sales calls tips for tourism operators

With appointments kicking of in Melbourne today at the Australia Tourism Exchange, the largest tourism trade event in Australia which brings buyers and sellers of Australia together to talk business, I thought it was the perfect time to share some tips on sales calls.

Whether it’s at a trade show like ATE or a direct meeting with an ITO or wholesaler, there are a some key things to remember.  Just like marketing that are a few P’s for sales  – five to be exact:

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

A little bit of research and planning beforehand will go a long way to getting the most out of a sales call.

So what should you do before, during and after and event or sales call?

Do your research

Find out who you will be meeting with and research their business , what markets do they work in, what type of travellers do they book, are they currently visiting your destination.

Many trade shows will provide you with a delegate profile before the event and ATEC have profiles of inbound tour operators you can access if you are an ATEC member.

If you can’t find out this information beforehand, make sure you ask some questions to understand their business at the start of your appointment – don’t just burst straight into your sales pitch!

  • If you are attending a trade event, research the event and make sure understand the style and format –
  • Is it scheduled appointments?
  • How long are they?
  • How many people will you be meeting with at a time?
  • Will you have a booth or table set up where they buyers come to you or do you move around to meet buyers?

Ask Questions

 I’ll always remember the first piece of advice I got from   my first Sales Manager, “you have two ears and one mouth listen twice as much as you speak” – ask questions, find out about there business, sell your destination first and then sell your business.

Prepare a check list of questions to ask during your meeting –

  • How long has their business been operating?
  • What markets do they work in?
  • How many visitors do they bring to Australia each year?
  • What type of travellers are they – FIT, Group, Business, Special Interest etc?
  • Do they currently visit your destination?

Write down key information discussed at your meeting. Collecting information about the business & staff you are meeting with will help you to build a long term relationship and will remind you of everything you need to follow up on.

Be respectful

  • Run on time! It shows that you respect their time (and your own). It can be difficult at trade shows when you have back to back 7 minute appointments, plan you appointments – practice your presentation before the event, keep it short, sharp and relevant so that you can leave time for questions and discussion
  • Understand cultural differences – simple things like greetings and exchange business cards have different protocol from country to country. Do some research and understand the basics – maybe learn a few simple phrases in different languages too, it all helps to make a good first impression.
  • When making sales calls appointments, respect the ITO or wholesalers time – don’t visit more often than you need to, make sure you have something new and interesting to tell them and do joint calls with complimentary products if possible.
  • Remember they are your customers too – how you treat them is a reflection of how you will treat their customers.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t do it. You’ve made an investment to attend an event, meet with prospective customers who have asked for information – don’t forget to send it!

Even if they haven’t specifically asked for extra information on your product, send a thank you email or written note (yes people still do that!) Being successful in the inbound market is all about building relationships. Research shows that you need to contact someone a minimum of 7 times over an 18 month period to be remembered – you have a golden opportunity post event or sales call, don’t waste it.