Marketing You: Building networks, reaping referrals

Marketing You: Building networks, reaping referrals

I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t sell travel sitting behind a desk any more. You sell travel by getting out and promoting yourself and your suppliers. By telling people – even total strangers – where you’ve been and where you’re going next…and what you do for a living.

This can be a challenge if you feel you are too shy to always be promoting yourself. One of the easiest ways to build your business is with referrals. You’re probably more comfortable asking for a favour from a client than asking for business from a stranger.

How to get those referrals painlessly? When you contact your clients on their return from a trip you arranged, get some feedback about the trip, which of course will be useful for future sales. Ask if they were happy with your service. And when they say “So much better than the internet!” or “We really appreciated all the thoughtful touches you put into our itinerary”, follow up with a request to use that quote on your website. People are usually fine with it if you don’t attribute their quote to their full name, i.e. say ‘Mary J, Winnipeg’.

And when you ask a new client how they heard about you and it turns out to be an existing client, be sure to thank them. And what better way than a gift certificate towards their next vacation – booked with you, of course!

And don’t forget to request referrals as part of building your business. This may be part of your e-mail signature, on your business card and in your voicemail. Phrasing such as “There is no greater compliment than a referral for my service” is popular and may prove an inexpensive way to get new business.