They say first impressions count – and they are right. Your first interaction with a potential client will set the tone for your relationship, and you want to make sure it goes well – for both of you.
Of course, you start with being organized and having an ‘agenda’ ready. What exactly do you want to know about them, their traveling preferences, and their history?
Often called a ‘discovery call’, whether it be in person, via Zoom, or even a regular ol’ phone call, during this first contact you should focus not only on whether this is someone you can work with in the future but also how you can help them.
To ensure you cover all bases, develop a template of questions. These should include but not be limited to:
- Any personal information they want to share
- Have they worked with an advisor in the past (if not, be sure to enlighten them on everything you can do)
- How they heard about you (if a referral, be sure to send a note of thanks!)
- Their past travel experiences and what they loved (or hated) about them
- Where/when they’re thinking of travelling
- How they envision this trip regarding the destination, accommodation, activities, etc.
- Special interests … food, golf, spectator sports, shopping, history and so on
- Do they have any travel companions and what are their needs / likes / dislikes, including if anyone has health concerns you should be aware of
- Is this person the decision maker or just the information gatherer?
Note: it’s best to leave the budget to later rather than addressing it up front.
Of course, you can add your own questions to this template (particularly pertaining to your specialty) but having a template will ensure you don’t leave anything out.
Remember, this is about the client, not about you. Bring out your best listening skills, put your devices away, and take notes. Follow up with an email recapping your discussion and how you plan to proceed.
Ideally, your discovery call will build rapport, confidence, and trust. It will determine if you are compatible and if you want to work with this client.
One Vision Travel Independent Travel Advisor, Sheila Gallant-Halloran of Lush Travel (who won a Virtuoso Luminaries, Legends and Leaders Award this year), calls her discovery calls “complimentary consultation calls.”
She sends the prospect a pre-consultation survey along with a link to her scheduler for a half-hour complimentary consultation by phone or Zoom.
Says Gallant-Halloran: “At the end of the half-hour, we both have a pretty good idea about one other, and whether we’re a good fit – so then we either wish each other well, or the client is agreeing to hire me. After that, I send a service agreement for their electronic signature, with a credit card authorization.”
Professional, time-efficient, and very service-oriented.