Find the right client with four questions

Jamie Biesiada

As a travel advisor, how do you ensure clients are the right fit for you and your business model?

There are four questions you can ask yourself that will definitely get you on the right track, according to Toni McClelland, Brownell’s director of hosting development.

Question 1: Is there enough time to plan the trip?

This is especially relevant at a time when advisors are busier than ever — as are destinations. For example, travel to Europe this summer is expected to increase 55% over last year, which was an incredibly busy year on the Continent.

Question 2: Is the budget high enough to be able to deliver an exceptional experience?

“If you don’t work with clients who have a budget that — especially for the luxury travel advisor — allows you to plan exclusive experiences tailored to your needs, then the advisor is not going to get the referrals they want,” McClelland said.

Working with the right budget ensures you can craft those surprise-and-delight moments that really impress clients. It’s also, as McClelland noted, the best way to get referrals and repeat business.

Question 3: Will these clients be easy to work with and respectful of you and your time?

McClelland has heard of clients who phone their advisor day or night. And while advisors are professionals, they shouldn’t have to work 24 hours a day, she said. It’s important that clients understand and respect that.

Question 4: Are they comfortable with your planning fee and understand the value that you bring?

This question is geared toward new clients, McClelland said. 

So long as an advisor has done a good job communicating their value to such clients, if they still don’t see the point of a planning fee, that’s a good sign to walk away, McClelland said.

McClelland encourages advisors to have some questions prepared for discovery calls with prospective clients. Their main goal should be finding out what is motivating them to travel in the first place. Over the course of the conversation, they can answer the above questions for themselves and determine if it’s a good fit.

“Everybody is in business, sure, to make money,” she said. “But also, there’s a component of we got in this business because we love travel, and we love helping people. And if you answer these questions in the negative, I don’t think you can.”

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