kind of travel experiences do you find sell best across your destinations” and “what is it that your best DMCs/Hotels do that sets them apart?” and then as quickly as possible move into, “what are you finding are the key issues and problems for your company now and looking into the future?”
Not only is this an incredible way to find out a huge amount of essential, valuable information about a (possible) client very quickly, it builds trust... it is proven that people like and trust you more if they do most of the talking and you demonstrate how interested you are in THEM by just listening. Of course, this is the best way to also check that they are the “right client” for you. ?
When it comes time for you to talk you can then align everything you say about your company, your ethos, systems and service, destinations and products etc to how you can help them with their issues and help support them in delighting their customers.
Be honest. If you don’t yet offer something that they need, tell them that, but then initiate a discussion with them about how you would like to work with them to get it going and work out together what the best way to do that could be. Who wouldn’t buy that?
Listen to your market – what problems do they need you to fix? Then go ahead and fix them – perfectly.
This is also why digital marketing research, social listening and feedback systems are essential for your business. These are other powerful ways for you to listen to existing and prospective clients, learn about what they need and ensure you are delivering.
Read the next article in this series – 4. Make it easy to sell you
Contact us to find out how Squirrelfish, Travel Kinship and our sister company Round can help you grow your sales and develop your marketing, profitability, product development, and business reputation.
This article can also be found on Becky Harris’s LinkedIn profile HERE.
Could you just give us a few more details and we will be in touch