SuperBreak gets Superfestive in new agent campaign

SuperBreak gets Superfestive in new agent campaign

Thursday, 27 October 2016 11:00

Agents boo...

EVA Air offers autumn savings on its Kangaroo Route

EVA Air offers autumn savings on its Kan…

Thursday, 27 October 2016 08:00

EVA Air is celebrating an increased service on its ‘Kangaroo Route’ by unveiling autumn offerings on flights from Heathrow to Brisbane, Australia with return fares from £642 per person.

Vietnam addition from Thomson and First Choice

Vietnam addition from Thomson and First …

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 14:00

Thomson and First Choice have announced the introduction of Vietnam to the winter 2017 programme.

Ranch Rider adds authentic Arizona ranch for next year

Ranch Rider adds authentic Arizona ranch…

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 11:00

Keen to expand on its portfolio of authentic US ranches, Ranch Rider will be introducing Arizona’s Hideout Working Ranch in its 2017 brochure, which is situated near Portal near the...

Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles flights

Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles…

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 08:00

Qatar Airways will provide UK holidaymakers with greater access to the Seychelles from December 12 when it launches daily flights via Doha.

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 14:00

HF Holidays is promoting a selection of winter getaway including a Christmas Craft Weekend at Dovedale in the Derbyshire Dales, Festive Walking At Dovedale, A Seasonal Stay at Malhamdale in...

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sale

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sa…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 11:00

Flybe has put more early release routes on sale as part of its preliminary summer 2017 schedule.

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Super Hostel’

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Su…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:00

A planning application has been submitted by YHA (England and Wales) to open its first Super Hostel in London.

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade pla…

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:00

Following a major overhaul of the security search area for departing passengers, Bristol Airport has unveiled plans to address congestion in arrivals.

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen Z with new Geckos age-range

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen …

Monday, 24 October 2016 11:00

30 year olds will be ‘too old’ for Geckos Adventures next year, as the Intrepid Group has announced that it will cut the age range to meet a growing demand...

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits manage to wangle an upgrade

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits …

Monday, 24 October 2016 08:40

New research from has revealed that only 8% of British travellers have actually managed to secure a free upgrade for their holiday, with flight upgrades and hotel room upgrades...

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo expe…

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You has announced its largest investment to support the travel trade with the launch of 200 joint marketing events to promote solo travel.

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Over the last couple of years or so we have been looking at the business of selling to customers of what we called “The Sales Conversation”. Just to remind you, a sales conversation is not the same as an ordinary conversation. Unlike an ordinary conversation which can go in any direction and has no real purpose, a sales conversation has an objective – that of making a sale – and it has a structure.

And the structure is a simple one – and you forget it at your peril! We could maybe think of the structure as a series of stepping stones that will get you to the opposite bank of a river, on which bank there is your reward – the sale you are expecting to achieve. And those stepping-stones are called: Rapport; Investigation; Presentation; and Commitment.


Building rapport Rapport is all about the way in which you get along with your customers. You will know from your own experience that you get on with some people better than others, and that’s very natural. You pick and choose your friends, and those people you don’t get on with you don’t bother to associate with. Unfortunately you don’t have the option with your customers – you can’t pick and choose who they are going to be – but you have to get on with them no matter what. Of course, you don’t have to make them all into your friends but you should make them into customers.

Rapport is even more important these days. Your jobs as travel salespeople have never been more challenging or faced with greater threats from competition. Now your customers have access to all the information they need about travel and holidays and can book online at any time night or day. And many of them will.

To make sure that your customers continue to book with you, it’s your job to ensure that they like booking with you. It’s the job of your company’s marketing unit to get people to contact your agency – but it’s your job to make sure that, once they get in touch with you, they turn into customers. Creating rapport so that people will enjoy dealing with you, rather than a faceless computer screen, is essential and, fortunately, there are techniques that you could and should practice.

Your attitude Remember, we are talking in this article about customers who contact you by telephone, not about those who call into your office, so the techniques we will be discussing are those that relate primarily to telephone use – although you will probably find that there is often a cross-over. And probably the first thing where the telephone and the face-to-face encounter coincide is what you do with your face! Yes. Whether you are talking face-to-face or on the telephone, make sure that there is a smile on your face. Smiles can be heard as well as seen and a surly face is as off-putting to a telephone caller as it is to a customer you have in front of you. If you don’t believe it, try recording your voice when you’re smiling and when you’re scowling and listen to the difference.

Your greeting One thing that is usually different with the telephone (although, as video-phones get more common this is changing) is that you can’t see your customer and your customer can’t see you. Indeed, until you answer that call, your customers can’t even be sure that they are actually calling the right agency. Wrong numbers are not unknown, after all. So, when you smile and pick up that telephone, make sure that you first few words reassure your customers that they are talking to the right person or organisation.

If you announce yourself and, at the end of your greeting your caller says something like, “Am I talking to XYZ travel?” then you should consider what it is you’re using as a greeting. It is a fact that people do not usually hear the first few words of any fresh conversation and the reason for this is a simple one. In order to protect our brains from information overload, most of the sounds we hear are simply filtered out; our brains do not take any notice of them and it’s not until an important sound is received that our brains start taking notice. This is why, at places such as airports and railways stations, before any service announcement is made, a chime is sounded. That chime warns our brains that there is important information on the way. When your customers are calling you their brains are also “in standby”; their ears are receiving the sound of the ringing tone but their brains are not reacting.

The ringing tone is not important except insofar as it is reassuring their brains that the call process is still under way. So, when you answer the call, your customers’ brains will not immediately be ready to absorb the information you are giving out. Which is why you may be asked to repeat details that you have already given. Be sure you’re heard

To give your customers a better chance of hearing what you have to say, follow these simple rules:

1.Don’t start speaking as soon as you pick up the receiver; wait a second or so. This will give your customers a chance to get their brains ready to receive your information.

2.Make sure that your first words convey the less important information.For example, try starting your conversation with “Good morning” or “Good afternoon”. If your customers don’t hear this salutation it doesn’t really matter.

3.Give the name of your agency after your initial greeting.

4.Give your own name as soon as you reasonably can, so that your customers will begin to feel that they know you.

5. As soon as you can reasonably do so, ask for your customer’s name; you will need it sooner or later so why not sooner? First impressions count You only get one chance to make a first impression with any one person – but that first impression can last for ever. Make sure that the first impression your customers get of you is that of a friendly and efficient person that they want to do business with.

For more information about this, or any other aspect of training, contact Richard English by calling 01403-710371 or emailing

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