Every homeworker or agency depends on its core repeat business, those clients who are profitable and come back time after time. For whatever reason however clients disappear from this pool and it is up to you to replace them. That will keep you standing still. The secret of a sustainable business is to widen the net of potential clients by personal marketing.
No doubt your company gives you excellent support both in terms of product and leads. Even so there is so much more you can do to make your business successful.
1. Profile is important… the higher your profile the more likely you'll attract the type of clients you want to work with. So send articles to your local and regional press; get involved with local websites, offer content to them. Be bold, approach local radio stations offering comment on travel issues. Be known in your community for the person who's an authority on travel, offers great service and appropriate deals.
2. Winning clients is the easy part, keeping them is a little more challenging especially if you don't have strategies in place to achieve that. Develop a communications calendar, which will enable to you touch your existing clients in a meaningful way every 90 days or less.
3. Pick out three of your top clients and tell them how much you appreciate them. Remember! They had a choice, of providers and they decided to you use you. So tell them how much you appreciate their business. It'll do wonders and also help them to refer more clients like them to you.
4. Contact at least ten different people a week who you can tell your magic story to. How you helped people to find their dream holiday. A story well told will be remembered and your profile along with your referrals will speed up.
5. When you next get your business cards printed have your printer put your picture on it. Use the back of your card to give your guarantee, your commitment statement or list the different services or products that you provide. You'll be surprised how many people remark… "I didn't know you did that".
6. Have more than one business card. Nowadays they are inexpensive, so you can really go to town on this. Each business card could give details of the different areas of expertise. Depending on what you're speaking about will dictate which card you pull out.
7. Perfect your 'elevator statement'. Imagine you were in a lift with Simon Cowell. What would you say to him in the minute or two that you have to get him to give you his travel business! When you meet potential customers at events, parties etc, you will be amazed at how effective this is. So anyone meeting you knows instantly what you do and what the benefits are for him or her.
8. With enquiries, don't give up on that prospective client until you get the 5th 'no'. After that, you can decide whether or not they are worth pursuing. All of the top achievers go back gently but professionally at least five times before they give up. These people win 60%-80% of business.
9 Every time you win a client send them a 'Thank You' card or email.. Make them feel important and impress on them how much their business is valued.
10 Put together extra information that gives prospects and/or clients ideas on how they can enhance the holiday they have booked, or are about to book.. Maybe, (with permission) scan and send them copies of destination articles from Travel Bulletin. You'll be seen as an authority in the area and when they are ready to buy you'll be at the top of their shopping list. Everyone wants to work with an authority.
11 Have a short e-newsletter that you can give you clients and prospects. It'll need to be informative, educational and entertaining. But don’t harp on about yourself or how great you are. People want information that'll help them achieve their dreams and aspirations from their travel plans. Give them information that tells them 'What's In It For Me'. Again you'll be seen as a treasure chest of information and when they need a travel provider you'll be well positioned.
12 You get referrals now. And they may come in without you doing anything to receive them other than being good at what you do. However these referrals are in the lap of the gods. You don't have any control on whether you'll get a referral tomorrow next week, next month. Have a marketing plan that generates referrals constantly topping up your client pool. Don’t forget to ask your clients – “If you feel I’ve done a good job for you do you know anyone else that might need help with their travel arrangements” People love making recommendations!
Marketing is a bit like a polar bear in the desert… It stands out! And so should you.