CRUISEWHIZ CRAIG OR NOW IS THE TIME TO PLANT THE SEEDS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS SELLING TO MORE FIRST TIME CRUISERS
BY CRAIG SATTERFIELD, ECCS
Isn’t it is always great to work with your regular clients. You know them, they know you and generally it is easy to set them up with their next trip. It’s quick and easy, right? Well it should be. Since it is then you should have plenty of time to develop new business. Now is the time to develop new clients that will be true to you and rebook over and over again for years. Wrong. Did you know that only 30% of your client base is true blue to you and will book only with you and refer others to you? That is a sobering statistic but it is true. There is not a lot you can do about it but to keep giving top notch service and hope that the percentages in your case are higher. Regardless, it is important for your future business to develop new clientele and do it in such a way that these new clients will stay true blue to you.
A good way to do that is to crown “yourself” the king or queen for first time cruisers. More than 70% of the traveling public has never taken a cruise so the field is ripe for picking. Many of us baby boomers, all 65 million of us, have cruised and continue to cruise but the Millennial, all 90 million of them, they are the generation that are anxious to see and do it all, so cruising is definitely in their plans.
Now what would be a good way to develop this business and let first time cruisers know that you are the agent to go with? It has been proven that Millennial do a lot of research on line but when it comes to putting down their hard earned cash, they want to do it with a seasoned professional and that is where you come in. You need to show the World that you are the expert and stop people in their tracks.
Wherever you are, talk about travel. People love to engage in your sense of excitement. Everybody loves to talk about where they have visited and where they want to go. Be social, don’t hide the fact that you sell travel for a living and love to talk about it. Guys, wear that aloha shirt, startup conversations about places you have visited, keep photographs that you have taken on cruises and trips in your telephone to share. You’re connected to social media right? Don’t just post deals or promotions that you want to sell. Be more interesting by posting about places you have been or new destinations that interest you. Let the destinations sell themselves.
Be a video star and start posting your trips on Youtube. Post these links in your blog and on Facebook. That way they are open to all who want to share your enthusiasm for travel with you.
Now that you have the attention of some new travelers, you will want to motivate them to actually book what they are dreaming about. Your attitude is foremost in persuading your new clients to get going. Ask questions that can be answered with “yes.” Would you like to cruise to the Caribbean? Have you always wanted to take a pleasure cruise? Do you enjoy traveling with friends and family? This way you can start to paint a mental picture of the trip they want and the trip you want to sell. Use words like relaxation, exploration, pampered, romantic to help paint that picture. Be careful that you don’t overdo it. These ideas are easy to drop into the conversation a little at a time.
Give your new clients your full attention. No stopping to answer phones, check texts or answering emails. Give them your undivided attention whether it is person to person or over the phone. This is the time for you to learn your client’s buying patterns and adjust your approach accordingly. Some people will start asking questions as if they are already booked. That is a good sign that you can close the sale. Others need more time so you can use the slow reveal method. Meaning you can show examples of what you are discussing slowly so the information can sink in. Those folks then feel secure that they are making the right travel decision.
Once your clients have booked their cruise, get them involved in the decision making by helping them sign up for the cruise line’s loyalty program. Show them how to look up their booking on the cruise line’s website so they can enter their pre-cruise immigration information and also learn more about what is offered on board.
Suggest that they arrive a day prior to the cruise siting airline or weather delays that could cause stress. Suggest their dining options since there are so many these days. Let them know about the various beverage programs that can be purchased in advance. You could either print out or give them a link to the deck plans of their ship so they can become familiar with the dozens of activities on board. Let them know about the spa specials that are offered when the ship is in port. Suggest packing ideas, reminders to bring a hat and sunscreen, apps for their phone that covers walking tours and other things to do and see in port.
Give hints and suggestions on what to do when they arrive at the pier. Let them know that sometimes their cabin may not be ready immediately upon boarding so they can have lunch on board and take an organized ship tour to pass the time and also learn more about their home away from home for the next week.
This will prove that you are the expert and that they were wise to work with you. Thank them for their business and be open for more questions.
Hopefully this will up the percentages to bring your first time cruisers back to you for the second, third and fourth cruises they are sure to book someday.